coal mining - Wind Systems Engineering MIE 573 Problem...

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Wind Systems Engineering MIE 573 Problem set #1 Ershad Ahmed ( Mech Grad Student ) To find any solution, it is imperative that we understand the problem in the first place. The ongoing battle between renewable sources of energy and non- renewable sources of energy has been treated in many articles and journals throughout the scientific and environmental communities. One such example of renewable versus non-renewable source of energy – wind turbines versus coal mining - will be focused upon in this paper. To take a stand between the two of them, many aspects have to be considered, weighed and measured before one of the two is found wanting. The issue at hand is whether the Mountain Top Removal coal mining that has started on the Coal River mountain in West Virginia should be stopped and replaced by a wind farm so that the mountain and the surrounding topography is not affected by the mining. Let us weigh the pros and cons of each situation. Starting with the older electric energy supplier of the two - Coal is a black or brownish-black sedimentary rock that is readily combustible. It is primary composition is carbon along with varying quantities of other hydrocarbons and elements, namely sulfur, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. It is an abundant, non- renewable fossil fuel that has long been the cheapest and readily available source of energy throughout many parts of the world. It is the most abundant source of energy in the United States. There has been a lot of debate and discussion over the years about the prolonged use of coal as it one of the largest electricity generator worldwide and also the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions, the primary cause of many environmental imbalance issues. Coal also affects many lives in an adverse way causing many health issues to anybody working in the coal producing mines or directly in contact with it. At the time it was discovered, coal was so abundant that it could be accessed with little to no damage to the environment, but as its usefulness became apparent and our dependence on it grew, the lengths to which our society was willing to go to obtain this precious ore became extreme. There are various methods of coal mining. The first type of mining that was developed was underground mining. Although this type of mining is the least injurious to the environment, it is also the most dangerous and detrimental to miners. The other type of mining is called surface mining. This mining can be done
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in many ways, but the most injurious environmentally are Mountain Top Removal (MTR) and Strip Mining. Mountain Top Removal is pretty much the same thing as it sounds - removing the mountain tops with the help of explosives and eroding up to 500 to 800 feet (240 m) of mountaintop in the process. Strip mining uses contours to avoid erosion and water pollution, making it a little less harmful to the surrounding areas, however the landscape of the mined land is severely altered. Coal, as a source of energy, is by far the cheapest method of electric power
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coal mining - Wind Systems Engineering MIE 573 Problem...

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