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How is Electricity Generated from Coal?

How is Electricity Generated from Coal?

Posted on 4 Mar 2019 By Coal Hut

As is common knowledge, coal is one of the world’s premier energy sources with a wide array of applications. But did you know that a substantial amount of global electricity is derived from burning coal? If you didn’t, it should be fair to say that you're also unaware of the process of turning coal into electricity. Therefore, in this post, Coal Hut are providing an explanation as to how electricity is generated from coal for those of us who are curious.

In the current 2019 landscape, the developed world relies heavily on electricity. It provides the energy necessary to light our houses and factories, heat our buildings and power our machinery, equipment and as of late, our vehicles. Without electricity, modern life as we know could not continue. What you may not know, however, is that coal plays a vital role in worldwide energy generation. Coal accounts for as much as 37% of electricity generated worldwide, beating out the likes of natural gas, oil, renewables and nuclear energy.

How is electricity generated from coal?

Listed below are the steps in the process of generating electricity from burning coal:

  1. In order to increase the overall surface area of the coal, it is ground into a fine, powder-like material, enabling it to burn in a more efficient manner.
  2. The powder is then mixed with hot air and blown into the combustion chamber (or firebox) of a boiler where the coal/air mixture is burned at high temperatures.
  3. Through a combination of hot gases and heat energy, purified water within the boiler pipes is evaporated, transforming into steam.
  4. This steam is then heated to around 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, producing pressures up to 3,500 pounds per square inch, and subsequently passed into a turbine housing thousands of propeller-like blades.
  5. The high-pressure steam causes the propeller blades to rotate at a high velocity.
  6. Located at one end of the turbine shaft is a mounted generator. Within this generator exists multiple wire coils which, when rotated, produce electricity within a strong magnetic field.
  7. Once the steam has passed through the turbine, the remanence is drawn into a large chamber where it is combined with water from a nearby source (such as a river or lake). This steam is condensed back into water for reuse within the process cycle.

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