How To Deal With Pollution By Coal Dust, Coal Mining, Coal Pollution
Out of the many ways to produce energy needed to create electricity or steel, a key one is coal. Coal is available in abundance across the world and it can be easily mined.
Coal Pollution Facts
It is a low-cost raw material for energy production and hence is used in large quantities for generating it. However, excessive use of coal has resulted in immense pollution of the environment and hazard to human life.
What can be done to stop this problem? The use of technology that prevents bad emissions when coal is burnt and implementation of new processes by which coal burning is more efficient helps to significantly reduce emissions.
Problems Caused By The Burning Of Coal
When burning coal what is released into the environment is gases such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon dioxide (CO2), Mercury and other heavy metals, fly ash, bottom ash and particulates.
Each of these pollutants can create severe and incurable health problems. For example, carbon-di-oxide is a greenhouse gas which causes depletion of the ozone layer, without which life on earth is endangered.
Another example is nitrogen oxide which are known to create respiratory illnesses and also lung diseases, which is also seen with sulfur di-oxide.
Coal mining water pollution
The release of mercury into the air and water is known to cause development problems and neurological damage in both humans and animals. The environment is also polluted heavily as can be see when sulphur-di-oxide a causes acid rain and nitrogen creates smog.
Why is coal bad for the environment?
If coal burning is posing such huge health problems and other complications, why is it still used.
Coal Burning Pollution
The primary reason is that it is a low-cost raw material for energy production and is available e around with world in abundance. It can be mixed with biomass field wherein it is required in lesser quantities for the same amount of energy production.
Effects of coal mining on human health
It can be burnt for 24 hours a day so energy can be obtained from it throughout the day. Such being the benefits of using coal, steps need to be put in place, particularly in developing countries to prevent emission from causing huge health and environmental damage.
Steps Taken To Mitigate This Problem
The United States government has implemented the Clean Air Act and also the Clean Water Act which aim to drastically reduce pollution emissions into air and water bodies.
Currently, scientists in the United States are on the path to finding out how coal can be used to produce energy in a more efficient way and are trying to come up with a process through which it can be used to in gain energy, minus the pollution problems in the years to come. Here is a look at the many ways in which pollution from coal dust, coal mining, coal pollution can be controlled:
- Functioning of existing plants should be optimized so that they do not emit so much of polluted smoke and also to reduce the amount of electricity used for the purpose of burning coal to gain energy
- Refine the way existing combustion technology works so that fewer emissions are let out and also making use of biomass as a fuel so that the amount of carbon-di-oxide is reduced
- Conversion of coal into gas and removing various impurities in it so that it is combusted
- Capturing carbon-di-oxide from flue gas, storing it underground and then reusing it
- Implementing gas desulfurization equipment in coal power plants cleans away sulphur from the smoke generated by burning coal. The smoke is cleaned through the equipment also known as scrubbers and then leaves the smokestack.
- Removing impurities from coal has resulting in obtaining higher quality of coal for burning, thus making it energy efficiency and also bringing down the amount of coal needed to produce a single unit of energy
Despite all these steps the real important action to be taken is the discovery of technological breakthrough by which coal-fired plants are able to give pure and affordable energy on a large scale for various purposes. One such breakthrough is CFB technology.
Benefits Of Circulating Fluidised-Bed (CFB) Technology
This technology is already in place in various parts of the United States to ensure that burning of coal and any other fuel into energy is clean and environment friendly.
As the fuel here burns at an unusually low temperature, the result is very little emissions into the environment, unlike what is seen with traditional burning process. It can be used with coal and also other key fuels such as biomass, waste materials, tires, carbon-neutral fuels etc.
In a coal power plant, implementation of CFB technology results in recycling of fuel and limestone particles repeatedly, resulting in high efficiency when burning fuel, capturing any pollutants and then transferring the fuel’s heat energy into high quality steam for producing power.
How does coal mining affect the environment?
The key element that makes CFB technology reliable is the fact that it does not make use of burner inside a furnace to convert coal into energy. It implements a fluidization technology, wherein coal is mixed with limestone which is then burnt at a very low temperature.
How to reduce coal pollution
This process significantly reduces nitrogen oxide release and eliminates sulphur-di-oxide. Hence coal is burnt with the highest efficiency and the energy released is connected into high quality steam that is in turn used to produce power.
When carbon-di-oxide is released from the burning coal in power plants is captured in its concentrate form, sent via pipeline to an underground area or seabed.
Energy released from burning of coal is used to generate electricity but there is no harm done to the environment from CO2 release. This technology enables coal to be used like normal for production of energy, but removes all the negative effects of its burning, thus saving the environment and climate.
By enabling use of coal in a clean way, it removes hindrances to its usage for production of energy.