An innovative new process that releases the energy in coal without burning—while capturing carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas—has passed a milestone on the route to possible commercial use, scientists are reporting. Their study in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels describes results of a successful 200-hour test on a sub-pilot scale version of the technology using two inexpensive but highly polluting forms of coal.
Tougher EPA air-quality standards could spur an increased shift away from coal and toward natural gas for electricity generation, according to a new Duke University study. Complying with stricter regulations on sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, and mercury may make nearly two-thirds of the nation's coal-fired power plants as expensive to run as plants powered by natural gas. The regulations would make 65% of U.S. coal plants as expensive as natural gas, even if gas prices rise significantly.
A new form of clean coal technology reached an important milestone recently, with the successful operation of a research-scale combustion system at Ohio State University. The technology is now ready for testing at a larger scale. For 203 continuous hours, the Ohio State combustion unit produced heat from coal while capturing 99% of the carbon dioxide produced in the reaction.
Western U.S. coal companies looking to expand sales to China will likely succeed, according to Stanford University economist Frank Wolak. But, due to energy market dynamics in the United States, those coal exports are likely to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Underground Coal Gasification Program has received a two-year research grant to study water-quality hazard mitigation strategies from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.
More than 90% of the world's rare earth elements are now mined in China, and worldwide demand is anticipated to grow from 136,100 metric tons in 2010 to 185,000 metric tons in 2015. However, at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists believe that taking a long-term view is vital for addressing both the current shortage as well as avoiding future shortages of materials that are crucial to U.S. industry.
A new approach to assessing greenhouse gas emissions from coal, wind, solar, and other energy technologies paints a much more precise picture of cradle-to-grave emissions and should help sharpen decisions on what new energy projects to build.
According to a new study using SWITCH, a highly detailed computer model of the electric power grid, University of California, Berkeley researchers have learned that goals for decarbonization of the electric power sector are most easily achieved using renewable or nuclear energy sources in lieu of coal.
In 2009, when the United States fell into economic recession, greenhouse gas emissions also fell, by 6.59% relative to 2008. In the power sector, however, the recession was not the main cause. Researchers at Harvard University have shown that the primary explanation for the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from power generation that year was that a decrease in the price of natural gas reduced the industry's reliance on coal.
The success of a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI) project has led to a repayment of $580,000 to U.S. taxpayers, with much more—potentially exceeding $13 million—possible in the future.
Scientists have come up with a possible explanation for why the rise in Earth's temperature paused for a bit during the 2000s, one of the hottest decades on record. According to a new study, the culprit was all of the airborne sulfur pollution from China's massive coal-burning. Despite the massive output of sulfur, the effect was temporary.
Solid oxide fuel cells rely on nickel-ceramic anodes that are easily clogged by carbon-containing fuels. Using barium oxide nanoparticles, however, Georgia Tech researchers have developed a self-cleaning technique that could allow solid oxide fuel cells to be powered directly by coal gas at relatively low temperatures without coking.
The Arctic is warming more rapidly than other regions of the world, and scientists believe a mostly invisible thin layer of soot is causing it to absorb more heat. Studies now indicate that cutting the concentration of short-lived pollutants, such as soot, will reduce the rate of warming in the Arctic faster than cuts in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
A Michigan utility spent $65 million last year replacing key parts at the state's largest coal-fired power plant, but when regulators found out the brought DTE Energy to court for not also installing technology that would greatly reduce air pollution. The case highlights the industry-wide tug-of-war between compliance with EPA rules and the cost of new technology.
Legislators and DOE’s researchers alike are hoping FutureGen 2.0 is a smoother ride than the first go-around, which went the way of New Coke. With $1 billion now comitted, the coal-dependent U.S. is now headed rapidly for a massive retrofitting of coal generation. But carbon storage will inevitably mean higher energy prices for all.