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Steam coal

Steam coal, aka thermal coal, is used as fuel to create electricity. Power plants burn coal to create steam, which turns turbines to create electricity.

Co-generation is a related concept when the steam is generated at high pressure and work it done reducing pressure and generating electricity using low pressure steam for other purposes such as for heating. Some utilities have steam distrbution systems that provide steam to urban buildings. Campus style office sites often have a central power plant that generates steam for the entire site. They may generate electricity too to improve energy efficiency. In the ultimate application companies have been known to use waste heat to raise hydroponics vegetables or to heat greenhouses for flowers or vegetables.

Expanded Definition

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, nearly half of U.S. electricity comes from coal, and 94% of the coal used in the United States is used for generating electricity.

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