Coal is a heavy, strong fossil fuel rock which can be burned. It includes primarily carbon, hydrogen, Sulphur, oxygen and nitrogen. It is a sedimentary rock formed from peat, by the pressure of rocks laid down later on top. The remains of plants that lived in tropical wetlands thousands of years ago, such as the late Carboniferous period, constitute peat, and therefore charcoal. Wood, which can also be rendered like coal, heated in an airless room.
For energy or heat, the coal may be burned. Around two-thirds of today’s coal is being mined for electricity in power stations. Like oil, coal is burned and oxygen adds carbon in the air and produces a large amount of carbon dioxide, leading to climate change. This and other coal pollution leads most countries to new energy sources, such as solar electricity. But in some parts of the world, such as China, new coal power stations are still being built.
There are different types of coal like peat, lignite, sub-bituminous, bituminous, steam and anthracite. Among which the anthracite is the purest and the least pure coal.
Coal is the second most rapidly mined in the world, produced 716 million metric tonnes (789 million short tonnes) in 2018 in India from its 1774 mining activities. India’s coal stood at 315.14 billion tonnes in 2017 (347.38 billion short tonnes). The total estimated lignite coal reserves in the month was 44,70 billion metric tonnes. India imports coking coal to meet its steel plants’ requirements because of high demand and low average quality. The import of Indian coal increased from 49.8 million tonnes in 2007–08 to 191 million metric tonnes in 2016–2017 (0.211 billion short tonnes). India’s coal exports in 2012-13 rose from 1.63 million tonnes (1,80 million tonnes short) in 2007-08 to 2.44 million tonnes, but then declined to 1,77 million metric tonnes (1.95 million short tonnes) in 2016-17. Indian coal exports increased from 1.63 million tonnes in 2012-17. The largest coal manufacturing town is Dhanbad City. Before its nationalisation in 1973 and 2018, the state-owned Coal India had monopolised coal mining.
India has the world’s fifth-largest coal warehouse. India had 319,04 billion metric tonnes of capital as of March 31 , 2018. The identified reserves of coal increased 1.23% compared with the previous year, with an estimated 3.88 billion tonnes. At 31 March 2018 , the total estimated reserves of lignite coal stood at 45.66 billion metric tonnes, down 0.96% from last year’s.
In Eastern and Central India, coal deposits are mainly found. The total identified coal reserves in India accounted for 98.26% of the Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra. Jharkhand and Odisha had 26.06%, and 24.86% as at 31 March 2018, the largest coal deposits.
The energy derived from coal in India is about twice that of the energy derived from oil, whereas worldwide, energy derived from coal is about 30% less than energy derived from oil.
If burned, coal emits about a 3rd per unit of energy more carbon dioxide than oil and 80% more than natural gas. Furthermore, almost half the carbon dioxide emitted in humans is due to the burning of coal, which is the primary source of global warming. Burning coal releases harmful chemicals that tend to cause diseases such as cancer and asthma in humans and wild animals, including soot, mercury and carbon monoxide. Coal mining can harm large areas of the earth and destroy natural ecosystems, particularly mountaintop removal mining. More cleanly than lower grades, higher grades of coal burn, while they pollute more than other fuels. Apart from air pollution, burning coal creates toxic carbon ash that, if unintentionally released in the atmosphere, may cause water contamination.