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Steam coal for power generation

  Steam coal is a coal grade between bituminous coal and anthracite coal, and was once widely used as a fuel for steam locomotives. Smallsteam coalnuggets were also used as a fuel for domestic water heating and is now commonly used by utility companies to generate electricity.

  Steam coal is primarily used as a solid fuel to produce electricity and heat through combustion. China is the world's largest coal producer and over two-thirds of China's electricity comes from steam coal. When steam coal is used for electricity generation, it is usually pulverized and then burned in a furnace below a boiler. The heat from the furnace boils the water to convert to steam which turns the turbines to generate electricity. The thermodynamic efficiency of boiling water to turn the turbines has improved over time. Older coal power plants are significantly less efficient than modern coal power plants and produce higher levels of waste heat, i.e. heat that does not directly effect the boiling of water. Modern steam turbines with advanced thermodynamic features have reached about 35% thermodynamic efficiency for the entire process.