May 02, 2007

DIRTY COAL, clean air?

There are at least a dozen proposals on Capitol Hill for sequestering all the carbon from coal burning, and the Senate Energy Committee began hearings last month on how to refocus research on the problem. It’s a challenge that has captured the attention of engineers across the country who hope to perfect a clean-coal technology that could provide climate-friendly energy for hundreds of years at modest cost.

“Coal has to be in our energy mix, because of its value for society and its importance to the country,” said Mark Gray, vice president for engineering services at American Electric Power, which recently announced three projects to capture carbon. “We have enough coal for anywhere from 200 to 450 years.”

We should also be working on producing liquid fuels from coal economically. Replacing oil with coal would be a good thing. It's certainly possible, but it's not easy.

UPDATE: Here's more on turning coal to gasoline. At current gas prices it's starting to look good.