You’re probably using a monitor to read this information. So, have you thought about what powers up your electronic devices?
Without this, we might not have been able to charge any of our devices. You’ll say that the answer is electricity and you’re not wrong. However, it goes beyond merely electrical sockets and what’s visible to the eye. Generating any kind of product requires some raw material. In this case, it happens to be fuel i.e. Coal.
Why is Coal hazardous for the environment?
Although we’re busy enjoying the result so produced, coal is actually quite detrimental to our health. Any production process leaves behind some kind of by-products. Similarly, Coal leaves behind pollutants like Sulphur dioxide, Soot, Nitrogen oxides and mercury, which in turn cause acid rain. It is also responsible for releasing a huge amount of Carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which has eventually led to Global warming.
How can we reduce the destructive powers of Coal?
Since the consumption of Coal releases foul emissions into the atmosphere, responsible for global climate change, we need to come up with some changes. Many countries are developing alternative eco-friendly production methods that set aside coal. Yet, still, the usage of coal is far from coming down. Therefore, we must adopt some measures to diminish the resulting ills.
- Firstly, we need to strip the Coal of Carbon dioxide.
- The next step is called Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)- it involves storing Carbon dioxide elsewhere. After separating it from coal, we need to lock it underground- either under the earth or under the ocean surface.
How to separate the toxic waste from coal?
- The exhaust gas released after the burning of coal can be mixed with a compound known as Monoethanolamine. When exposed to this compound, Carbon dioxide bonds with it chemically in a way that we can capture the extracted result and store it underground.
- Through a different method, we can relieve coal of Carbon dioxide even before its released as a gas into the environment. Steam and oxygen come to coal’s rescue as they turn it into a special compound known as Syngas. This product is a combination of carbon monoxide and hydrogen and some carbon dioxide. Further exposing this to water vapours helps convert the carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide, which can then be easily separated. The remaining Hydrogen is used for electricity generation.
- The third technique requires coal to be brought in contact with pure oxygen instead of burning it in air. The exhaust gas so released has higher concentrations of carbon dioxide, thereby making its isolation easier.
Now, one must ask if we’re well aware of these techniques, why haven’t we actually applied them? The answer is simple. The production cost of all these technologies is inconceivably high. So, in this case, we must switch to regulations or rules that will restrict carbon dioxide emissions to a certain degree.
Ultimately, we can play our own part in all of this by switching off extra lights and electrical appliances, when not in use. Everytime you turn a switch on, coal will play its role in impacting our environment negatively. It may be a necessary evil, but it’s in our hands to limit our use of electricity or to use it smartly.