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This report looks at the development of the coal market and projections for use and consumption of the fuel. Coal is the most abundant fossil fuel on the planet and it has stored the energy of the sun beneath the ground for millions of years. The figures clearly indicate that coal is more important than ever. Its characteristics, low cost and abundant supply have yet to be bettered by any other energy source. Since the last decade, coal has become the most important fuel of the economic development of Asia in general and China in particular, a country that has now become the largest producer and consumer of coal in the world. With this outlook in mind, Colombia, which has the biggest coal reserves and is the largest producer in South America, is making significant investments in order to channel additional production of the mineral toward the growing Asian and Chinese markets.
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Coal for electricity generation
Coal is currently used throughout the world as a practical and low-cost way of generating electricity. Many countries around the world actually use more coal than any other fuel to generate electricity, including South Africa, China, Australia, the US, Germany, and India, while in other countries consumption is still very significant.
Coal consumption stood at 7.24 billion tonnes in 2010. Of that total, China accounted for 46%, followed by the US with 13%, and India with 9%. Since 2000, consumption has risen by an average of 4.9% per year, compared with hikes of 1.1% in oil and 2.8% in natural gas.
Carbon capture and sequestration technology, known as CCS or CAC, is currently under development to significantly reduce the CO2 emissions of thermoelectric plants. Although development and implementation of this technology has a long way to go, it could make the use of coal even more popular.
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