The Times West Virginian

April 21, 2013

Coal remains major fuel for power generation

By Jonathan Williams
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Perhaps the most visible source of electricity is the lightning strike.

Wild, unpredictable and untamed, Benjamin Franklin is often credited with discovering that lightning is a form of static electricity.

There is, however, no way to build a generator powered by lightning. We needed coal for that.

One of the oldest fuels for power generation, coal still accounts for almost half of the power generated in the United States, and despite tightening environmental standards, likely will for a long time to come.

But how are black lumps of compressed carbon transformed into an invisible commodity making modern life possible?

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