Coal is a form of energy that is natural and comes directly from the earth. Coal is an important natural source of energy and was initially developed from plants and vegetative life that has been buried in the earth’s crust many millions of years ago. Coal was once a living material and as such, is known as a fossil fuel, and like other fossil fuels such as natural gas and petroleum, it is carbon based. Because coil is a fossil fuel, it is able to be burned, and this is what creates coal energy.

The largest advantage today is that coal energy is an affordable energy source as its price has maintained stability over the years in relation to competing fuel sources. It also is available in great abundance, despite the fact that it is non-renewable.

Today, coal energy is most often used for the production of electricity. Power plants used coal energy to create electricity. Coal energy is a fuel that is also used for powering or heating industrial plants or manufacturing plants, and it is also used to create steel. Coal energy provides an abundance of chemicals that can and is used in many manufacturing process to create nylon, plastics, aspirin, paints, synthetic rubbers, and many other useful items we use every day.

Fuels like coal provide an excellent fuel for "load based" generation because they can be burned on demand, generating electricity when it is needed. Only some hydroelectric power generation provides greater flexibility, and most renewable forms of energy, including wind, solar, and wave generation provide no control over when electricity is generated.


Coal has many important uses worldwide. The most significant uses of coal are in electricity generation, steel production, cement manufacturing and as a liquid fuel. Around 6.6 billion tonnes of hard coal were used worldwide last year and 1 billion tonnes of brown coal.

Since 2000, global coal consumption has grown faster than any other fuel. The five largest coal users - China, USA, India, Russia and Japan - account for 76% of total global coal use.

The biggest market for coal is Asia, which currently accounts for over 67% of global coal consumption; although China is responsible for a significant proportion of this. Many countries do not have natural energy resources sufficient to cover their energy needs, and therefore need to import energy to help meet their requirements. Japan, Chinese Taipei and Korea, for example, import significant quantities of steam coal for electricity generation and coking coal for steel production.

In 2010, the US consumed over one billion tons of coal, the majority of it for electricity generation (975 million tons) and smaller amounts for other industrial processes (49 million tons), steelmaking (21 million tons), and residential/commercial use (3 million tons). Unlike oil, or even natural gas, coal is relatively easy and cheap to find and is quite abundant in many areas in the United States. As a result of this and the relative ease of mining, coal is by far the cheapest fossil fuel, costing around a third of the price of oil or natural gas per unit of energy produced.
The People’s Republic of China.  
The People’s Republic of China is the world’s largest consumer of coal, using more coal each year than the United States, the European Union, and Japan combined. Coal power has been the dominant source of energy used to fuel the rapid economic development of China in the past two decades, with significant impact on its physical environment and human population. China relies on coal power for approximately 70-80% of its energy, with 45% used for the industrial sector and the remainder used to generate electricity. By 2010, China comprised 48% of world coal consumption. China's coal production has more than doubled since 1990, from one billion tonnes to 2.72 billion in 2008. Coal production in China was estimated at almost 3.4 billion short tons (i.e. 3.084 billion tonnes) in 2009. China's coal production was estimated to be 3.47 billion tonnes in 2011. Coal power is managed by the State Power Grid Corporation. (Note, 1 tonne = 1000 kg or 2,205 pounds.)

In 2007, China’s demand for coal outpaced its supply and it became a net importer of coal for the first time. The World Coal Institute estimates that China imported 46 million tonnes of coal; imports reached 190 million tonnes in 2011.
FUTURE of coal
Peat considered to be a precursor of coal, has industrial importance as a fuel in some regions, for example, Ireland and Finland. In its dehydrated form, peat is a highly effective absorbent for fuel and oil spills on land and water. It is also used as a conditioner for soil to make it more able to retain and slowly release water.   Lignite or brown coal, is the lowest rank of coal and used almost exclusively as fuel for electric power generation. Jet, a compact form of lignite, is sometimes polished and has been used as an ornamental stone since the Upper Palaeolithic.
Whose properties range from those of lignite to those of bituminous coal, is used primarily as fuel for steam-electric power generation and is an important source of light aromatic hydrocarbons for the chemical synthesis industry.   Is 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, with substantial quantities used for heat and power applications in manufacturing.
Is a grade between bituminous coal and anthracite, once widely used as a fuel for steam locomotives. In this specialized use, it is sometimes known as "sea-coal" in the US. Small steam coal (dry small steam nuts or DSSN) was used as a fuel for domestic water heating.   The highest rank of coal, is a harder, glossy black coal used primarily for residential and commercial space heating.
Technically the highest rank, is difficult to ignite and is not commonly used as fuel - it is mostly used in pencils and, when powdered, as a lubricant.    

Coal, besides being the mostly spread of all the fossil fuels, also has the longest use in history. Coal has been used as a heat or energy source throughout the world since at least the Bronze Age. Archaeologists have found proofs which are pointing to the fact that Romans in West were using coal in second and third century. In northern America, Indians in the 14th century were using coal for cooking, heating and ceramic. In 18th century English discovered that coal combusts cleaner and in higher temperature than the charcoal. Industrial revolution was first real agitator of coal's use.

James Watt invented engine on steam (steam engine), which made it possible for machines to do the work that was before done by humans or animals. James Watt used coal for manufacturing steam which motioned the engine. During the 19th century ships and trains were main transporting vehicles, and were using steam engine for propulsion. In these steam engines coal was used for manufacturing the steam. In year 1880, coal had been used for the first time ever for electrical energy's production.

Lanka Coal Company (Pvt) Ltd.
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