Aug 172010

Are you aware that most of the planet’s electric power originates from the burning of coal? And that this is one of the primary sources of the gases in the atmosphere that are causing climate change (aka greenhouse gases).

It is difficult to imagine that every time you switch on a washing machine that you will be in part to blame for the release of contaminants into the atmosphere, but the truth is that is exactly what is going on.

Estimates differ, but it’s known that in the USA about half of the electricity produced comes from burning coal. In China, the world’s biggest state, coal comprises more than three quarters of the country’s power consumption.

Coal is burned to generate heat, and then the heat is employed to turn water into steam. This steam is pressurised and then pushed over turbines, which causes the turbines spin. It is this rotating of the turbines which creates the electrical energy.

While there are alternate sources of heat to create steam (e.g. nuclear energy, geothermal power, and natural gas amongst others) coal is by a long shot the most frequent energy resource used.

The burning of coal emits many green house gases along with various other polluting materials into the atmosphere. Some of the air-borne pollutants emitted are:

– Carbon dioxide – the biggest cause of climate change,

– Sulfur Dioxide – which creates acid rain,

– NO (Nitrogen Oxide) – a major cause of smog

– Carbon Monoxide (CO) – a poison which is very dangerous

– particulates (small airborne particles)

– dangerous metals for example mercury

– lead and cadmium

Power companies, just like any other business, react to demand from customers. If there is demand from customers for electric power then somebody stands to make big money out of supplying it! And since burning coal is one of the most convenient and cheap techniques to produce the electricity, then it will, of course, remain in use.

So, in a very real sense, every single occasion you turn on a washing machine or light switch, somewhere there will certainly be coal being burnt to generate that electric power.

At this time there are various alternative sources of electric power that are starting to make their presence felt in today’s world. Wind energy, solar energy and now even wave energy are being harnessed and transformed into electricity. In the sophisticated technological era we live in almost any form of energy can be transformed into electrical power.

And with developments in technological know-how it means that harnessing this renewable source of power for your own personal use is getting to be much more feasible. Actually many folk are looking to get off-grid, produce their very own electric power and consequently reduce the need for electrical power produced through burning coal.

The author, Simon Lamberton is a wind power enthusiast. To discover more about just how producing your own electricity can be possible, take a look at this write-up regarding how simple it is to assemble your very own home windmills and begin to harness that no cost green and limitless energy source for yourself.

Learn more about how to use residential wind turbines to generate power

Author: Simon Lamberton
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