Energyis extremely significant for human civilization, we need it to power our homes,factories and etc.
There are few resources to generate energy such as usingfossil fuels(coal, natural gas) nuclear power, and renewable sources. Fossilfuels is the world primary energy supply. Near 86% of our energy sources comefrom fossil fuels. Coal is a major type of fossil fuels use for generating electricity.Coal plays an essential role in electricitygeneration worldwide. Coal-fired power plants accounts for 41% of globalelectricity. Unfortunately, burning coal has devastating consequences for ourplanet.
On average each coal plant generates near 3.5 million tons of CO2per year. Too much CO2 in the atmosphere is the primary reason forglobal warming, also mining coal produces methane gas which is another reasonfor global warming. Coalis the cheapest type of fuel to produce energy as it is very abundant on theearth and it is relatively inexpensive to extract it.
During last decades, coalfaces a number of long-term challenges in western societies because ofenvironmental concern ;however, unfortunately the demand is likely to keepincreasing in developing countries. Developing countries require cheap energyto produce electricity and to power their economy growth. World annualcoal production increased over 70% was in China and 8% in India.
Airemissions from coal fired plants include Nitrous Oxides (NOx),Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), particulate matter, mercury and greenhousegases. According to Environment Canada, majority of air emissions from theelectric power sector can be attributed to coal and oil fired plantsInaddition, Coal fired plants also release small amounts of toxic material suchas methyl chloride and metals such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium and nickelwhich are toxic as well. Currently, major environmental issues such as acidrain, smog, and climate change are linked to these air pollutants. Goodnews is that the new environmental laws and regulations restrict the allowableemissions from fossil fuel burning power plants. In order to prevent these emissions each year,it is necessary for existing coal-fired power plants to capture and processthese contaminants and emissions.
Hopefully, the law and regulations wouldbecome more strict day by day and in near future the cleaner source of energyreplace coal power plants.