How coal works and why it is bad
“How does coal make electricity and why should we not do it?”
Coal is the largest source of energy, powering over 40% of all of human civilization’s power consumption. However, how do these rocks from the ground provide so much for us and why do sustainability advocates warn us about how it’s harmful effects? Well, let’s take a look at how it is made to gain insight.
Coal itself forms from the remains of ancient trees and plants from thousands of years ago. Over time, the immense pressure of the Earth will cause them to carbonize, making them the rocky substances that we know. This process will ensure that coal will have a high energy density and flammability, so if it were to be burned a large amount of energy would be transferred.
Once mined from the planet, coal will be pressed into a powder and tossed into a furnace to power a fire, which will heat up a nearby container of water to boil into steam. This steam will then power a turbine that turns a generator to produce electricity. This electricity will then be sent to a transformer that passes it through transmission lines to reach a power consumer (such as a house).
Now, the fatal weakness with coal stems from the root of this process. Coal is composed of a multitude of dangerous hydrocarbons. When burned, these chemicals will be released to pollute the atmosphere, which will not only induce further global warming but also cause health hazards to nearby communities. That’s why countries all over the world are taking steps to reduce their reliance on coal and are switching to renewable energies instead.