Power Generation from Coal: Ongoing Developments and Outlook
Coal is an important source of energy for the world, particularly for power generation. To meet the growth in demand for energy over the past decade, the contribution from coal has exceeded that of any other energy source. Additionally, coal has contributed almost half of total growth in electricity over the past decade. As a result, CO2 emissions from coal-fired power generation have increased markedly and continue to rise. More than 70% of CO2 emissions that arise from power generation are attributed to coal. To play its role in a sustainable energy future, its environmental footprint must be reduced; using coal more efficiently is an important first step. Beyond efficiency improvement, carbon capture and storage (CCS) must be deployed to make deep cuts in CO2 emissions. This report focuses mainly on developments to improve the performance of coal-based power generation technologies, which should be a priority – particularly if carbon capture and storage takes longer to become established than currently projected. A close look is taken of the major ongoing developments in process technology, plant equipment, instrumentation and control. The need for energy and the economics of producing and supplying it to the end-user are central considerations in power plant construction and operation. Economic and regulatory conditions must be made consistent with the ambition to achieve higher efficiencies and lower emissions. In essence, clean coal technologies must be more widely deployed.
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