Coal, also called coal, is defined as a sedimentary organogenic rock of black hue with a large amount of carbon and with variability of other elements such as sulfur, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen. It is used as a fossil fuel and is known as a non-renewable resource.
Coal is obtained by the decomposition of terrestrial plants gathered in lagoons, swamps or shallow seas. The plant remains are grouped together at the bottom of the basin, they are covered with water and benefit from protection against the degradation of the air.
They begin a slow transformation thanks to the action of anaerobic bacteria, which are microorganisms that do not need oxygen for their life.
Over time, a gradual enrichment in carbon is generated, then it becomes covered with clay deposits, this helps to maintain the anaerobic environment conducive to the continuation of the carbonization process. It is understood that a layer of coal that is one meter thick comes from the transformation of different processes that occurred in the diagenesis of more than 10 meters belonging to the carbonaceous silt.
Uses of Coal
Coal provides 25% of the primary energy consumed in the world, oil being the main one. It is also one of the main sources of electrical energy, contributing 40% of world production. The main applications and uses of coal are:
It is a product obtained by pyrolysis of coal in the absence of air. It is used as a reducing agent and fuel in various industries, mainly in blast furnaces. Two-thirds of the world’s steel is produced from coal coke, or 12% of world coal production.
Electric power generation
Pulverized coal-fired power plants are the world’s primary source of electrical energy. In recent years, different types of power plants have been launched in an attempt to increase performance and minimize polluting emissions, including pressurized fluidized bed power plants. Another class of technology that is booming is that of combined cycles, which use syngas obtained through the gasification of coal as fuel.
iron and steel industry
A mixture of coal with iron minerals is made to obtain an alloy in which the iron is supplied with carbon, obtaining greater elasticity and resistance. Considering the amount of carbon used, we obtain the following:
- Steel: 0.2% and 1.2% of the carbonaceous product are used.
- Soft iron: 0.2% less carbon is used.
- Smelting: Causes more than 1.2% carbon.
Over time, the first use of this element was for household fuel. Currently, it is still used for heating, mainly in developing countries. While in developed countries, other sources of greater thermal cleaning are used, such as propane, natural gas, butane and electric power, with the aim of minimizing the pollution index.
They are used in factories that require a lot of energy in their processes, such as brick factories and cement factories.
Thanks to the direct liquefaction process, the coal is transformed into a crude oil very similar to petroleum. Direct liquefaction was practiced somewhat in Germany during World War II, but there are currently no industrial-scale plants like this in the world.
This practice is mainly practiced in China and South Africa. Thanks to the coal gasification process, a gas called syngas is obtained. This compound is essentially made up of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Syngas is defined as a basic feedstock that can be transformed into various important chemicals such as:
- Diesel and gasoline: specifically automotive, using the Fischer-Tropsch process. It is a chemical process in which liquid hydrocarbons are produced from CO2, syngas and H2.
Electron configuration of carbon
Coal is a sedimentary rock with a high carbon content, which is black in color and whose other components are sulphur, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen.
The accumulation of plant parts such as wood, leaves and bark in places with large amounts of standing water such as lakes, swamps, river mouths and puddles that do not have no contact with air or oxygen were the key to the vegetation did not have a total decomposition, facilitating the process of creating coal in strata or layers of sediment.