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Hidden Gems are Few

Finding a hidden gem must be the most fantastic experience. These gems can be in the form of people, items or ideas. This was demonstrated by this year’s entries for innovation in power, electricity and water as part of the Power & Electricity World Africa 2017 Exhibition.

The innovation finalists offered far reaching and widely differing solutions. The hidden gem was the shy boy who found a way not to waste electricity whilst cell phones are not being charged.  Most people simply plug a charger in and leave it plugged in whether the instrument is attached or not. The hidden gem here was something no one would think of saving … the electricity wasted when the instrument is removed and the charger not unplugged. During this time electricity continues to flow through and be wasted into the ether.

The next hidden gem I found was in the form of an unhardened diamond known as coal. With all the hype on nuclear we had forgotten that coal was still necessary.
It is still crucial to the economy of Botswana where a supply for at least 30 years has been measured.
It is still necessary at Kelvin for the creation of electricity.
It is still necessary for the production of steel and cement.
70% of coal is used by China, India, USA, Japan and Russia,
But this hidden gem is running out

How Its Made Coal - How It's Made (Youtube)

An important video to watch which shows Africa’s problem.  

The End of Coal? - Four Corners video (right click)


One coal plant can generate enough electricity for one million five hundred thousand homes and business’s using approximately 900 tons of coal per hour. Just like nuclear. coal creates thermal energy which is created by introducing particles to water where the energy source ignites releasing energy to radiate intense heat, which is then conveyed to a turbine and transformed into mechanical energy and thus consumed by a generator to create an electrical charge.


How do you make electricity from coal - animated video - Edpvideoedpvideo 


 Clean Coal is


  • Asthma
  • Nervous system development
  • Contaminates nature
  • Acid Rain
  • Carbon pollution

Also crucial are all the by-products of coal which we take for granted in everyday such as 


Used in concrete – fly ash, slag or desulphurized gypsum, Fluidised bed combustion ash, chemosphere’s, scrubbers and residues (also used in items such as fillers and plaster cement)


Bio-plastic products, algae farming feedstock for bio-fuels, extending oil


Creosote oil, naphthalene, phenol, benzene.

Ammonia gas

Ammonia salts, nitric acid, agricultural fertilisers.

liquid fuel

Household products

aspirins, soap, dyes, solvents, plastics,


rayon or nylon

Activated carbon

air and water purification. Kidney dialysis machines rely on carbon from coal.

To learn more watch Top 10 unexpected uses of coal
(right click)

One of the problems given for moving away from coal is the problem of storage and the CO2 gases emitted.

As can be seen in this video is the fact that world still has a lot of coal but markets are closing for its resale as people turn to more clean forms of energy. The supply is becoming more difficult to mine and a question remains over the cost of clean coal. Added to this is the problems experienced in its storage where coal can suddenly combust, become contaminated by rain or useless through storage.


Though carbon capture and storage can render coal to be 90% clean of CO2 can it be turned into viable products for electricity generation and other uses at a reasonable cost?

 When looking at the storage of the CO2 it is comparable with the creation and storage of nuclear energy thus removing the competition between the two elements for electrical production. The correct storage of the CO2 which results in cleaner air and better products can be seen here. https://www.worldcoal.org/reducing-co2-emissions/carbon-capture-use-storage

The fear of the end of coal is the loss of more jobs. Watch The Collapse of Coal in order to find out how bad this situation can become.

Rostham have offered to take on youth and train them in nuclear. This is not enough work creation. The entire industry has to be retrained and deployed in new jobs. The impact of these job losses on the countries with already high unemployment can bring the country into a recession such as the 1900’s.

In conclusion people need to start training in two jobs in order to stay viable in industry so should the coal run out they can easily move over to other forms of energy.

Story by Heather Malcomess

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