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Strategic research on clean coal technologies

World Coal,

The World Coal Association (WCA) has announced a new partnership with the Brazilian Coal Association (BCA), where the two bodies will collaborate in advancing technical, environmental, and strategic research on clean coal technologies.

In a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in Brazil by WCA CEO, Milton Catelin and BCA president, Fernando Zancan, the WCA and BCA agreed to take part in cooperative activities across a range of technologies.

Catelin said, “As the coal industry works to improve access to modern technology, it is critical to develop and utilize technologies to reduce the environmental impacts associated with energy consumption. Research has shown that if we had used advanced coal technologies between 2000 and 2011 for new coal-fired generating capacity, cumulative emissions of CO2 over that period would have been reduced by almost 2 Gt. This is three times the expected effect of the Kyoto Protocol. Technology is clearly critical to meeting the environmental challenges we face today.”

Cooperative activities

While the MOU highlights the importance of clean coal technologies, it also represents an opportunity for both the WCA and BCA to deliver pragmatic solutions that address environmental challenges.

Cooperative activitied covered by the MOU include:

  • The development of clean coal technologies studies.
  • Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).
  • Coal-to-liquids technologies.
  • Technologies to tackle acid mine drainage.
  • Tackling waste from coal production and use, such as the utilization of coal combustion products.

Advances in clean coal technologies

Clean coal technologies have benefited from increased investment in recent years, and new advances and developments are taking place across the global coal industry.

In Alabama, a CCS pilot plant recently completed 1600 hours of operation using bio-catalytic technology. Sampling at the plant confirmed the technology can work for extended periods while producing CO2 of a high purity.

Dr Qian Zhu, of the IEA Clean Coal Centre recently wrote that advances in Circulating fluidised bed combustion (CFBC), as an alternative to pulverised coal combustion (PCC) for power generation, offer several benefits to reduction of carbon from coal used in power generation. CFBC boilers are extremely flexible, allowing a wide range of fuel qualities and sizes to be burned.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Adelaide, Australia, announced the development of a new nanomaterial that could reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The announcement followed what was understood to be a world first, whereby clean coal technology company, Algae.Tec signed a deal with Australia’s Macquarie Generation to site an algae carbon capture and biofuels production facility alongside a 2640 MW coal-fired power plant near Sydney. The Algae. Tec facility will reportedly cost AU$ 150 million.

The algae will feed on waste carbon dioxide emitted by the power station, then convert this into oxygen and oil through photosynthesis. The resulting algal oil will be converted to biodiesel, which will be used in vehicles.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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