Holland Energy 2050

Positive Aspects


  • In many countries coal is the primary source of a readily available and relatively low cost fuel that can be easily processes and used in homes, industry and for power generation.
  • Coal reserves are a source of fossil fuel that is generally safe from international embargoes.
  • Coal uses production, transportation, and combustion technology that is easily understood and easily implementable.
  • Extended coal use technology can provide a wide range of other hydrocarbon products generally obtained from oil.

Negative Aspects


  • The main consumption of coal involves its combustion. This releases carbon dioxide, SOX and other air pollutants. Air pollution treatments requires. Water used for cooling is released to increase thermal burden on streams.


  • Wastes from coal use include fly ash, bottom ash, fines, water treatment sludge, air treatment sludge, contaminated water. The solid wastes must be disposed of in secure landfill sites. Waste waters must be treated to meet discharge criteria.

Effects of Burning

Carbon Dioxide Emissions:

  • Carbon dioxide makes up for 81.3% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. While coal makes up only 51% of fuel consumption (used for generating electricity), 83% of carbon dioxide emissions (from generating electricity) is due to coal. Transportation figures into this because coal must be transported which takes fuel and increases carbon emissions.

Acid Rain:

  • Two of the waste products released from smokestacks of power plants that burn fossil fuels are sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. When these pollutants get into the atmosphere, they react with the water, oxygen and other compounds to form sulfuric acids and nitric acids. Acid rain causes acidification of bodies of water and can damage trees that are 2000 feet above sea level. At the acidic levels it is reaching now it can also decay building materials and paints, including historical buildings, and monuments. If we continue to pump pollutants into the air, this level may rise.

Methane Emissions and Coal Seams:

  • Methane is another product of coal. It is created before the coal is even burned. Methane is created when organic materials decompose. Decomposed material makes up today's fossil fuels. Some of the methane is trapped inside coal. It's released when the coal seam is disturbed in the mining process. Underground mines make up for 90% of methane emissions from coal. Burning coal has the highest effect on the quality of the air, but methane has a global warming potential 21 times greater than that of coal. Coal seams are also dangerous because they have a risk of starting a fire.

Acid Mine Drainage:

  • When water comes into contact with sulfur bearing minerals, it creates sulfuric acid. The runoff acid can dissolve different kinds of metals including copper, lead, and mercury into ground or surface water. The acid often comes from coal mines where rocks containing Pyrite have been exposed. Pyrite is one of the sulfur bearing minerals that contributes to Acid Mine Drainage. Acid Mine Drainage does not only happen while the mine is being used, but continues as long as there is pyrite exposed.

Strip Mining:

  • Strip mining is a method for mining coal which involves excavating the earth. The method consists of uncovering one reserve, taking out the coal, and moving the nearby sediment over another reserve to the empty pit to both create another open reserve and fill in the previous empty one. The process is then repeated. To do this, they use explosives and large machinery. This obviously has a big effect on the wildlife in the area. Most often the wild life in a mining area must leave.


  • Causes premature death in people with heart and lung disease, accounting for more deaths in the U.S. each year than either drunk driving or homicide (23,600)
  • Triggers thousands of heart attacks each year
  • Worsens respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, triggering over 20,000 asthma attacks per year in Indiana
  • Increases hospital admissions, emergency room visits and clinic visits for respiratory diseases and cardiovascular diseases
  • Causes lung function changes, especially in children and people living with lung diseases such as asthma
  • Causes changes in heart rate variability and irregular heartbeat
  • Is associated with the development of chronic respiratory disease in children.
  • Additionally, researchers have found that infants in areas with high levels of particulate matter pollution face a 26% increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and a 40% increased risk of respiratory death.


  • The continuous use of fossil fuels, such as coal, presents us with several problems.
  • Fossil fuels are nonrenewable. If we continue to burn coal, we will eventually run out of this resource, rendering all of our coal power plants useless. Because of the limited supply of coal, in a matter of years coal prices will skyrocket & obtaining it will be extremely costly.
  • Another issue with coal power is the amount of pollution it causes. Burning coal produces several harmful chemicals including methane gas & CO2, both of which are greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases have been known to damage the ozone layer & contribute to climate change. Acid rain can also be produced as a byproduct of burning coal. Acid rain causes adverse effects on the health of both flora and fauna. Not only does it harm wildlife, but it can also pollute water supplies, rendering them unusable. Ash, sludge, & excess heat created as a result of burning coal also may cause various environmental issues.
  • If we endorse coal power, we are also indirectly endorsing coal mining. Coal mining itself causes various problems. Coal mining results in the destruction of the environment & changes in the landscape. These environmental changes may have harmful consequences on any number of fragile ecosystems. Entire species of animals and plants may be lost to coal mining. If we continue to mine coal, we will end up destroying the environment.