19 March 2007

Energy: "The Future of Coal," US study calls for more investment in carbon capture

Last week, an interdisciplinary group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professors released their report on The Future of Coal, making recommendations about how the United States should use coal for energy.

The report, "The Future of Coal – Options for a Carbon Constrained World," evaluates the technologies and costs associated with generating electricity from coal, along with those associated with the capture and sequestration of the carbon dioxide produced by coal-based power generation.

The Green Skeptic recognizes that electricity demand in the US and the world (hello, China!) will require a mix and increase in all generation options (cleantech, coal, and nuclear) well into the future, coupled with increased efficiency and conservation. And that means coal will continue to be a major factor in power generation. But to do so, we must figure out a way to manage the carbon dioxide emissions from this high-impact source.

The MIT study, which is addressed to government, industry, and academic leaders, outlines the complex and interrelated technical, economic, environmental and political challenges associated with increased power generation from coal and options for managing its carbon dioxide emissions.

The report team, 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, states, according to the MIT website, "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."

Emma Marris interviewed the authors in news@nature.com: Future of Coal Interview

Download the full report: MIT - Future of Coal Report

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