Friday, April 23, 2010

Coal Display - Louisville Science Center

My interest in coal is two fold: first it is the main source of fuel that drive the generators that provide electricity and second I find coal sometimes while looking for fossils in coral localities around Louisville.  Elaborating on the second point, the area I search for coral fossils contains dumpings from an old garbage dump pre-1920s.  The dump contained remains from residents coal burners and bins thus small pieces of coal were thrown away.  The picture above is of one of the pieces of coal I found.

Coal is an important part of energy generation in the United States.  It can be costly in terms of human lives as seen recently when 29 miners died in a explosion at the Upper Big Branch, West Virginia mine.  May they rest in peace. That mine produced coal for steel mills.  The environment can also suffer from improper mining techniques and unfiltered burning.  Work is being done to rectify these issues.

It is a trade-off with electricity being a necessity in today's society.  Hydrocarbon energy generation is one of the primary factors that drives the world economy.  Coal is an important resource to Kentucky.  The material is fossil remnants from the Pennsylvanian Period.

Below are images of four types of coal: lignite (brown coal), sub-bituminous, bituminous (mined in Kentucky), and anthracite.  These images were produced from pictures I took of a public display at the Louisville Science Center on coal.  Click the images to see larger versions.

According to the 2008 Louisville Science Center report, contributors to the World Around Us: Coal Exhibit Kiosk were International Coal Group, Kentucky Coal Association, Kentucky Department of Energy Development and Independence ($50,000 grant), Peabody Energy ($2,500 grant), and Teco Coal.

Learn more about Kentucky Coal at the education website.

The other images are from a Adobe Flash movie I created illustrating coal formation and its uses in society.  I would link to the movie but I lost access to a server that could host swf files.  Maybe be one day I remedy this situation.