What is Clean Coal Technology?
The term "Clean Coal Technology" (CCT) describes a new generation of processes for the production of electricity and fuels from coal. CCTs are being developed to increase energy efficiency, reduce the environmental effects of coal use, and increase the ways in which coal can be converted into useful forms of energy.&nsbp; CCTs reduce air emissions, waste products and other pollutants compared to older coal-based systems, and increase the amount of energy gained from each ton of coal used.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the U.S. Department of Energy conducted a joint program with industry and State agencies to demonstrate the best of these new technologies at scales large enough for companies to make commercial decisions to utilize them. More than 20 of the technologies tested in the original program achieved commercial success.
The early program was focused on the environmental challenges of that time, which centered on concerns over the impact of acid rain on forests and watersheds. In the 21st century, additional environmental concerns have emerged, including the potential health impacts of trace emissions of mercury, the effects of particulate matter on people with respiratory problems, and the potential global climate-altering impact of greenhouse gases.
To address these emerging challenges, current CCT development focuses on eliminating emissions of pollutants including particulates and mercury; improving technologies to increase efficiency and thereby reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions; and reducing carbon dioxide emissions through carbon capture and storage.
Other technologies such as coal liquefaction and gasification are being pursued to produce low cost, secure alternatives to oil and natural gas for use in electricity generation and transportation.
Coal will remain one of the world’s lowest-cost fuels for electric power generation for the foreseeable future. CCTs will play a key role in continuing to improve coal’s economic and environmental acceptability.
The following is a set of informational tools that will help you better understand coal’s role in the generation of electricity and how the technologies under development work. If you have any questions about the information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Achieving Reductions in U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions