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Coal – An Environmentally Sound Fuel

As energy demand grows, clean coal will be an important part of the nations’ clean, abundant and affordable resources. Clean Coal Technologies have resulted in more than 20 new, lower- cost, more efficient and environmentally compatible technologies for electric utilities, steel mills, cement plants and other industries. Coal will remain the largest single source of electricity— accounting for more than half of the nation’s power generation in 2025. Clean coal technologies will help meet these needs, plus continue the decline in sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions already underway.

Clean Coal Technology

The original Clean Coal Technology Program, which began in 1986, focused on commercializing processes that helped reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions and demonstrating more efficient and environmentally friendly. New programs in clean coal technology are essential for finding solutions for reducing trace emissions of mercury; reducing or eliminating carbon dioxide emissions; and increasing fuel efficiencies. Over the longer term, research in clean coal technology will be directed toward developing coal-based hydrogen fuels. If coupled with sequestration, this will allow greater use of coal with zero emissions. The United States Department of Energy has announced a Presidential initiative to build "FutureGen," a $1 billion project that will lead to the world's first emission-free plant to produce electricity and hydrogen from coal while capturing greenhouse gases.

Coal Washing Facility

In order to reduce ash sulfur emissions and increase the heating value of coal making it more economical for transportation, coal is sent through coal washing facilities to separate coal from soil and rock. This higher heating value increases the market value of the coal per ton while making it more attractive for power generators. Clean coal reduces the burden of retrofitting post combustions control equipment, thus increasing the life of power generating assets.

For more information, go to the American Coal Council (ACC) website.