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« ASES: Aggressive Plan Could Control GHG Emissions | Main | Scottish Wave Farm Receives Funding »

February 21, 2007


Greg Woulf

That was a very good article.

The comment that sticks with me is that it must be easier to de-co2 before burning. That's just got to be right, it gives you both opportunities.

Ronald Brak

Now correct me if I'm wrong here, but pulverized coal has a maximum possible efficentcy of about 45% while IGCC has an efficency of up to 60%. This means that IGCC should produce about one quater less CO2 regardless of whether or not CO2 is captured for sequestion, so IGCC seems superior.

Of course other factors such as the cost difference between the two types of coal plants and the type of coal available and would have to be considered, as would the cost of releasing carbon into the atmosphere.

Kit P.

POWER ENGINEERING magazine has a good article on the cost of different generation technologies depending of proposed regulations for ghg. Considering the choices for base load generation, it look like a tie. If ghg is regulated in the future, nuclear has an economic advantage.

John D.

I see nothing in this solution that decreases the amount of mercury and other pollutants that ends up in groundwater sources, streams and rivers. It does not seem to mitigate the harmful effects of mining, processing, and transporting coal.
I would rather see research and development of non-polluting energy generation technologies instead.



david foster

Unless I'm missing something, you can't burn pulverized coal in a gas turbine, so you can't use combined-cycle gas burbine / steam turbine. Thus, you're getting a lot less KWH out of the same tonnage of coal. The tradeoff must be highly dependent on two assumptions:
1)cost of coal
2)cost of capital for the plant equipment

Ken Potter

The artical is excelent. To me the conclusion should be that we need to slow down the new coal plant process and do some engineering on extracting the carbon dioxide. I believe power plants are rushing to get coal plants approved because they suspect the next administration will be less friendly. I would hope someone would do an artical on what is actually needed in the near term.


Neither. If you want to continue to use coal,or tar sands, or heavy crude, the way to go is conversion to natural gas underground using bacteria.

The natural gas can then be used in solid oxide fuel cell/turbines at 75% efficiency. the cO2 sent to algae growing solar collectors that produce biodiesel and cellulose for more fuel for fuel cells.

The US has 100s of years of natural gas reserves in this form. With no coal miningt, IGCC or pulverized coal plants.

And biogas runs in the fuel cells just as well as this natural gas will. Climate change and imported energy problems solved.

Brian Wang

There is more detail from pdfs and sites that I link to from this article.


A more detailed comparison of IGCC and other clean coal tech is at this link (which is from the first article I mention above)

If they make supercritical pulverized coal or IGCC the pollution from the plants will be little less for CO2 and substantially less for most of the other dozen or so pollutants. The costs are in the range of $1500/KWe for the supercritical and IGCC without sequestering. About $2000/KWe with sequestering.

A retrofit to supercritical plants for existing super-dirty plants is $700/KWe. The super-dirty plants got grandfathered from having to clean up to event 1980 style scrubbers and filters. Force those to be cleaned up and get rid of 90% of other pollutants other than CO2.

Nuclear is $1600-2000/KWe depending on make and model. 99% less CO2 and zero particulates, mercury etc...

Janis Mara

Noooooo! While I'm not a purist by any means, this just strikes me as wrong, wrong, wrong. I realize I'm just a layman, and a lot of you are far more sophisticated, but one of the things that really bug me about this is that it's *building* a new coal-fired plant. If you're going to build something, why not invest in an alternative form of energy?

Don Scherer

Why do we keep reading about "unknown issues" and "engineering work yet to be done" regarding IGCC plants? Tampa Electric (TECO Energy) has been operating an IGCC plant for 10 years. They can provide detailed real-world data regarding the performance, operational costs and reliability of such plants. Why do all these academics act as if that plant does not exist? Why isn't that plant's experience published for public consumption? Just tell us what the numbers are, TECO. And then we can all stop arguing about IGCC.

Kit P.

Janis, alternate forms of producing electricity are being invested in and built as fast as as we can possible.

Brian Wang


The simple thing to understand is the overall supply and demand situation. Do not get confused by the units, just the overall numbers.

Look at the tables at this link

The main one to look at is
Table 1. Total Energy Supply and Disposition Summary

You will notice that the consumption of energy line 49 is 102.35 quadrillion BTU

In 2012, the demand has gone up to 108.97.
Other renewables (wind and solar) have to go up 600% to meet the five year growth. This would be without replacing any coal.

If you say OK. no new coal and no new nuclear. then what happens is the black outs and brown outs in California when you do not have enough power to meet demand.

If you say no coal and no nuclear (ie. shut the old plants down) you are short 31 quadrillion BTU. 30 times all of the other renewables.

Line 21 other renewable energy is 1.14 quadrillion BTU.

line 41-43 are the consumption of 87 quadrillion BTU of oil, natural gas and coal (23.25 for coal)

You will notice that the coal line is 20 times bigger than other renewable.

To understand how much power we are talking about.
Hydro is 2.82 (quad BTU) (equals 79,511 MW * the availability) and that includes Hoover (2.1GW) and Grand Coulee (6.8GW) Dam. Those two big dams are one eighth of the total Hydro power.

Coal energy in the USA is 8 times bigger than all of the hydro in the USA.

to replace 1GW of coal power (two 500 MW plants)

You need six hundred 1.65 MW wind turbines that have a blade span of 100meters. The blades are longer than a football field. Sitting out in prairie or anchored out in the ocean.


500,000 houses each with a 2.1 KW home solar panel

California is trying to install 1,000,000 roofs over 10 years. Spending 3.2 billion.


you make one nuclear power plant.


LA DIGNIDAD POLÍTICA CUESTA!..., pues si paga…, deshonra!, y no se es honesto sino Mafia!.

… Los puestos políticos, son más que nada
o deberían ser…, honoríficos!..., dada la dignidad
que significan y plantean, y el ropaje que los cubre.

… Y en estas condiciones
y con sueldos simplemente simbólicos,
estarán ocupadas por gente decente y honesta

…, ya que ningún hombre digno y honesto se vende!,
o compromete su autoridad
permitiendo que le llenen el bolsillo
de billetes (bien por sueldos, negocios o regalías)

…, pues todo sobre sueldo o abultado “cheque”
o alto salario…, es dinero sucio,
como vil es toda pretensión de hacerse rico
…, que más vale una mujer pobre pero honesta
que una “zorra” llena de billetes!

… Pero mientras la política y sus ministerios
sean sueldos millonarios y oportunidades
para hacer negocios…, que deshonran

…, la Política y sus ministerios serán
“Mercado Persa”…, llenos de ratas y rateros,
que solo usan lo político para robar a mansalva.
Alfonso Játiva Gómez


The call to reduce the use of coals is valid for western countries but unfortunately, coal reports show developing economies are more likely to increase their use of coal in coming years because of its affordability and to meet increasing demands for electricity and steel for the coal industry. www.coalportal.com

Dentist Los Angeles

Why argue between the two instead of creating something new?

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