I have written in the past about my hopes for a renewal in the fortunes of the coal industry. it's perhaps not that surprising considering I was raised in a region who's economy was based on coal and steel.
I found an interesting article headed "The future of coal" published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) regarding the use of coal as an energy resource and carbon contsrainment.
They have issued a news release as follows:-
MIT PANEL PROVIDES POLICY BLUEPRINT FOR FUTURE OF USE OF COAL
AS POLICYMAKERS WORK TO REVERSE GLOBAL WARMING
March 14, 2007
Washington, DC – Leading academics from an interdisciplinary Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) panel issued a report today that examines how the world can continue to use coal, an abundant and inexpensive fuel, in a way that mitigates, instead of worsens, the global warming crisis. The study, "The Future of Coal – Options for a Carbon Constrained World," advocates the U.S. assume global leadership on this issue through adoption of significant policy actions.
Led by co-chairs Professor John Deutch, Institute Professor, Department of Chemistry, and Ernest J. Moniz, Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems, the report states that carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is the critical enabling technology to help reduce CO2 emissions significantly while also allowing coal to meet the world's pressing energy needs.
According to Dr. Deutch, "As the world's leading energy user and greenhouse gas emitter, the U.S. must take the lead in showing the world CCS can work. Demonstration of technical, economic, and institutional features of CCS at commercial scale coal combustion and conversion plants will give policymakers and the public confidence that a practical carbon mitigation control option exists, will reduce cost of CCS should carbon emission controls be adopted, and will maintain the low-cost coal option in an environmentally acceptable manner."
Dr. Moniz added, "There are many opportunities for enhancing the performance of coal plants in a carbon-constrained world – higher efficiency generation, perhaps through new materials; novel approaches to gasification, CO2 capture, and oxygen separation; and advanced system concepts, perhaps guided by a new generation of simulation tools. An aggressive R&D effort in the near term will yield significant dividends down the road, and should be undertaken immediately to help meet this urgent scientific challenge."
The report goes on to outline it's key findings, and is well worth reading for anyone interested in the coal industry or it's future in a world where carbon useage and it's impact upon global warming is such a major concern.