Coal has been used as a fuel or energy source since the Industrial Revolution. While it is no longer used to run steam locomotives, it is still employed in certain areas where energy needs are great, such as for thermal generation, the steel making industry, cement manufacturing and as a source of liquefied fuel (gasoline from coal).
Coal is actually a mineral sediment containing a high percentage of carbon, a low percentage of moisture and a very low percentage of nitrogen. The carbon is that, when burned in contact with air or oxygen, provides thermal energy, which is then transformed into other types of energy.
Coal is categorised by its hardness or its carbon content:
Today, electrical generation is still the most common usage for coal. Thermal generating stations burn it in industrial boilers to heat water. The heat created turns the water into steam, and this activates a turbine coupled to an alternator to generate electricity.
Bituminous coal is the most valuable sort for the steel industry. It is mixed with iron ore and the combination is heated in industrial ovens at a temperature of 1000 0C. This process reduces the iron oxides, producing steel.
Coal can also be gasified in the presence of water vapor and oxygen. The result is a synthetic gas made up of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Depending on how it is converted, this can become methanol, pure hydrogen, a synthetic fuel, etc.
Multotec helps mine owners to extract and process coal for all of these usages. Multotec’s leading-edge equipment, including DMS cyclones, classification cyclones, sieve bends, centrifuges, screens, screening media, magnetic separators and spiral concentrators, are used to pre-concentrate, separate, upgrade and recover ore. Mining operations locally and abroad are provided with economic, efficient solutions through experienced equipment suppliers like Multotec.
Early in 2017, the following countries had the largest coal reserves:
The mining landscape is still practically the same today.