Last Update: July 25, 2015
Coal is an ubiquitously used resource in our modern society. It drives power plants around the world, and the use of coal had a large influence on the development of modern society. Coal gave our ancestors the ability to build machines to do the heavy lifting and other big jobs that enabled the industrial revolution. They did not need to hire animals or people to laboriously do everything, they could burn coal in the machines designed to do various tasks.
Coal is still used in our society and is said to be a large component of the greenhouse gasses that threaten the global environment.
Coal is a fossil fuel formed in ecosystems where plant remains were preserved by water and mud from oxidization and biodegradation, and which its chemical and physical properties have been changed as a result of geological action over time, thus sequestering atmospheric carbon. Coal is a readily combustible black or brownish-black rock. It is composed primarily of carbon and hydrogen along with small quantities of other elements, notably sulfur. It is a nonrenewable resource.
Coal is the largest source of fuel for the generation of electricity worldwide, as well as the largest worldwide source of carbon dioxide emissions.
This section will take a look at the role and uses of coal, its benefits, its downsides.