Thermal Coal

Thermal coal, also known as steam coal, is used for power and heat generation. In electricity generation, thermal coal is ground to a powder and fired into a boiler to produce heat, which in turn converts water into steam. The steam powers a turbine coupled to an alternator, which generates electricity for the power grid. The steam cools down as it turns the turbine generator and is condensed back to pure water, and the process repeats. In modern coal plants, the steam is kept at extreme temperatures and pressures at all times to increase the efficiency of the power plant.

To generate heat, steam can either be distributed directly to homes and offices from the heating plant or, as in modern plants; Combined Heat and Power technology is used, which is considered more efficient.

Thermal coal is also used in the cement-making process (calcination).

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