How a Coal Power Plant Works
Coal is dirty; but relatively cheap and, so far, plentiful. Coal power is here to stay – at least for the foreseeable future.
Why It Matters
- Coal supplies half of the world’s electricity. Coal supplies most of the electricity in China and its use there is growing. It is also used as a source of heat in many Chinese cities.
- Coal power plants convert the energy stored in coal into usable electricity.
- A coal power plant must be near a water source. River water runs into a coal plant and exits out the plant in a open loop.
- Liquid water goes to steam and then back again in a closed-loop.
Show What You Know
With the links below, learn more about coal power plants. Then answer the following questions.
- Mekanizmalar, Coal Power Plant (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxHQHcpCWa8
- Duke Energy, How Do Coal-Fired Plants Work? (video): www.duke-energy.com/about-energy/generating-electricity/coal-fired-how.asp
- Why is the coal powdered before it is mixed with air and burned? Be sure you say the same thing in normal English words.
- Describe the process by which the chemical energy in coal is converted into the mechanical energy in steam.
- What is the purpose of converting the energy from the coal into steam?
- How is an open loop cycle different from a closed loop cycle?
- Why does river water get heated by the power plant? What purpose does that serve for the power plant?
- What is the pollutant that goes into the water at the plant?