Ben Yamagata, Executive Director of the Coal Utilization Research Council and a partner at Van Ness Feldman, discusses the advancement of low-emissions coal technologies in the January 2014 edition of Cornerstone.
In the U.S., our vast, domestically secure supply of coal has fueled the American economic machine for many decades and our fleet of existing coal-fired power plants provides very inexpensive electricity. This means that U.S. industry has a competitive edge over manufacturers in other countries that do not have reliable, abundant, low-cost electricity generated from coal resources, and consumers are able to keep more of their income to spend on other expenses. Further, our coal-based power generation is fully dispatchable—when you need it, it is there. In addition, affordable and reliable electricity generated by coal enables the expansion of electrotechnologies, which are the basis of modern society.
Other sources of electric power have their attributes, but may not be available when you need the electricity if the sun is not shining, if the wind is not blowing, or if the costs of a fuel become volatile and unaffordable compared to consistently stable, low-priced coal resources. Coal conversion to electricity, liquid fuels, or chemicals assists the U.S. and many other countries to meet the ever-rising demand for energy, while clean coal technologies, including higher efficiency generation and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), are pathways toward achieving sustainable energy, economic growth, and climate change policy goals. Similar to what has already beenachieved for reducing criteria emissions (e.g., SO2, NOx, PM10) reducing CO2 emissions, and the associated control costs, will be driven by technology development, demonstration, and deployment.
Read the full article in Cornerstone.