“The four producing members who started this effort have all shifted their operations away from the production of thermal coal, which is used to generate electricity, and more toward metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel….”
The utility of coal goes beyond generating electricity. The high temperatures need for producing steel, in particular, come from blast furnaces fueled by coked coal. Coking coal, or super coal, comes from a process where regular coal subject to high temperatures in a declining atmosphere becomes a plastic before resolidifying.
Enter a new trade association, the The Metallurgical Coal Producers Association (formerly the Virginia Coal & Energy Alliance), self-described as
a non-profit organization made up of metallurgical coal producers and those who support our producing members’ operations. Our emphasis is on metallurgical coal, the issues related to it, and the opportunities metallurgical coal brings to our region. Further, our region is our collective strength. The association actively advocates and promotes the metallurgical coal industry in the eastern U.S., specifically Central Appalachia.”
Metallurgical Coal is an essential energy input, MCPA explains:
While coal has traditionally been understood through the thermal coal lens of power plants and light bulbs, we seek to expand the general public’s understanding of metallurgical (met) coal and its critical benefit to our everyday lives.
Bridges, automobiles, and common products like kitchen appliances are made possible by metallurgical coal. By looking at coal through another lens and helping to create a link between metallurgical coal and its many end uses, we hope to broaden the understanding of how coal powers our lives. That is the reason for the new association – to usher in a new perspective of our future.
Expect to learn more about this variant of the master resource, coking coal. With steel production booming in the U.S. and abroad, metallurgical coal has a glowing red future.