Coal-fired power station

Type of thermal power station / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A coal-fired power station or coal power plant is a thermal power station which burns coal to generate electricity. Worldwide there are over 2,400 coal-fired power stations, totaling over 2,000 gigawatts capacity.[1] They generate about a third of the world's electricity,[2] but cause many illnesses and the most early deaths,[3] mainly from air pollution.[4][5]

Bełchatów Power Station in Bełchatów, Poland
Frimmersdorf Power Station in Grevenbroich, Germany
Coal-fired power station diagram
Share of electricity production from coal

A coal-fired power station is a type of fossil fuel power station. The coal is usually pulverized and then burned in a pulverized coal-fired boiler. The furnace heat converts boiler water to steam, which is then used to spin turbines that turn generators. Thus chemical energy stored in coal is converted successively into thermal energy, mechanical energy and, finally, electrical energy.

Coal-fired power stations emit over 10 Gt of carbon dioxide each year,[6] about one fifth of world greenhouse gas emissions, so are the single largest cause of climate change.[7] More than half of all the coal-fired electricity in the world is generated in China.[8] In 2020 the total number of plants started falling[9][10] as they are being retired in Europe[11] and America[12] although still being built in Asia, almost all in China.[13] Some remain profitable because costs to other people due to the health and environmental impact of the coal industry are not priced into the cost of generation,[14][15] but there is the risk newer plants may become stranded assets.[16] The UN Secretary General has said that OECD countries should stop generating electricity from coal by 2030, and the rest of the world by 2040.[17] Vietnam is among the few coal-depedent fast developing countries that fully pledged to phase out unbated coal power by the 2040s or as soon as possible thereafter.[18]