The availability and flexibility of coal make it a major source of power generation. Currently coal accounts for around 40% of total world electricity generation, with EU coal-based electricity accounting for about 30%.
EU funding in 2011
€ 61.20 million
Coal is also an essential ingredient in specialist products like activated carbon, filters for water and air purification, or silicon metal, from which lubricants, shampoo and cosmetics are derived. But coal also has negative environmental impacts, the most important of which is high CO2 emissions.
Steel's strength, attractiveness and sustainability make it one of the most commonly used materials. It benefits the building industry, vehicles, machines, medical devices and household equipment. The European steel industry, which produces around 18% of world steel, is second only to the 35% producing world leader, China. Yet competition from other Asian states is increasing. And although steel is completely recyclable, its production process is very energy intensive, causing significant emission amounts.