Energy & Green Tech

What's really driving coal power's demise?

People often point to plunging natural gas prices as the reason U.S. coal-fired power plants have been shutting down at a faster pace in recent years. However, new research shows two other forces had a much larger effect: ...

Energy & Green Tech

In Dubai, oil-rich UAE sees a new wonder: A coal power plant

A new wonder is rising in the southern desert of Dubai against the backdrop of Persian Gulf beaches, but it's not another skyscraper to grace the futuristic sheikhdom. Instead, it's one of mankind's oldest power sources gaining ...

Energy & Green Tech

Renewables now EU's biggest source of electricity: study

Renewable energy sources such as the wind and the sun overtook fossil fuels as the European Union's main generators of electricity in the first half of this year, according to a new report published on Wednesday.

Energy & Green Tech

Coal reaching 'tipping point' vs renewables: analysis

Renewable energy such as wind and solar projects are already cheaper to build than it is to continue operating 40 percent of the world's existing coal fleet, according to analysis released Tuesday.

Energy & Green Tech

UK electricity plant nears full switch away from coal

As the coronavirus pandemic undermines the production of cleaner renewable fuels, the UK's biggest electricity plant is close to using only biomass following a bumpy transition away from coal.

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Coal

Coal is a readily combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock normally occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure. It is composed primarily of carbon along with variable quantities of other elements, chiefly sulfur, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.

Coal was formed from layer upon layer of annual plant remains accumulating slowly that were protected from biodegradation by usually acidic covering waters that gave a natural antiseptic effect combating microorganisms and then later mud deposits protecting against oxidization in the widespread shallow seas — mainly during the Carboniferous period — thus trapping atmospheric carbon in the ground in immense peat bogs that eventually were covered over and deeply buried by sediments under which they metamorphosed into coal. In this manner, over time, the chemical and physical properties of the plant remains (believed to mainly have been fern-like species antedating more modern plant and tree species) were changed by geological action to create a solid material.

Coal, a fossil fuel, is the largest source of energy for the generation of electricity worldwide, as well as one of the largest worldwide anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide emissions. Gross carbon dioxide emissions from coal usage are slightly more than those from petroleum and about double the amount from natural gas. Coal is extracted from the ground by mining, either underground or in open pits.

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