Written by Right Side News
Energy needs are ever growing and coal is cheap and abundant. Coal is divided into two basic categories: metallurgical or coking (used in the steel industry) and thermal or steam (used electrical generation and heating).
Thermal coal is normally used for the generation of heat for steam raising and other general industry applications.
These coals generally do not exhibit any coking properties and therefore would not make coke in a conventional coke oven. However, thermal coals can be used as PCI coals provided they have levels of ash, moisture, volatile matter and sulphur which make them suitable for the production of blast furnace pig iron.
Metallurgical is the highest grade in terms of heating value, and sells for the highest price. It is not a high-volume product; according to EIA, the U.S. consumes about 15 million tons per year, and exports 30 to 40 million tons.
The demand for thermal coal’s 30% gain this year may outpace , according to news sources: “Thermal coal may outpace oil and gas this year, rising more than 30 percent to a record, as demand from China and India accelerates and Japan boosts imports to make up for nuclear power lost after the March earthquake”.
Demand will remain strong, as shortages occur despite the lethargic global economy. News sources reports today
“30 thermal power plants including NTPC and Reliance Power have coal stock for just four days” and “….NEW DELHI:
Coal stocks at India's thermal power plants are critically low on the eve of Diwali, and will not improve unless coal supplies are stepped up significantly, a senior power ministry official said. However, coal-sector authorities said dispatches to power plants had increased.”