How Is Coal Converted to Usable Energy?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 4, 2020 11:27:51 AM ET

Coal is converted into electricity through a complex process that involves steaming, grinding, processing and distribution. The act of transforming coal into electricity is quite a production; coal is first ground to a fine chalky powder and added to combustion chambers of boilers before being burned at higher temperatures to produce hot gas and heat energy. Eventually, coal is sent to a generator, where it is then converted into electricity and disseminated through wires to substations and transformers.

The conversion of coal begins in pulverized coal combustion systems, which start the process by steaming coal, which then turns into powder. In its powder form, coal is added to boiler combustion chambers, which heat the substance to high temperatures. This reaction produces hot gases and heat energy, which combine with water to form steam. The steam then enters into a turbine with large propeller-like blades; here it then turns into powerful wind and makes it way to a generator mounted on the end of a large vertical turbine shaft. This stage is where coal finally turns into electricity. After generating, electricity is transformed into high voltages to gain enough momentum to pass through long power lines. Electricity winds its way through wires to electrical grids where it is transferred to substations for dissemination.