Coal

Things To Know:  If Saudi Arabia’s oil was compared to the energy potential of our known coal reserves, their energy potential would be but a fraction compared to ours.  We currently have a conservatively estimated 250-year lifespan of coal reserves.  Coal accounts for about 50% of our electricity supply and constitutes 95% of the known energy reserves of the USA.  Negative issues include the fact that our coal burning efficiency in most cases hovers at a dismal 30% and the emissions are particularly bad.  Technical solutions have been found and continue to be found that circumvent these problems. Combustion of coal is and more than likely will continue to be a mainstay means of generating electricity from coal for this country.  However, a new technology involving gasification has the potential to end this long reign of power.

Coal Gasification:  There are currently only a few facilities in the entire country, and most are geared for only small amounts of electricity production.  The large 500 MW facilities are practically non-existent.  However, with anti-pollution technology, and a chance to reach 50% efficiencies it won’t be long before they are the norm.  More information can be found regarding all aspects of coal starting with a firm that actually manufactures small gasification plants from the following web sites:

www.wakefield-assoc.com, www.re.doe.gov/coal_power/cct/cct_why.shtml,

www.netl.doe.gov/coalpower/gasification/projects/tech-demo/cct/tampa.html,

 All technologies listed are currently cost effective and already in production or in operation.

Please advise the 2020 Institute if you feel we’ve left out any must see statistics or new technologies in this area or if you feel we’ve inadvertently misrepresented anything on this page.