Regarding the question how much coal is required to generate 1MW electricity, There are several parameters to be considered.
The quality of coal.
Since we are converting the energy in coal to electricity, we need to know the energy content of coal. A quick googling tells me that the energy content of coal is given in terms of MegaJoules (Mj) per Kilogram (kg) of coal as the Gross calorific value (GCV) or the Higher Heating value (HHV). This value can vary from 10.50 Mj/kg to 24 Mj/kg depending on the quality and type of the coal.
Energy conversion takes place in two stages.
The first part of the conversion is efficiency of the boiler and combustion. Typically, the efficiency of boilers is between 70 and 80% depending on how well the boiler is maintained and what type of boiler it is.
Second part is the vapour cycle efficiency.
It plays a major role in steam power plants. This is mainly based on the conversion of input heat energy into output power, using turbine. Modern coal fired power plants usually boast efficiency that vary from 30% to 40%.
Therefore, if we assume the conversion efficiency as 70% and the vapour cycle efficiency as 30% - then we have an overall efficiency of the power plant at 21%. And let's assume the heat value of coal used is 20 Mj/kg.
Next we consider the heat input needed to produce the needed electricity. One KW is 3600 kj per hour. Therefore, at 21% efficiency, we need a heat input of about 7,560 kj/hr (3600/21%) - therefore for producing 1 kw/hr electriccity, we need 7,560/20,000 or 0.378 kg of coal.
For a megawatt/hr we would need 0.378 x 1000 = 378 kg of coal - we can round it off to 400 kg.
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