The Role of Chemistry in History

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History Affects Coal

April 22nd, 2008 · 7 Comments ·

Introduction to Coal | Coal as a Fuel|Coal Affects History| Coal Mining and Effects| Environmental Effects| History Affects Coal|References|

Coal Mining

Concerns over the safety of miners have led to a number of safer mining techniques where the work is done primarily by machine.

  • Longwall mining: A modern method of underground coal mining that implements a shearer with a long face of roughly 1000 feet in length. The coal sheered of the wall of the mine is removed from the mine by conveyor belt. This type of mining poses little risk to the worker.


  • Continuous mining: Another modern technique that uses a machine with a steel rotating drum that scrapes off coal with metal attached to the drum. This method also poses little risk to the miner.


The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977: This piece of U.S. Federal legislation set mandatory provisions for the monitoring of active coal mines and reclamation of abandoned and/or collapsed coal mines in order to mitigate harmful environmental affects. It has been used a model for similar legislation in several other countries.

Clean Coal Technology

Clean coal technology was developed as a means of making coal pants more environmentally friendly and is becoming common practice. Clean coal technology aims to both recover the CO2 released during the coal combustion reaction to reduce the carbon cost and to remove sulfur dioxide from the reaction by cleansing the coal of minerals and impurities. The process is promising but has been criticized by some environmentalists who claim: “There is no such thing as clean coal.”


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Tags: Coal