Coal Uses Oil

Uh oh. If Iain is correct, coal burning in the USA is oil burning as well, since the trains run on diesel and the amounts of coal needed per Joule are so vast, that almost half of coal’s cost at the powerplant is actually oil cost. It’s an old post, but I had never come across it.

In Europe it’s a bit different since the trains are electrified (and thus coal powered). Though in Finland, the coal comes from Poland or Germany with a barge. That must be using more energy than the very low rolling resistance of railroads. On the other hand, the Finnish coal plants are in cities, providing not only electricity but heat as well, which makes the total efficiency quite good in some ways.

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