What are the advantages and disadvantages of using coal?


Quick Answer

Coal is a cost-effective and reliable form of energy, but there are concerns about the impact that coal has on the environment. It is a fossil fuel that is found in mines in countries around the world, including the United States.

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Full Answer

The advantages of using coal:

  • Coal is an inexpensive form of energy.
  • There is lots of coal available in mines around the world, which helps to make the supply of coal stable.
  • Coal is also reliable to produce because it is such an established industry.
  • Large amounts of electricity can be produced using coal, so it is able to meet increasing energy demands.
  • The transport infrastructure to move coal around the world is well-established and reliable.
  • Coal power stations are relatively easy to build, and they can be built almost anywhere.

The disadvantages of using coal:

  • Coal produces large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, when burned in power stations.
  • The processes of mining and transporting coal produce even more greenhouse gas emissions.
  • A lot of water is used in coal production.
  • Water discharges from coal power plants pollute water sources.
  • Other waste is produced, including solid waste in the form of ash.
  • Finally, while there is lots of coal, it is a finite resource, so is regarded as a non-renewable form of energy.
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