Coal Plants: 5 Key Things to Know About the Coal Industry

Do you want to know exactly what the coal industry is all about?

Coal is one of those things that we all know is important, but really have no clue about. Of course, it all starts in the coal industry. Mines, coal plants, logistics, shipping—it’s a whole ecosystem of its own.

In this blog, we are going to walk you through the essentials of coal plants and the coal industry. 

1. There’s More than One Type of Coal

We often think of coal as a single entity that we use to power our homes and our cities. But, in truth, there are a number of different types of coal.

Coal mining produces the following main types of coal:

  • Anthracite 
  • Bituminous
  • Subbituminous
  • Lignite

2. There’s More than One Way to Mine Coal

There are also different industrial processes that go into mining coal. You have surfaced mine coal and also sub-surface mining. 

Within these types of mining, there are lots of different types of mining techniques, such as:

  • Strip mining
  • Open-pit mining
  • Longwall mining
  • Room and pillar mining

3. Coal Needs a Coal Plant

Where does the coal go after it comes out of the ground? Well, it needs to go to a coal plant. 

A coal plant is a place where coal goes through a chemical process to produce energy. The primary process is that coal is burned to produce heat, which then produces other energy outcomes—often steam. This energy is then converted into energy, often through the use of turbines. 

4. Coal Plants Are High-Tech

Although coal is a very old part of our cities and lifestyles, it has become a lot more high-tech over the years. These days, a coal plant has some of the most advanced engineering systems that you will find anywhere on the planet. 

You can read this post about cage wire rope hoists to get a sense of how far things have come. It’s not just a case of the coal industry benefiting from technological developments elsewhere. In fact, coal plants have been at the forefront of developing new technologies with wider applications. 

5. Coal Is a Big Chunk of World Energy

The last thing you should be aware of is just how much we rely on coal to power our cities. It is estimated that coal plants currently provide around 37% of the world’s energy!

So, next time you see a coal plant just have a think about how much work it needs to be doing to keep all of the cogs turning to give you heating, cooling, hot water, lighting, electricity, and more!

Coal Plants Are Fun!

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how coal plants work and just how important the coal industry is for the modern world. Hopefully, too, you have had a little fun learning just how much we rely on coal to keep things going.  If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about similar topics, why not check out some of our other articles on energy and industry?

Carol Gilmore

Carol Gilmore