How to Cut Coal Power Plants’ Emissions, Costs

by | Aug 4, 2015

coal power plantNew technologies can reduce coal’s emissions and improve coal-fired power plants’ efficiency, according to a report by the Coal Utilization Research Council (CURC) and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

The CURC-EPRI Advanced Coal Technology Roadmap focuses on the technologies needed to improve the environmental performance of coal use and provides a detailed pathway to deliver low-carbon coal technology options by 2025-2035.

Major RD&D priorities include improving existing plant performance, as well as developing carbon capture and storage technologies, highly efficient advanced ultrasupercritical coal plants; coal gasification technologies, and transformational technologies that can achieve step changes in efficiency, reduced emissions, and cost.

The organizations says they developed the 2015 Roadmap in response to several new market conditions that required a re-examination of the technology development needs for both new and existing coal plants. These factors include fluctuating changes in the market for coal use in the US; the impact of new regulations to limit emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil-fueled power plants; the availability and growth of low-cost, domestic supplies of natural gas being used in both new and existing power generation; increasing levels of renewable electricity generation; and an electricity power market that is experiencing and projecting low or no load growth over the next decade.

Earlier Roadmaps were jointly prepared by CURC and EPRI in 2003, 2008 and 2012.

The 2015 Roadmap Update is released as the EPA released the final Clean Power Plan, which sets even stricter emissions regulations than the proposal announced last year. The regulation, which aims to cut carbon pollution from power plants, cuts emissions 32 percent by 2030 from levels recorded in 2005. The draft rule proposed a 30 percent reduction.


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