Thermal Energy

Coal Based Power Plants

When coal is used for electricity generation, it is usually pulverised and then burned in a furnace with a boiler. The furnace heat converts boiler water to steam, which is then used to spin turbines which turn generators and create electricity.

The thermodynamic efficiency of this process has been improved over time. ‘Standard’ steam turbines have topped out with some of the most advanced reaching about 35% thermodynamic efficiency for the entire process, which means 65% of the coal energy is waste heat released into the surrounding environment. Old coal power plants, especially ‘grandfathered’ plants, are significantly less efficient and produce higher levels of waste heat.

About 40% of the world's electricity comes from coal.

Advantages of Coal Based Thermal Power Plant
  • They can respond to rapidly changing loads without difficulty
  • A portion of the steam generated can be used as a process steam in different industries
  • Steam engines and turbines can work under 25 % of overload continuously
  • Fuel used is cheaper
  • Cheaper in production cost in comparison with that of diesel power stations