It is widely known that the combustion of coal also comes with a few nasty side effects for our planet. After all, fossil fuels have a high carbon content which is released into our atmosphere as carbon dioxide gas, where it contributes to global warming and gradually exacerbates pollution. Here at Pearson Fuels, we are not blind to the influence of coal. Thankfully, the government are tackling these issues so that we can reap the benefits of coal power without affecting the planet. Read on as we go over three important environmental concerns of coal and explain how the government is fighting them…
The number one problem with coal power is that it contributes to a global pollution problem. After all, the fossil fuel releases several emissions during combustion including; sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, mercury and fly ash. All of these materials are damaging to the environment and contribute to global warming. In fact, the government were forced to introduce smoke control zones following The Great Smog of London as part of the Clean Air Act of 1956, which forced people to find alternatives to coal power in order to reduce pollution and make the air cleaner to breathe. As a result, families started to use something called smokeless coal, which is much more environmentally friendly. In fact, many of these smoke control zones are still in place as the government continues to promote clean air and smokeless coal is still considered an extremely effective alternative.
As stated above, coal emits sulphur dioxide gas into the atmosphere when it is burned which is known to cause acid rain. Not only can this make breathing more difficult for asthma sufferers, it affects the environment too. For example, acid rain makes water acidic and therefore inhabitable for marine life and it also releases aluminium into the soil, which can cause stunted growth in trees by stealing essential nutrients. Thankfully, there are several methods that can remove or reduce the amount of sulphur present in coal. For example, washing coal before burning it removes pyritic sulphur and burning the fossil fuel in something known as a ‘Fluidised Bed Combustor’ can prevent sulphur dioxide from even forming. As a result, the damaging effects of acid rain that come from coal combustion are being controlled and reduced so we can enjoy our aesthetic winter fire without harming the planet.
In order for coal to be gathered, it has to be mined from deep within the earth. Sometimes there are abundant coal deposits under forests and the only way to retrieve them is to sacrifice the green area above. In fact, mountain top removal mining is thought to be the number one cause of deforestation associated with coal mining and, according to a 2010 investigation, this method has destroyed 6.8% of Appalachia’s forestry. Thankfully, coal mines now prioritise underground mining in order to protect the vital green space on the top. Plus, any land that was previously used for surface mining is reclaimed and re-purposed for use as airports and golf courses in order to ensure that it isn’t wasted.
When it comes to the planet, it is up to us to be the change we wish to see. After all, the environment can only withstand so much before the damage becomes irreparable. It is salient that the government are tackling the controversy of coal by reducing its effects on the planet so we are able to continue reaping its benefits without destroying our earth. Whilst coal is certainly becoming much more greener, we also stock smokeless coal for those who want to do their part for the environment. After all, coal like anthracite has less volatile materials, delivers an extremely efficient fire output and can be used even when you don’t live in a smoke control zone! To find out more information about the governments aim to make coal greener, get in contact with a member of the Pearson Fuels team today!