Coal-burning power plant boiler using custom pressure vessel components

What Are Coal-Fired Power Plants?

Coal-fired power plants burn coal to produce electricity. Despite the environmental hazards presented by coal mining and burning, coal-fired power plants supply over 40% of the world’s electricity. Coal-fired power plants are used far more often in developing countries such as China and India who use coal to supply up to 75% of their electricity needs. However, coal is still an important part of the energy infrastructure in the United States as well.

Coal-burning power plant boiler using custom pressure vessel components

How a Coal Burning Power Plant Works

A coal-fired power plant converts the stored chemical energy in the coal to thermal energy by burning it. That thermal energy produces steam which spins turbines (turning it into kinetic energy) for giant generators. These generators produce the electricity we use.

Coal to Electricity Process

The first step is unloading the coal from the train. The average coal-fired power plant uses about 10,000 tons of coal per day. This is equivalent to a train of 130 to 140 cars–about 1.25 miles long–carrying about 100 tons of coal in each car. Because of this, you can see why many coal-burning power plants tend to be very close to the coal mines that provide the coal for the plant. With this much coal flowing through each day, the coal needs to be unloaded quickly. Many newer coal-burning power plants use underground coal collection areas that allow the trains to open the bottom of the car to dump the coal without even stopping the train.

The coal is transported into storage silos where it is stored until needed or sent directly to giant pulverizers that grind the coal into dust for burning. Pulverizing the dust ensures that little coal is wasted and minimizes the pollutants the process creates. This dust is burned to boil water to produce steam.

This water/steam is contained in a high-pressure piping network using reinforced pressure vessels and forged components such as tees, laterals, and wyes to contain the pressure. This high-pressure steam spins the turbines very fast for the giant generators that produce the electricity. As the steam cools, it condenses back into water which flows back into a boiler to start the process all over again.

Forged Components Supplies Pressure Vessels for Coal-Fired Power Plants

Forged Components manufactures custom forgings for use across the spectrum of the energy production process. From oil exploration and production to electricity production in coal-fired power plants, FCI manufactures a wide variety of heavy wall forged products for the application in coal-fired power plants and gas power plants. Our products include, but not limited to forged tees, laterals, wyes, hemi heads, venturis, etc. We complete all manufacturing processes in-house so that we have maximum flexibility and efficiency when filling your order. For more information, call us at (281) 441-4088 or contact us online to get a quote from our sales staff.