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{{other uses}}{{pp|small=yes}}{{short description|A combustible sedimentary rock composed primarily of carbon}}{{Use dmy dates|date=December 2016}}

| Arsenic (As)| Selenium (Se)
name Coal|type=Sedimentary|image=Coal bituminous.jpg|image_caption=Bituminous coal|image_size=258px|composition=carbon

    {edih}File:Mineral Lignito GDFL028.jpg|thumb|LigniteLigniteFile:Coal anthracite.jpg|thumb|AnthraciteAnthraciteCoal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock, formed as rock strata called coal seams. Coal is mostly carbon with variable amounts of other elements; chiefly hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen.WEB, Blander, M, Calculations of the Influence of Additives on Coal Combustion Deposits,weblink Argonne National Laboratory, 17 December 2011, 315, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 May 2010, dmy-all, Coal is formed when dead plant matter decays into peat and is converted into coal by the heat and pressure of deep burial over millions of years.WEB,weblink Coal Explained, US Energy Information Administration, Energy Explained, 21 April 2017, 13 November 2017, live,weblink 8 December 2017, dmy-all, Vast deposits of coal originates in former wetlands—called coal forests—that covered much of the Earth's tropical land areas during the late Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian) and Permian times.Cleal, C. J. & Thomas, B. A. (2005). "Palaeozoic tropical rainforests and their effect on global climates: is the past the key to the present?" Geobiology, 3, p. 13-31.JOURNAL,weblink Sahney, S., Benton, M.J. & Falcon-Lang, H.J., 2010, Rainforest collapse triggered Pennsylvanian tetrapod diversification in Euramerica, Geology, 38, 1079–1082, PDF, 10.1130/G31182.1, 12, As a fossil fuel burned for heat, coal supplies about a quarter of the world's primary energy and two-fifths of its electricity.WEB,weblink Global energy data, International Energy Agency, Some iron and steel making and other industrial processes burn coal.The extraction and use of coal causes many premature deaths and much illness.WEB,weblink Lignite coal – health effects and recommendations from the health sector, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Coal industry damages the environment, including by climate change as it is the largest (wikt:anthropogenic|anthropogenic) source of carbon dioxide, 14 Gt in 2016,WEB, CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion 2018 Overview (free but requires registration),weblink International Energy Agency, 14 December 2018, which is 40% of the total fossil fuel emissions. As part of the worldwide energy transition many countries have stopped using or use less coal, and the UN Secretary General has asked governments to stop building new coal plants by 2020.NEWS, Tax carbon, not people: UN chief issues climate plea from Pacific 'frontline',weblink The Guardian, 15 May 2019, The largest consumer and importer of coal is China. China mines almost half the world's coal, followed by India with about a tenth. Australia accounts for about a third of world coal exports followed by Indonesia and Russia.WEB,weblink Global energy data, International Energy Agency,


    The word originally took the form col in Old English, from Proto-Germanic *kula(n), which in turn is hypothesized to come from the Proto-Indo-European root *g(e)u-lo- "live coal".{{OEtymD|coal}} Germanic cognates include the Old Frisian kole, Middle Dutch cole, Dutch kool, Old High German chol, German Kohle and Old Norse kol, and the Irish word gual is also a cognate via the Indo-European root.


    Coal is composed of macerals, minerals and water.WEB,weblink Coal, British Geological Survey, March 2010, Fossils and amber may be found in coal.


    (File:Struktura chemiczna węgla kamiennego.svg|thumb|Example chemical structure of coal)At various times in the geologic past, the Earth had dense forestsWEB,weblink How Coal Is Formed, live,weblink" title="">weblink 18 January 2017, dmy-all, in low-lying wetland areas. Due to natural processes such as flooding, these forests were buried underneath soil. As more and more soil deposited over them, they were compressed. The temperature also rose as they sank deeper and deeper. As the process continued the plant matter was protected from biodegradation and oxidation, usually by mud or acidic water. This trapped the carbon in immense peat bogs that were eventually covered and deeply buried by sediments. Under high pressure and high temperature, dead vegetation was slowly converted to coal. The conversion of dead vegetation into coal is called (wikt:coalification|coalification). Coalification starts with dead plant matter decaying into peat. Then over millions of years the heat and pressure of deep burial causes the loss of water, methane and carbon dioxide and an increase in the proportion of carbon. Thus first lignite (also called "brown coal"), then sub-bituminous coal, bituminous coal, and lastly anthracite (also called "hard coal" or "black coal") may be formed.BOOK,weblink Paleobotany: The biology and evolution of fossil plants, 978-0-12-373972-8, Taylor, Thomas N, Taylor, Edith L, Krings, Michael, 2009, live,weblink 16 May 2016, dmy-all, The wide, shallow seas of the Carboniferous Period provided ideal conditions for coal formation, although coal is known from most geological periods. The exception is the coal gap in the Permian–Triassic extinction event, where coal is rare. Coal is known from Precambrian strata, which predate land plants—this coal is presumed to have originated from residues of algae.JOURNAL, 10.1130/0016-7606(1957)68[1293:ACFPUH]2.0.CO;2, Tyler, S.A., Barghoorn, E.S., Barrett, L.P., Anthracitic Coal from Precambrian Upper Huronian Black Shale of the Iron River District, Northern Michigan, Geological Society of America Bulletin, 68, 10, 1293, 1957, 0016-7606, JOURNAL, 10.2113/gsecongeo.76.4.951, Mancuso, J.J., Seavoy, R.E., Precambrian coal or anthraxolite; a source for graphite in high-grade schists and gneisses, Economic Geology, 76, 4, 951–54, 1981, Sometimes coal seams (also known as coal beds) are interbedded with other sediments in a cyclothem.


    File:Sydney Mines Point Aconi Seam 038.JPG|thumb|Coastal exposure of the Point Aconi Seam in Nova ScotiaNova ScotiaFile:Coal Rank USGS.png|thumb|upright=1.3|Coal ranking system used by the United States Geological SurveyUnited States Geological SurveyAs geological processes apply pressure to dead biotic material over time, under suitable conditions, its metamorphic grade or rank increases successively into:
    • Peat, a precursor of coal
    • Lignite, or brown coal, the lowest rank of coal, most harmful to health,WEB, Lignite coal - health effects and recommendations from the health sector,weblink Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), used almost exclusively as fuel for electric power generation
      • Jet, a compact form of lignite, sometimes polished; used as an ornamental stone since the Upper Palaeolithic
    • Sub-bituminous coal, whose properties range between those of lignite and those of bituminous coal, is used primarily as fuel for steam-electric power generation.
    • Bituminous coal, a dense sedimentary rock, usually black, but sometimes dark brown, often with well-defined bands of bright and dull material It is used primarily as fuel in steam-electric power generation and to make coke.
    • Anthracite, the highest rank of coal is a harder, glossy black coal used primarily for residential and commercial space heating.
    • Graphite is difficult to ignite and not commonly used as fuel; it is most used in pencils, or powdered for lubrication.
    Cannel coal (sometimes called "candle coal") is a variety of fine-grained, high-rank coal with significant hydrogen content, which consists primarily of liptinite.There are several international standards for coal.WEB, Standards catalogue 73.040 – Coals,weblink ISO, The classification of coal is generally based on the content of volatiles. However the most important distinction is between thermal coal (also known as steam coal), which is burnt to generate electricity via steam; and metallurgical coal (also known as coking coal), which is burnt at high temperature to make steel.

    Hilt's law

    Hilt's law is a geological observation that (within a small area) the deeper the coal is found, the higher its rank (or grade). It applies if the thermal gradient is entirely vertical; however, metamorphism may cause lateral changes of rank, irrespective of depth.


    {{Further|History of coal mining}}(File:Tiangong Kaiwu Coal Mining.gif|thumb|upright|Chinese coal miners in an illustration of the Tiangong Kaiwu encyclopedia, published in 1637)The earliest recognized use is from the Shenyang area of China where by 4000 BC Neolithic inhabitants had begun carving ornaments from black lignite.Golas, Peter J and Needham, Joseph (1999) Science and Civilisation in China. Cambridge University Press. pp. 186–91. {{ISBN|0-521-58000-5}} Coal from the Fushun mine in northeastern China was used to smelt copper as early as 1000 BC.coal {{webarchive|url= |date=2 May 2015 }}. Encyclopædia Britannica. Marco Polo, the Italian who traveled to China in the 13th century, described coal as "black stones ... which burn like logs", and said coal was so plentiful, people could take three hot baths a week.Marco Polo In China. Facts and Details. Retrieved on 11 May 2013. {{webarchive |url= |date=21 September 2013 }} In Europe, the earliest reference to the use of coal as fuel is from the geological treatise On stones (Lap. 16) by the Greek scientist Theophrastus (c. 371–287 BC):BOOK, Mattusch, Carol, 2008, Metalworking and Tools, John Peter Oleson, Oleson, John Peter, The Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-518731-1, 418–38 (432), {{inconsistent citations, }}BOOK,weblink Greek Science of the Hellenistic Era: A Sourcebook, Georgia L., Irby-Massie, Paul T., Keyser, Routledge, 2002, 9.1 "Theophrastos", p. 228, 978-0-415-23847-2, {{inconsistent citations, |url-status=live|archiveurl =weblink|archivedate = 5 February 2016|df = dmy-all}}Outcrop coal was used in Britain during the Bronze Age (3000–2000 BC), where it formed part of funeral pyres.Britannica 2004: Coal mining: ancient use of outcropping coalBOOK, Science and Civilisation in China, Peter J, Golas, Joseph, Needham, 186–91, Cambridge University Press, 1999, 978-0-521-58000-7, In Roman Britain, with the exception of two modern fields, "the Romans were exploiting coals in all the major coalfields in England and Wales by the end of the second century AD".JOURNAL, Smith, A.H.V., 1997, Provenance of Coals from Roman Sites in England and Wales, Britannia, 28, 297–324 (322–24), 526770, 10.2307/526770, Evidence of trade in coal, dated to about AD 200, has been found at the Roman settlement at Heronbridge, near Chester; and in the Fenlands of East Anglia, where coal from the Midlands was transported via the Car Dyke for use in drying grain.BOOK, Salway, Peter, 2001, A History of Roman Britain, 978-0-19-280138-8, Oxford University Press, Coal cinders have been found in the hearths of villas and Roman forts, particularly in Northumberland, dated to around AD 400. In the west of England, contemporary writers described the wonder of a permanent brazier of coal on the altar of Minerva at Aquae Sulis (modern day Bath), although in fact easily accessible surface coal from what became the Somerset coalfield was in common use in quite lowly dwellings locally.Forbes, RJ (1966): Studies in Ancient Technology. Brill Academic Publishers, Boston. Evidence of coal's use for iron-working in the city during the Roman period has been found.BOOK, Cunliffe, Barry W., Barry Cunliffe, Roman Bath Discovered, Routledge, 1984, London, 14–15, 194, 978-0-7102-0196-6, In Eschweiler, Rhineland, deposits of bituminous coal were used by the Romans for the smelting of iron ore.(File:Men of the Mine- Life at the Coal Face, Britain, 1942 D8263.jpg|thumb|left|Coal miner in Britain, 1942)No evidence exists of the product being of great importance in Britain before about AD 1000, the High Middle Ages.BOOK, Cantril, T.C., Coal Mining, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1914, 3–10, 156716838, Mineral{{clarify|date=December 2018}} coal came to be referred to as "seacoal" in the 13th century; the wharf where the material arrived in London was known as Seacoal Lane, so identified in a charter of King Henry III granted in 1253.BOOK, Oxford English Dictionary, 1 December 2010, Oxford University Press, coal, 5a, Oxford English Dictionary, Initially, the name was given because much coal was found on the shore, having fallen from the exposed coal seams on cliffs above or washed out of underwater coal outcrops, but by the time of Henry VIII, it was understood to derive from the way it was carried to London by sea.John Caius, quoted in Cantril (1914). In 1257–1259, coal from Newcastle upon Tyne was shipped to London for the smiths and lime-burners building Westminster Abbey. Seacoal Lane and Newcastle Lane, where coal was unloaded at wharves along the River Fleet, still exist.BOOK, Trench, Richard, Hillman, Ellis, London under London: a subterranean guide, John Murray, London, 1993, Second, 33, 978-0-7195-5288-5, These easily accessible sources had largely become exhausted (or could not meet the growing demand) by the 13th century, when underground extraction by shaft mining or adits was developed. The alternative name was "pitcoal", because it came from mines. The development of the Industrial Revolution led to the large-scale use of coal, as the steam engine took over from the water wheel. In 1700, five-sixths of the world's coal was mined in Britain. Britain would have run out of suitable sites for watermills by the 1830s if coal had not been available as a source of energy.BOOK, Continuity, Chance and Change: The Character of the Industrial Revolution in England, EA, Wrigley, 978-0-521-39657-8, Cambridge University Press, 1990,weblink In 1947 there were some 750,000 miners in BritainNEWS,weblink The fall of King Coal, BBC News, 6 December 1999, live,weblink" title="">weblink 6 March 2016, dmy-all, but the last deep coal mine in the UK closed in 2015.NEWS, UK's last deep coal mine Kellingley Colliery capped off,weblink BBC, 14 March 2016, A grade between bituminous coal and anthracite was once known as "steam coal" as it was widely used as a fuel for steam locomotives. In this specialized use, it is sometimes known as "sea coal" in the United States.Funk and Wagnalls, quoted in BOOK, Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 1989, 2, sea-coal, Oxford English Dictionary, Small "steam coal", also called dry small steam nuts (or DSSN), was used as a fuel for domestic water heating.Sea coal continues to accumulate on beaches around the world from both natural erosion of exposed coal seams and windswept spills from cargo ships. Many homes in such areas gather sea coal as a significant, and sometimes primary, source of home heating fuel.WEB,weblink Cost of Cold: Staying warm in Homer, Bolton, Aaron, Homer, KBBI-, 2018-03-22, Alaska Public Media, en-US, 2019-01-25, Scavenging sea coal for heating is still commonplace on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the U.S.WEB,weblink Geology of National Parks,, 2019-01-25,

    Emission intensity

    Emission intensity is the greenhouse gas emitted over the life of a generator per unit of electricity generated. Of the currently widely used methods of generating electricity the emission intensity of coal and oil is high, as they emit around 1000g of CO2eq for each kWh generated; natural gas and pumped hydro are medium emission intensity at around 500g CO2eq per kWh; and all other methods are typically low emission intensity of under 100g per kWh. The emission intensity of coal varies with type and generator technology and exceeds 1200g per kWh in some countries.ARXIV, Real-Time Carbon Accounting Method for the European Electricity Markets, 17 December 2018, 1812.06679, Tranberg, Bo, Corradi, Olivier, Lajoie, Bruno, Gibon, Thomas, Staffell, Iain, Gorm Bruun Andresen, physics.soc-ph,

    Energy density

    The energy density of coal, that is its heating value, is roughly 24 megajoules per kilogramWEB, Fisher, Juliya, Energy Density of Coal, The Physics Factbook,weblink 2003, 25 August 2006, live,weblink" title="">weblink 7 November 2006, dmy-all, (approximately 6.7 kilowatt-hours per kg). For a coal power plant with a 40% efficiency, it takes an estimated {{convert|325|kg|abbr=on}} of coal to power a 100 W lightbulb for one year.WEB, How much coal is required to run a 100-watt light bulb 24 hours a day for a year?, Howstuffworks,weblink 25 August 2006, live,weblink" title="">weblink 7 August 2006, dmy-all, 2000-10-03, 27.6% of world energy was supplied by coal in 2017 and Asia used almost three quarters of it.WEB, Primary energy,weblink BP, 5 December 2018,


    Content{| classwikitable|+ Average content elements other than carbon

    ! Substance !! Content
    {{nowrapParts-per notation>ppm}}ARSENIC IN COAL>URL=HTTP://PUBS.USGS.GOV/FS/2005/3152/FS2005-3152.PDFACCESSDATE=22 FEBRUARY 2013URL-STATUS=LIVEARCHIVEDATE=9 MAY 2013, dmy-all,

    Coking coal and use of coke to smelt iron

    File:Coke Ovens Abercwmboi.jpg|right|thumb|Coke oven at a smokeless fuel plant in WalesWalesCoke is a solid carbonaceous residue derived from coking coal (a low-ash, low-sulfur bituminous coal, also known as metallurgical coal), which is used in manufacturing steel and other iron products.WEB, How is Steel Produced?,weblink World Coal Association, April 8, 2017, live,weblink 12 April 2017, dmy-all, 2015-04-28, Coke is made from coking coal by baking in an oven without oxygen at temperatures as high as 1,000 Â°C, driving off the volatile constituents and fusing together the fixed carbon and residual ash. Metallurgical coke is used as a fuel and as a reducing agent in smelting iron ore in a blast furnace.Blast furnace steelmaking cost model {{webarchive|url= |date=14 January 2016 }}. Retrieved on 24 August 2012. The carbon monoxide produced by its combustion reduces hematite (an iron oxide) to iron.Waste carbon dioxide is also produced {{nowrap|(2Fe2O3 + 3C -> 4Fe + 3CO2 )}} together with pig iron, which is too rich in dissolved carbon so must be treated further to make steel.Coking coal should be low in ash, sulfur, and phosphorus, so that these do not migrate to the metal.The coke must be strong enough to resist the weight of overburden in the blast furnace, which is why coking coal is so important in making steel using the conventional route. Coke from coal is grey, hard, and porous and has a heating value of 29.6 MJ/kg. Some cokemaking processes produce byproducts, including coal tar, ammonia, light oils, and coal gas.Petroleum coke (petcoke) is the solid residue obtained in oil refining, which resembles coke but contains too many impurities to be useful in metallurgical applications.

    Use in foundry components {{anchor|Industrial processes|Sea coal}}

    Finely ground bituminous coal, known in this application as sea coal, is a constituent of foundry sand. While the molten metal is in the mould, the coal burns slowly, releasing reducing gases at pressure, and so preventing the metal from penetrating the pores of the sand. It is also contained in 'mould wash', a paste or liquid with the same function applied to the mould before casting.BOOK, Rao, P. N., Manufacturing technology: foundry, forming and welding, Tata McGraw-Hill, New Delhi, 2007, 2, 107, Moulding materials, 978-0-07-463180-5, Sea coal can be mixed with the clay lining (the "bod") used for the bottom of a cupola furnace. When heated, the coal decomposes and the bod becomes slightly friable, easing the process of breaking open holes for tapping the molten metal.BOOK, Kirk, Edward, Cupola Furnace – A Practical Treatise on the Construction and Management of Foundry Cupolas, Baird, Philadelphia, 1899, 95, Cupola management, 2884198,

    Alternatives to coke

    Scrap steel can be recycled in an electric arc furnace; and an alternative to making iron by smelting is direct reduced iron, where any carbonaceous fuel can be used to make sponge or pelletised iron. To lessen carbon dioxide emissions hydrogen can be used as the reducing agentWEB,weblink How Hydrogen Could Solve Steel’s Climate Test and Hobble Coal,, 2019-08-31, and biomass or waste as the source of carbon.WEB, Coking Coal for steel production and alternatives,weblink Front Line Action on Coal, 1 December 2018,


    Coal gasification, as part of an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) coal-fired power station, is used to produce syngas, a mixture of carbon monoxide (CO) and the hydrogen (H2) gas to fire gas turbines to produce electricity. Syngas can also be converted into transportation fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, through the Fischer-Tropsch process; alternatively, syngas can be converted into methanol, which can be blended into fuel directly or converted to gasoline via the methanol to gasoline process.WEB,weblink Conversion of Methanol to Gasoline, National Energy Technology Laboratory, 16 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 17 July 2014, dmy-all, Gasification combined with Fischer-Tropsch technology is used by the Sasol chemical company of South Africa to make motor vehicle fuels from coal and natural gas.During gasification, the coal is mixed with oxygen and steam while also being heated and pressurized. During the reaction, oxygen and water molecules oxidize the coal into carbon monoxide (CO), while also releasing hydrogen gas (H2). This used to be done in underground coal mines, and also to make town gas which was piped to customers to burn for illumination, heating, and cooking.
    3C (as Coal) + O2 + H2O → H2 + 3CO
    If the refiner wants to produce gasoline, the syngas is routed into a Fischer-Tropsch reaction. This is known as indirect coal liquefaction. If hydrogen is the desired end-product, however, the syngas is fed into the water gas shift reaction, where more hydrogen is liberated:
    CO + H2O → CO2 + H2


    Coal can be converted directly into synthetic fuels equivalent to gasoline or diesel by hydrogenation or carbonization.WEB,weblink Direct Liquefaction Processes, National Energy Technology Laboratory, 16 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 25 July 2014, dmy-all, Coal liquefaction emits more carbon dioxide than liquid fuel production from crude oil. Mixing in biomass and using CCS would emit slightly less than the oil process but at a high cost.JOURNAL, Economic and environmental analyses of coal and biomass to liquid fuels, Energy, 141, 76–86, 10.1016/, 2017, Liu, Weiguo, Wang, Jingxin, Bhattacharyya, Debangsu, Jiang, Yuan, Devallance, David, State owned China Energy Investment runs a coal liquefaction plant and plans to build 2 more.NEWS, CHN Energy to build new coal-to-liquid production lines,weblink Xinhua News Agency, 13 August 2018, Coal liquefaction may also refer to the cargo hazard when shipping coal.NEWS, New IMSBC Code requirements aim to control liquefaction of coal cargoes,weblink Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide, 29 November 2018,

    Production of chemicals

    (File:Coal to chemicals routes diagram.jpg|upright=1.5|thumb|Production of chemicals from coal)Chemicals have been produced from coal since the 1950s. Coal can be used as a feedstock in the production of a wide range of chemical fertilizers and other chemical products. The main route to these products is coal gasification to produce syngas. Primary chemicals that are produced directly from the syngas include methanol, hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which are the chemical building blocks from which a whole spectrum of derivative chemicals are manufactured, including olefins, acetic acid, formaldehyde, ammonia, urea and others. The versatility of syngas as a precursor to primary chemicals and high-value derivative products provides the option of using relatively inexpensive{{citation needed|date=December 2018}} coal to produce a wide range of valuable commodities.Because the slate of chemical products that can be made via coal gasification can in general also use feedstocks derived from natural gas and petroleum, the chemical industry tends to use whatever feedstocks are most cost-effective. Therefore, interest in using coal tends to increase for higher oil and natural gas prices and during periods of high global economic growth that may strain oil and gas production. Also, production of chemicals from coal is of much higher interest in countries like South Africa, China and India{{citation needed|date=June 2019}} where there are abundant coal resources. The abundance of coal combined with lack of natural gas resources in China is a strong inducement for the coal to chemicals industry there. Similarly, Sasol has built and operated coal-to-chemicals facilities in South Africa.Coal to chemical processes require substantial quantities of water. Much coal to chemical production is in ChinaWEB, China's Coal to Chemical Future,weblink The Oil Drum.Com, 3 March 2013, Rembrandt, Blog post by expert, 2 August 2012, NEWS, China develops coal-to-olefins projects, which could lead to ethylene self-sufficiency,weblink Yin, Ken, 3 March 2013, ICIS Chemical Business, 27 February 2012, where coal dependent provinces such as Shanxi are struggling to control its pollution.NEWS, Smog war casualty: China coal city bears brunt of pollution crackdown,weblink Reuters, 27 November 2018,

    Coal as fuel to generate electricity

    Precombustion treatment

    Refined coal is the product of a coal-upgrading technology that removes moisture and certain pollutants from lower-rank coals such as sub-bituminous and lignite (brown) coals. It is one form of several precombustion treatments and processes for coal that alter coal's characteristics before it is burned. Thermal efficiency improvements are achievable by improved pre-drying (especially relevant with high-moisture fuel such as lignite or biomass).WEB, The Niederraussem Coal Innovation Centre, RWE,weblink 21 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 22 July 2013, dmy-all, The goals of precombustion coal technologies are to increase efficiency and reduce emissions when the coal is burned. Precombustion technology can sometimes be used as a supplement to postcombustion technologies to control emissions from coal-fueled boilers.

    Power plant combustion

    File:Grand Junction Trip 92007 098.JPG|thumb|Castle Gate Power Plant near Helper, UtahHelper, Utah(File:Ashtabulacoalcars e2.jpg|thumb|Coal rail cars)File:Komatsu bulldozer pushing coal in Power plant Ljubljana (winter 2017).jpg|thumb|Bulldozer pushing coal in Ljubljana Power StationLjubljana Power StationCoal burnt as a solid fuel in coal power stations to generate electricity is called thermal coal. Coal is also used to produce very high temperatures through combustion. Efforts around the world to reduce the use of coal have led some regions to switch to natural gas and electricity from lower carbon sources.When coal is used for electricity generation, it is usually pulverized and then burned in a furnace with a boiler.Total World Electricity Generation by Fuel (2006) {{webarchive|url= |date=22 October 2015 }}. Source: IEA 2008. The furnace heat converts boiler water to steam, which is then used to spin turbines which turn generators and create electricity.WEB, Fossil Power Generation, Siemens AG,weblinkweblink dead, 29 September 2009, 23 April 2009, The thermodynamic efficiency of this process varies between about 25% and 50% depending on the pre-combustion treatment, turbine technology (e.g. supercritical steam generator) and the age of the plant.J. Nunn, A. Cottrell, A. Urfer, L. Wibberley and P. Scaife, "A Lifecycle Assessment of the Victorian Energy Grid" {{webarchive|url= |date=2 September 2016 }}, Cooperative Research Centre for Coal in Sustainable Development, February 2003, p. 7.WEB, Balancing economics and environmental friendliness – the challenge for supercritical coal-fired power plants with highest steam parameters in the future, Jens Rosenkranz, Andreas Wichtmann, 23 October 2006,weblink WEB, Lünen – State-of-the-Art Ultra Supercritical Steam Power Plant Under Construction, Siemens AG,weblink 21 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 8 August 2014, dmy-all, WEB, Neurath F and G set new benchmarks, Alstom,weblink 21 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 1 April 2015, dmy-all, A few integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants have been built, which burn coal more efficiently. Instead of pulverizing the coal and burning it directly as fuel in the steam-generating boiler, the coal is gasified to create syngas, which is burned in a gas turbine to produce electricity (just like natural gas is burned in a turbine). Hot exhaust gases from the turbine are used to raise steam in a heat recovery steam generator which powers a supplemental steam turbine. The overall plant efficiency when used to provide combined heat and power can reach as much as 94%.Avedøreværket {{webarchive|url= |date=29 January 2016 }}. Retrieved on 11 May 2013. IGCC power plants emit less local pollution than conventional pulverized coal-fueled plants; however the technology for carbon capture and storage after gasification and before burning has so far proved to be too expensive to use with coal.NEWS, DOE Sank Billions of Fossil Energy R&D Dollars in CCS Projects. Most Failed.,weblink PowerMag, 9 October 2018, Other ways to use coal are as coal-water slurry fuel (CWS), which was developed in the Soviet Union, or in an MHD topping cycle. However these are not widely used due to lack of profit.In 2017 38% of the world's electricity came from coal, the same percentage as 30 years previously.WEB, The most depressing energy chart of the year,weblink Vox, 30 October 2018, 2018-06-15, In 2018 global installed capacity was 2TW (of which 1TW is in China) which was 30% of total electricity generation capacity. The most dependent major country is South Africa, with over 80% of its electricity generated by coal.WEB, Energy Revolution: A Global Outlook,weblink Drax, 7 February 2019, The total known deposits recoverable by current technologies, including highly polluting, low-energy content types of coal (i.e., lignite, bituminous), is sufficient for many years. On the other hand, much may have to be left in the ground to avoid climate change,WEB,weblink Mining insider: 'Leave the coal in the ground', Michael Slezak, New Scientist, 7 January 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 24 April 2015, dmy-all, MAGAZINE, IPCC digested: Just leave the fossil fuels underground,weblink New Scientist, 30 September 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 7 June 2015, dmy-all, so maximum use could be reached sometime in the 2020s.

    Coal industry

    Coal mining

    About 8000 Mt of coal are produced annually, about 90% of which is hard coal and 10% lignite. {{As of|2018}} just over half is from underground mines.WEB, Coal mining,weblink World Coal Association, 5 December 2018, 2015-04-28, More accidents occur during underground mining than surface mining. Not all countries publish mining accident statistics so worldwide figures are uncertain, but it is thought that most deaths occur in coal mining accidents in China: in 2017 there were 375 coal mining related deaths in China.NEWS, China: seven miners killed after skip plummets down mine shaft,weblink The Guardian, 16 December 2018, France-Presse, Agence, Most coal mined is thermal coal (also called steam coal as it is used to make steam to generate electricity) but metallurgical coal (also called "metcoal" or "coking coal" as it is used to make coke to make iron) accounts for 10% to 15% of global coal use.MAGAZINE, The One Market That's Sure To Help Coal,weblink Forbes, 12 August 2018,

    Legality of coal mining

    A court in Australia has cited climate change in ruling against a new coal mine.NEWS, Court rules out Hunter Valley coalmine on climate change grounds,weblink The Guardian, 7 February 2019,

    Coal as a traded commodity

    China mines almost half the world's coal, followed by India with about a tenth. Australia accounts for about a third of world coal exports, followed by Indonesia and Russia; while the largest importers are Japan and India.The price of metallurgical coal is volatileWEB, Coal 2017,weblink International Energy Agency, IEA, 26 November 2018, and much higher than the price of thermal coal because metallurgical coal must be lower in sulfur and requires more cleaning.WEB, Coal Prices and Outlook,weblink U.S. Energy Information Administration, Coal futures contracts provide coal producers and the electric power industry an important tool for hedging and risk management.In some countries new onshore wind or solar generation already costs less than coal power from existing plants.NEWS, New wind and solar generation costs fall below existing coal plants, Financial Times, 2018-11-08,weblink WEB, Lazard's Levelized Cost of Energy ('LCOE') analysis – Version 12.0,weblink 9 November 2018, However, for China this is forecast for the early 2020sWEB, 40% of China's coal power stations are losing money,weblink Carbon Tracker, 11 November 2018, 2018-10-11, and for south-east Asia not until the late 2020s.WEB, Economic and financial risks of coal power in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines,weblink Carbon Tracker, 9 November 2018, In India building new plants is uneconomic and, despite being subsidized, existing plants are losing market share to renewables.NEWS, India's Coal Paradox,weblink 5 January 2019,

    Market trends

    Of the countries which produce coal China mines by far the most, almost half the world's coal, followed by less than 10% by India. China is also by far the largest consumer. Therefore, market trends depend on Chinese energy policy.WEB, Coal 2018:Executive Summary,weblink International Energy Agency, 2018, Although the effort to reduce pollution means that the global long term trend is to burn less coal, the short and medium term trends may differ, in part due to Chinese financing of new coal-fired power plants in other countries.BOOK, Cornot-Gandolfe, Sylvie, A Review of Coal Market Trends and Policies in 2017, May 2018, Ifri,weblink

    Major coal producers

    Countries with annual production higher than 300 million tonnes are shown.{| class="wikitable sortable" style="margin:auto; text-align:right;"|+ Production of coal by country and year (million tonnes)WEB,weblink BP Statistical review of world energy 2012, British Petroleum, XLS, 18 August 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 19 June 2012, WEB,weblink BP Statistical review of world energy 2016, British Petroleum, XLS, 8 February 2017, live,weblink" title="">weblink 2 December 2016, dmy-all, ! style="width:120pt;"|Country! style="width:100pt;"|2000! style="width:100pt;"|2005! style="width:100pt;"|2010! style="width:100pt;"|2015! style="width:100pt;"|2017! style="width:100pt;"|ShareChina| 1,384| 2,350| 3,235| 3,747| 3,523| 46%India| 335| 429| 574| 678| 716| 9%United States| 974| 1,027| 984| 813| 702| 9%Australia| 314| 375| 424| 485| 481| 6%Indonesia| 77| 152| 275| 392| 461| 6%Russia| 262| 298| 322| 373| 411| 5% class="sortbottom"! World Total! 4,726! 6,035! 7,255! 7,862! 7,727! 100%

    Major coal consumers

    Countries with annual consumption higher than 500 million tonnes are shown. Shares are based on data expressed in tonnes oil equivalent.{| class="wikitable sortable" style="margin:auto; text-align:right;"EIA International Energy Annual – Total Coal Consumption (Thousand Short Tons – converted to metric) {{webarchive>url= |date=9 February 2016 }}. Retrieved on 11 May 2013.Coal Consumption! style="width:120pt;"|Country! style="width:100pt;"|2008! style="width:100pt;"|2009! style="width:100pt;"|2010! style="width:100pt;"|2011! style="width:100pt;"|2012! style="width:100pt;"|2013! style="width:100pt;"|2014! style="width:100pt;"|2015! style="width:100pt;"|2016! style="width:100pt;"|ShareChina| 2,691| 2,892| 3,352| 3,677| 4,538| 4,678| 4,539| 3,970 coal + 441 met coke = 4,411| 3,784 coal + 430 met coke = 4,214| 51%India| 582| 640| 655| 715| 841| 837| 880| 890 coal + 33 met coke = 923| 877 coal + 37 met coke = 914| 11%United States| 1,017| 904| 951| 910| 889| 924| 918| 724 coal + 12 met coke = 736| 663 coal + 10 met coke = 673| 9% class="sortbottom"! World Total! 7,636! 7,699! 8,137! 8,640! 8,901! 9,013! 8,907! 7,893 coal + 668 met coke = 8561! 7,606 coal + 655 met coke = 8261! 100%Exports of Coal by Country and year (million tonnes)WEB >TITLEPRIMARY COAL EXPORTS, urweblink publisherUS Energy Information Administration, accessdate7 December 2018, ">

    Major coal exporters{| class"wikitable sortable" style"margin:auto; text-align:right;"Exports of Coal by Country and year (million tonnes)WEB >TITLEPRIMARY COAL EXPORTS, urweblink publisherEnergy Information Administration, US Energy Information Administration, accessdate7 December 2018,

    ! style="width:120pt;"|Country! style="width:100pt;"|2016Australia| 391Indonesia| 369Russia| 165Colombia| 83United States| 54Exporters are at risk of a reduction in import demand from India and China.TITLEPRIMARY COAL IMPORTS, urweblink publisherUS Energy Information Administration, accessdate7 December 2018, ">

    Major coal importers{| class"wikitable sortable" style"margin:auto; text-align:right;"TITLEPRIMARY COAL IMPORTS, urweblink publisherEnergy Information Administration, US Energy Information Administration, accessdate7 December 2018,

    ! style="width:140pt;"|Country! style="width:100pt;"|2016China| 256India| 196Japan| 190South Korea| 128Taiwan| 66Germany| 58Turkey| 36

    Damage to human health{{anchor|Health_effects}}

    The use of coal as fuel causes ill health and deaths.Toxic Air: The Case for Cleaning Up Coal-fired Power Plants. American Lung Association (March 2011) {{webarchive |url= |date=26 January 2012 }}The deadly London smog was caused primarily by the heavy use of coal. Globally coal is estimated to cause 800,000 premature deaths every year,WEB, Health,weblink Endcoal, 3 December 2018, mostly in IndiaJOURNAL, India shows how hard it is to move beyond fossil fuels, The Economist,weblink 2 August 2018, and China.Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks {{webarchive|url= |date=30 July 2016 }}. World Health Organization (2006)BOOK,weblink 978-92-4-156387-1, 2009, World Health Organization, Global health risks. Mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks, live,weblink" title="">weblink 14 February 2012, dmy-all, WEB,weblink WHO – Ambient (outdoor) air quality and health,, 7 January 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 4 January 2016, Burning coal is a major emitter of sulfur dioxide, which creates PM2.5 particulates, the most dangerous form of air pollution.NEWS,weblink Global SO2 emission hotspot database, August 2019, Greenpeace, Coal smokestack emissions cause asthma, strokes, reduced intelligence, artery blockages, heart attacks, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, mercury poisoning, arterial occlusion, and lung cancer.Coal Pollution Damages Human Health at Every Stage of Coal Life Cycle, Reports Physicians for Social Responsibility {{webarchive|url= |date=31 July 2015 }}. Physicians for Social Responsibility. (18 November 2009)Burt, Erica; Orris, Peter and Buchanan, Susan (April 2013) Scientific Evidence of Health Effects from Coal Use in Energy Generation {{webarchive|url= |date=14 July 2015 }}. University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, Chicago, Illinois, USAnnual health costs in Europe from use of coal to generate electricity are estimated at up to €43 billion.WEB, The Unpaid Health Bill – How coal power plants make us sick,weblink Health and Environment Alliance, 15 December 2018, 2013-03-07, In China, improvements to air quality and human health would increase with more stringent climate policies, mainly because the country's energy is so heavily reliant on coal. And there would be a net economic benefit.WEB, Health benefits will offset cost of China's climate policy,weblink MIT, 15 December 2018, A 2017 study in the Economic Journal found that for Britain during the period 1851–1860, "a one standard deviation increase in coal use raised infant mortality by 6–8% and that industrial coal use explains roughly one-third of the urban mortality penalty observed during this period."JOURNAL, Beach, Brian, Hanlon, W. Walker, Coal Smoke and Mortality in an Early Industrial Economy, The Economic Journal, 128, 615, en, 2652–2675, 10.1111/ecoj.12522, 1468-0297, dmy-all, 2018, Breathing in coal dust causes coalworker's pneumoconiosis which is known colloquially as "black lung", so-called because the coal dust literally turns the lungs black from their usual pink color.WEB,weblink Black Lung Disease-Topic Overview, WebMD, live,weblink" title="">weblink 10 July 2015, dmy-all, In the United States alone, it is estimated that 1,500 former employees of the coal industry die every year from the effects of breathing in coal mine dust.WEB,weblink Black Lung,, 7 January 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 3 February 2016, dmy-all, Huge amounts of coal ash and other waste is produced annually. Use of coal generates hundreds of millions of tons of ash and other waste products every year. These include fly ash, bottom ash, and flue-gas desulfurization sludge, that contain mercury, uranium, thorium, arsenic, and other heavy metals, along with non-metals such as selenium.World Coal Association "Environmental impact of Coal Use" {{webarchive|url= |date=23 February 2009 }}Around 10% of coal is ash:WEB,weblink" title="">weblink 20 July 2015,weblink Coal,, 2014-02-05, coal ash is hazardous and toxic to human beings and some other living things.WEB,weblink Coal Ash: Toxic – and Leaking,, live,weblink" title="">weblink 15 July 2015, dmy-all, Coal ash contains the radioactive elements uranium and thorium. Coal ash and other solid combustion byproducts are stored locally and escape in various ways that expose those living near coal plants to radiation and environmental toxics.WEB,weblink Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste, Hvistendahl, Mara, Scientific American, 13 December 2007, live,weblink" title="">weblink 10 July 2015, dmy-all,

    Damage to the environment

    File:Aerial view of ash slide site Dec 23 2008 123002.jpg|thumb|Aerial photograph of the site of the Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash slurry spill taken the day after the event ]]Coal mining and coal fueling of power stations and industrial processes can cause major environmental damage.Environmental impacts of coal power: air pollution {{webarchive|url= |date=15 January 2008 }}. Union of Concerned ScientistsWater systems are affected by coal mining.JOURNAL, Environmental Impact of Coal Mining on Water Regime and Its Management, Tiwary, R. K., Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 2001, 132, 185–99, 10.1023/a:1012083519667, For example, mining affects groundwater and water table levels and acidity. Spills of fly ash, such as the Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash slurry spill, can also contaminate land and waterways, and destroy homes. Power stations that burn coal also consume large quantities of water. This can affect the flows of rivers, and has consequential impacts on other land uses. In areas of water scarcity, such as the Thar Desert in Pakistan, coal mining and coal power plants would use significant quantities of water.NEWS, Pakistan's Coal Trap,weblink Dawn, 4 February 2018, One of the earliest known impacts of coal on the water cycle was acid rain. Approximately 75 Tg/S per year of sulfur dioxide (SO2) is released from burning coal. After release, the sulfur dioxide is oxidized to gaseous H2SO2 which scatters solar radiation, hence its increase in the atmosphere exerts a cooling effect on climate. This beneficially masks some of the warming caused by increased greenhouse gases. However, the sulfur is precipitated out of the atmosphere as acid rain in a matter of weeks,JOURNAL, The oxidation rate and residence time of sulphur dioxide in the arctic atmosphere, Barrie, L.A., Hoff, R.M., Atmospheric Environment, 18, 12, 1984, 2711–22, 10.1016/0004-6981(84)90337-8, whereas carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. Release of SO2 also contributes to the widespread acidification of ecosystems.Human Impacts on Atmospheric Chemistry, by PJ Crutzen and J Lelieveld, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Vol. 29: 17–45 (Volume publication date May 2001)Disused coal mines can also cause issues. Subsidence can occur above tunnels, causing damage to infrastructure or cropland. Coal mining can also cause long lasting fires, and it has been estimated that thousands of coal seam fires are burning at any given time.NEWS, Time Magazine, 23 July 2010,weblink Cray, Dan, Deep Underground, Miles of Hidden Wildfires Rage, live,weblink" title="">weblink 28 July 2010, dmy-all, For example, Brennender Berg has been burning since 1668 and is still burning in the 21st century.WEB, Das Naturdenkmal Brennender Berg bei Dudweiler, The natural monument Burning Mountain in Dudweiler, German, Mineralienatlas, 3 October 2016,weblink The production of coke from coal produces ammonia, coal tar, and gaseous compounds as by-products which if discharged to land, air or waterways can pollute the environment.WEB, World Of Coke: Coke is a High Temperature Fuel,weblink, 16 January 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 27 November 2015, dmy-all, The Whyalla steelworks is one example of a coke producing facility where liquid ammonia is discharged to the marine environment.

    Underground fires

    Thousands of coal fires are burning around the world.WEB, Sino German Coal fire project,weblink 9 September 2005, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 30 August 2005, dmy, Those burning underground can be difficult to locate and many cannot be extinguished. Fires can cause the ground above to subside, their combustion gases are dangerous to life, and breaking out to the surface can initiate surface wildfires. Coal seams can be set on fire by spontaneous combustion or contact with a mine fire or surface fire. Lightning strikes are an important source of ignition. The coal continues to burn slowly back into the seam until oxygen (air) can no longer reach the flame front. A grass fire in a coal area can set dozens of coal seams on fire.WEB, Committee on Resources-Index,weblink 9 September 2005,weblink" title="">weblink 25 August 2005, dead, dmy, WEB, Snapshots 2003,,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 18 February 2006, 9 September 2005, dead, dmy, Coal fires in China burn an estimated 120 million tons of coal a year, emitting 360 million metric tons of CO2, amounting to 2–3% of the annual worldwide production of CO2 from fossil fuels.WEB, EHP 110-5, 2002: Forum,weblink 9 September 2005, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 31 July 2005, WEB, Overview about ITC's activities in China,weblink 9 September 2005,weblink" title="">weblink 16 June 2005, dead, dmy, In Centralia, Pennsylvania (a borough located in the Coal Region of the United States), an exposed vein of anthracite ignited in 1962 due to a trash fire in the borough landfill, located in an abandoned anthracite strip mine pit. Attempts to extinguish the fire were unsuccessful, and it continues to burn underground to this day. The Australian Burning Mountain was originally believed to be a volcano, but the smoke and ash come from a coal fire that has been burning for some 6,000 years.WEB, Fire in The Hole,weblinkweblink dead, 14 October 2009, 5 June 2011, At Kuh i Malik in Yagnob Valley, Tajikistan, coal deposits have been burning for thousands of years, creating vast underground labyrinths full of unique minerals, some of them very beautiful.The reddish siltstone rock that caps many ridges and buttes in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and in western North Dakota is called porcelanite, which resembles the coal burning waste "clinker" or volcanic "scoria".WEB, North Dakota's Clinker,weblink 9 September 2005, live,weblink" title="">weblink 14 September 2005, dmy-all, Clinker is rock that has been fused by the natural burning of coal. In the Powder River Basin approximately 27 to 54 billion tons of coal burned within the past three million years.WEB, BLM-Environmental Education – The High Plains,weblink 9 September 2005,weblink" title="">weblink 12 March 2005, dead, dmy, Wild coal fires in the area were reported by the Lewis and Clark Expedition as well as explorers and settlers in the area.WEB, Pyrophoricity (spontaneous combustion) of Powder River Basin coals: Considerations for coalbed methane development,weblink 9 September 2005,weblink" title="">weblink 12 September 2005, Lyman, Robert M., Volkmer, John E., March 2001, dead, dmy,

    Global warming

    The largest and most long term effect of coal use is the release of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that causes climate change and global warming. Coal-fired power plants were the single largest contributor to the growth in global CO2 emissions in 2018,Gençsü (2019), p. 8 40% of the total fossil fuel emissions.WEB,weblink China's unbridled export of coal power imperils climate goals, 7 December 2018, Coal mining can emit methane, another greenhouse gas.NEWS, China’s Coal Plants Haven’t Cut Methane Emissions as Required, Study Finds,weblink The New York Times, 29 January 2019, In 2016 world gross carbon dioxide emissions from coal usage were 14.5 giga tonnes.WEB, Emissions,weblink Global Carbon Atlas, 6 November 2018, For every megawatt-hour generated, coal-fired electric power generation emits around a tonne of carbon dioxide, which is double the approximately 500 kg of carbon dioxide released by a natural gas-fired electric plant.WEB,weblink How much carbon dioxide is produced when different fuels are burned?,, 7 January 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 12 January 2016, dmy-all, In 2013, the head of the UN climate agency advised that most of the world's coal reserves should be left in the ground to avoid catastrophic global warming.NEWS, Leave coal in the ground to avoid climate catastrophe, UN tells industry,weblink live,weblink 2 January 2017, dmy-all, The Guardian, 2013-11-18, Vidal, John, Readfearn, Graham, To keep global warming below 1.5°C or 2°C hundreds, or possibly thousands, of coal-fired power plants will need to be retired early.WEB,weblink We have too many fossil-fuel power plants to meet climate goals, 2019-07-01, Environment, en, 2019-09-30,

    Coal pollution mitigation

    {{See also|Clean coal technology}}"Clean" coal technology usually addresses atmospheric problems resulting from burning coal. Historically, the primary focus was on SO2 and NOx, the most important gases which caused acid rain; and particulates which cause visible air pollution, illness and premature deaths. SO2 can be removed by flue-gas desulfurization and NO2 by selective catalytic reduction (SCR). Particulates can be removed with electrostatic precipitators. Although perhaps less efficient wet scrubbers can remove both gases and particulates. And mercury emissions can be reduced up to 95%.WEB, Mercury control from coal combustion,weblink UNEP, However capturing carbon dioxide emissions is generally not economically viable.


    Local pollution standards include GB13223-2011 (China), India,JOURNAL, How can Indian power plants cost-effectively meet the new sulfur emission standards? Policy evaluation using marginal abatement cost-curves, Energy Policy, 121, 124–37, 10.1016/j.enpol.2018.06.008, 2018, Sugathan, Anish, Bhangale, Ritesh, Kansal, Vishal, Hulke, Unmil, the Industrial Emissions Directive (EU) and the Clean Air Act (United States).

    Satellite monitoring

    Satellite monitoring is now used to crosscheck national data, for example Sentinel-5 Precursor has shown that Chinese control of SO2 has only been partially successful.JOURNAL, Quantifying coal power plant responses to tighter SO2 emissions standards in China, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115, 27, 7004–09, 10.1073/pnas.1800605115, 29915085, 6142229, 2018, Karplus, Valerie J., Zhang, Shuang, Almond, Douglas, It has also revealed that low use of technology such as SCR has resulted in high NO2 emissions in South Africa and India.NEWS, New satellite data analysis reveals world’s biggest NO2 emissions hotspots,weblink Greenpeace International,

    Combined cycle power plants

    A few Integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) coal-fired power plants have been built with coal gasification. Although they burn coal more efficiently and therefore emit less pollution, the technology has not generally proved economically viable for coal, except possibly in Japan although this is controversial.WEB, Universal failure: How IGCC coal plants waste money and emissions Nove,weblink Kiko Network, 13 November 2018, NEWS, Japan says no to high-emission coal power plants,weblink Nikkei Asian Review, 26 July 2018,

    Carbon capture and storage

    Although still being intensively researched and considered economically viable for some uses other than with coal; carbon capture and storage has been tested at the Petra Nova and Boundary Dam coal-fired power plants and has been found to be technically feasible but not economically viable for use with coal, due to reductions in the cost of solar PV technology.JOURNAL, Coal with Carbon Capture and Sequestration is not as Land Use Efficient as Solar Photovoltaic Technology for Climate Neutral Electricity Production, Nature (journal), Nature, 8, 1, 13476, 10.1038/s41598-018-31505-3, 30194324, 6128891, 2018, Groesbeck, James Gunnar, Pearce, Joshua M.,


    In 2018 USD 80 billion was invested in coal supply but almost all for sustaining production levels rather than opening new mines.WEB,weblink World Energy Investment 2019,, 2019-07-14, In the long term coal and oil could cost the world trillions of dollars per year.NEWS,weblink Tackle climate or face financial crash, say world's biggest investors, Carrington, Damian, 2018-12-10, The Guardian, 2019-07-22, en-GB, 0261-3077, JOURNAL, Kompas, Tom, Pham, Van Ha, Che, Tuong Nhu, 2018, The Effects of Climate Change on GDP by Country and the Global Economic Gains From Complying With the Paris Climate Accord,weblink Earth's Future, en, 6, 8, 1153–1173, 10.1029/2018EF000922, 2328-4277, Coal alone may cost Australia billions,NEWS, Labor opposes plan to indemnify new coal plants and warns it could cost billions,weblink The Guardian, 24 October 2018, whereas costs to some smaller companies or cities could be on the scale of millions of dollars.NEWS, Superfund Scandal Leads to Prison Time for Coal Lobbyist, Lawyer,weblink Sierra Club, 24 October 2018, The economies most damaged by coal (via climate change) may be India and the US as they are the countries with the highest social cost of carbon.JOURNAL, Country-level social cost of carbon, Nature Climate Change, 8, 10, 895–900, 10.1038/s41558-018-0282-y, 2018, Ricke, Katharine, Drouet, Laurent, Caldeira, Ken, Tavoni, Massimo, Bank loans to finance coal are a risk to the Indian economy.China is the largest producer of coal in the world. It is the world's largest energy consumer, and coal in China supplies 60% of its primary energy. However two fifths of China's coal power stations are estimated to be loss-making.Air pollution from coal storage and handling costs the USA almost 200 dollars for every extra ton stored, due to PM2.5.JOURNAL, The local air pollution cost of coal storage and handling: Evidence from U.S. power plants, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 92, 360–396, 10.1016/j.jeem.2018.09.005, 2018, Jha, Akshaya, Muller, Nicholas Z., Coal pollution costs the EU €43 billion each year.MAGAZINE, The human cost of coal in the UK: 1600 deaths a year,weblink New Scientist, live,weblink" title="">weblink 24 April 2015, dmy-all, Measures to cut air pollution benefit individuals financially and the economies of countriesNEWS,weblink Environmentalism, 4 February 2014, The Economist, 7 January 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 28 January 2016, dmy-all, WEB, Air Pollution and Health in Bulgaria,weblink HEAL, 26 October 2018, such as China.JOURNAL, Health-related benefits of air quality improvement from coal control in China: Evidence from the Jing-Jin-Ji region, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 129, 416–423, 10.1016/j.resconrec.2016.09.021, 2018, Sun, Dong, Fang, Jing, Sun, Jingqi,


    Broadly defined total subsidies for coal in 2015 have been estimated at around US$2.5 trillion, about 3% of global GDP.JOURNAL, How Large Are Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies?, World Development, 91, 11–27, 10.1016/j.worlddev.2016.10.004, 2017, Coady, David, Parry, Ian, Sears, Louis, Shang, Baoping, {{As of|2019}} G20 countries provide at least US$63.9 billion of government support per year for the production of coal, including coal-fired power: many subsidies are impossible to quantifyWEB,weblink MANAGING THE PHASE-OUT OF COAL A COMPARISON OF ACTIONS IN G20 COUNTRIES, May 2019, Climate Transparency, but they include US$27.6 billion in domestic and international public finance, US$15.4 billion in fiscal support, and US$20.9 billion in state-owned enterprise (SOE) investments per year. In the EU state aid to new coal-fired plants is banned from 2020, and to existing coal-fired plants from 2025.NEWS, Deal reached on EU energy market design, incl end of coal subsidies License: CC0 Creative Commons,weblink Renewables Now, 19 December 2018, However government funding for new coal power plants is being supplied via Exim Bank of China,WEB, Regional Briefings for the 2018 Coal Plant Developers List,weblink Urgewald, 27 November 2018, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and Indian public sector banks.NEWS, The World Needs to Quit Coal. Why Is It So Hard?,weblink The New York Times, 24 November 2018, Coal in Kazakhstan was the main recipient of coal consumption subsidies totalling US$2 billion in 2017.WEB, Fossil-fuel subsidies,weblink International Energy Agency, IEA, 16 November 2018, Coal in Turkey benefited from substantial subsidies.

    Stranded assets

    Some coal-fired power stations could become stranded assets, for example China Energy Investment, the world's largest power company, risks losing half its capital. However state owned electricity utilities such as Eskom in South Africa, Perusahaan Listrik Negara in Indonesia, Sarawak Energy in Malaysia, Taipower in Taiwan, EGAT in Thailand, Vietnam Electricity and EÜAŞ in Turkey are building or planning new plants. {{As of|2019}} this may be helping to cause a carbon bubble which could cause financial instability if it bursts.WEB,weblink “Stranded” fossil fuel assets may prompt $4 trillion crisis, Cosmos Magazine, en, 2019-09-30,


    Countries building or financing new coal-fired power stations, such as Japan, face mounting international criticism for obstructing the aims of the Paris Agreement. And Australia is being criticised by the Pacific Islands.


    Allegations of corruption are being investigated in IndiaNEWS, Coal scam: Naveen Jindal, others summoned,weblink Times of India, 14 August 2018, and China.WEB, China Tackling Corruption, Safety Concerns in Coal Production,weblink Worldwatch, 27 November 2018,

    Opposition to coal

    File:Coral not coal protest at India Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Visit to Australia (25563929593).jpg|right|thumb|Protesting damage to the Great Barrier Reef caused by climate change in Australiaclimate change in AustraliaFile:Gemeinsam stark,Hambacher Forst,NRW.jpg|right|thumb|Tree houses for protesting the felling of part of Hambach Forest for the (Hambach surface mine]] in Germany: after which the felling was suspended in 2018)Opposition to coal pollution was one of the main reasons the modern environmental movement started in the 19th century.

    Transition away from coal

    {{See also|Fossil fuel phase-out#Coal}}In order to meet global climate goals and provide power to those that don't currently have it coal power must be reduced from nearly 10,000 TWh to less than 2,000 TWh by 2040.NEWS, Coal dumped as IEA turns to wind and solar to solve climate challenge,weblink Renew Economy, 13 November 2018, Many countries, such as the Powering Past Coal Alliance, have already or are transitioned away from coal;BOOK, Sartor, O., Implementing coal transitions Insights from case studies of major coal-consuming economies, 2018, IDDRI and Climate Strategies.,weblink the largest transition announced so far being Germany, which is due to shut down its last coal-fired power station between 2035 and 2038.NEWS, Germany agrees to end reliance on coal stations by 2038,weblink The Guardian, 26 January 2019, Some countries use the ideas of a "just transition", for example to use some of the benefits of transition to provide early pensions for coal miners.NEWS, Spain to close most coalmines in €250m transition deal,weblink The Guardian, 26 October 2018, However low-lying Pacific Islands are concerned the transition is not fast enough and that they will be inundated by sea level rise; so they have called for OECD countries to completely phase out coal by 2030 and other countries by 2040.NEWS, Pacific nations under climate threat urge Australia to abandon coal within 12 years,weblink The Guardian, 13 December 2018,

    Peak coal

    File:Coal mine Wyoming.jpg|thumb|A coal mine in WyomingWyomingAlthough many countries have coal underground not all will be consumed.Of the three fossil fuels, coal has the most widely distributed resources. Coal is mined on all continents except Antarctica. However many such resources have no economic value (much value has been destroyed by shale gas fracking).WEB, IEEFA update: The investment rationale for fossil fuels falls apart,weblink IEEFA, 5 December 2018, 2018-08-27, The largest resources are found in the United States, Russia, China, Australia and India:{| class="wikitable sortable" style="margin:auto; text-align:right;"Proved reserves at end 2017 (billion tonnes)BP STATISTICAL REVIEW OF WORLD ENERGY 2018,weblink BP, 6 December 2018, ! style="width:120pt;"|Country! style="width:100pt;"|Anthracite & Bituminous! style="width:100pt;"|SubBituminous & Lignite! style="width:100pt;"|Total! style="width:100pt;"|Percentage of World TotalCoal in the United States>|24Coal in Russia>|16Coal in Australia>|14Coal in China>|13Coal in India>|9 class="sortbottom"!World Total ||718||317||1035||100Nowadays "peak coal" means the point in time when consumption of coal reaches a maximum. As of 2018 global peak coal consumption is predicted to occur by the early 2020s at the latest.BOOK, What does "peak coal" mean for international coal exporters?, 2018,weblink

    Switch to cleaner fuels and lower carbon electricity generation

    {{See also|Natural gas#Power generation}}Coal-fired generation puts out about twice the amount of carbon dioxide—around a tonne for every megawatt hour generated—than electricity generated by burning natural gas at 500 kg of greenhouse gas per megawatt hour.WEB, Electricity emissions around the world,weblink 30 October 2018, In addition to generating electricity, natural gas is also popular in some countries for heating and as an automotive fuel.The use of coal in the United Kingdom declined as a result of the development of North Sea oil and the subsequent dash for gas during the 1990s. In Canada some coal power plants, such as the Hearn Generating Station, switched from coal to natural gas. In 2017, coal power in the United States provided 30% of the electricity, down from approximately 49% in 2008,WEB,weblink U.S. Energy Information Administration, Frequently Asked Questions, April 18, 2017, May 25, 2017, live,weblink 22 May 2017, dmy-all, WEB,weblink Figure ES 1. U.S. Electric Power Industry Net Generation, Electric Power Annual with data for 2008, U.S. Energy Information Administration, 21 January 2010, 7 November 2010, due to plentiful supplies of low cost natural gas obtained by hydraulic fracturing of tight shale formations.NEWS, Even in Coal Country, the Fight for an Industry,weblink 30 May 2012, The New York Times, 29 May 2012, Lipton, Eric, live,weblink" title="">weblink 30 May 2012, dmy-all,weblink|2012 data|pg24

    Coal regions in transition

    Some coal-mining regions are highly dependent on coal.


    Some coal miners are concerned their jobs may be lost in the transition.NEWS, Thousands protest German coal phaseout,weblink 24 October 2018,


    The white rot fungus Trametes versicolor can grow on and metabolize naturally occurring coal.JOURNAL,weblink Biodegradation of coal-related model compounds, Campbell, J.A., Stewart, D.L., McCulloch, M., Lucke, R.B., Bean, R.M., 514–21, Pacific Northwest Laboratory, live,weblink" title="">weblink 2 January 2017, dmy-all, The bacteria Diplococcus has been found to degrade coal, raising its temperature.JOURNAL, Potter, M.C., Bateria as agents in the oxidation of amorphous carbon, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 80, 539, 239–59, May 1908, 10.1098/rspb.1908.0023,

    Cultural usage

    Coal is the official state mineral of KentuckyWEB,weblink Kentucky: Secretary of State – State Mineral, 20 October 2009, 7 August 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 27 May 2011, and the official state rock of Utah;WEB,weblink Utah State Rock – Coal, Pioneer: Utah's Online Library, Utah State Library Division, 7 August 2011, live,weblink" title="">weblink 2 October 2011, dmy-all, both U.S. states have a historic link to coal mining.Some cultures hold that children who misbehave will receive only a lump of coal from Santa Claus for Christmas in their christmas stockings instead of presents.It is also customary and considered lucky in Scotland and the North of England to give coal as a gift on New Year's Day. This occurs as part of First-Footing and represents warmth for the year to come.

    See also

    {{Div col|colwidth=20em}}
    • {{annotated link|Biochar}}
    • {{annotated link|Biobased economy|Biomass-coal}}
    • {{annotated link|Carbochemistry}}
    • {{annotated link|Coal pollution mitigation}}
    • {{annotated link|Coal assay}}
    • {{annotated link|Coal blending}}
    • {{annotated link|Coal homogenization}}
    • {{annotated link|Coal measures}} (stratigraphic unit)
    • {{annotated link|Coal phase out}}
    • {{annotated link|Coal-tar}}
    • {{annotated link|Coalbed methane}}
    • {{annotated link|Environmental issues with coal}}
    • {{annotated link|Fluidized bed combustion}}
    • {{annotated link|Fossil fuel}}
    • {{annotated link|Fossil fuel phase-out}}
    • {{annotated link|Gyttja|Gytta}}
    • {{annotated link|Major coal producing regions}}
    • {{annotated link|Mountaintop removal mining}}
    • {{annotated link|The Coal Question}}
    • {{annotated link|Tonstein}}
    • {{annotated link|World Coal Association}}
    {{div col end}}




    • WEB

    , Gençsü
    , Ipek
    , June 2019
    , G20 coal subsidies
    , Overseas Development Institute,weblink

    Further reading

    • BOOK, Thurber, Mark, 2019, Coal, Polity Press, 978-1509514014,
    • BOOK, Freese, Barbara, Coal: A Human History, 2003, Penguin Books, 978-0-7382-0400-0, 51449422,weblink

    External links

    {{Commons|Coal}}{{Wiktionary}} {{coal|state=expanded}}{{Energy country lists|state=collapsed}}{{electricity generation}}{{Authority control}}

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