Originally published August, 2012
The largest fraction of the world’s electricity is generated by burning coal. Coal is plentiful, has a high energy value, is easily transportable and storable, and provides dispatchable energy. Coal also produces many pollutants harmful to the environment and human health when burned, requires huge quantities of water to process, and is the largest source of anthropogenic CO2 emissions on the planet.
It is this last fact that is driving interest in what are called “clean coal technologies.” It is widely acknowledged by observers both pro- and anti-coal that without addressing CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants, any significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions overall is not possible.
“Clean coal technologies” can encompass different technologies depending on how the term is defined. In this report, clean coal technologies are defined as those technologies applied to coal-fired electricity generating systems which reduce the environmental externalities associated with that generation. That is, clean coal technology is any technology which reduces emissions of harmful pollutants or reduces required inputs (i.e. improves efficiency of the system).
The goal of this report is to provide readers with analysis of the market for clean coal technologies worldwide.
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