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Industry research concludes clean coal within reach, can be cleaner than natural gas, says Canadian group


Last updated 11/28/2004 at Noon

The Canadian Clean Power Coalition said Nov. 16 that phase one of its research program indicated electricity from coal can be cleaner than natural gas, but cost remains an issue.

CCPC, a coalition of Canadian coal and coal-fired electricity producers, was trying to determine the viability of clean coal technology for use in Canada. The group, formed in 2000 to research, develop and demonstrate commercially viable clean coal technology by 2012, said technology would be required to reduce or eliminate all air emissions, including greenhouse gas, from a new coal fired power plant.

"The key message here is that clean coal is within reach - we're talking years now, not decades," said Jim Dinning, CCPC chairman. "The challenge is to adapt the technology to be cost competitive while controlling or eliminating all air emissions."

Next phase, Stobbs exec director

In the next phase of its research, CCPC said it will take the preliminary designs from phase one and "attempt to close technological gaps to achieve optimized and cost effective designs."

Those designs will then be developed into detailed business plans for a demonstration plant to be in place by 2012.

CCPC said it has hired Jacobs Engineering of the United Kingdom to complete this work.

The coalition has also retained Robert Stobbs, P. Eng., as executive director.

Stobbs, who has 29 years experience in the power industry, has been the chair of CCPC's technical committee since 2001and an employee of SaskPower since 1979.

Most recently, Stobbs held the position of project leader at SaskPower.

He will be seconded to CCPC for a minimum one-year term.

Coal gasification most appropriate technology

Phase one of CCPC's research focused on evaluating technological options to reduce or eliminate air and carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power generation. It concluded that coal gasification was the most appropriate technology for new power plants.

The coalition also investigated opportunities for disposal of captured carbon dioxide. Research showed that there was large scale capacity in Western Canada for captured carbon dioxide to be used in enhanced oil recovery or to be permanently stored in depleted reservoirs.

Coal is Canada's largest fossil fuel reserve. Approximately 25 per cent of the country's total electricity supply comes from coal.

In Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, the majority of electricity comes from coal.


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