Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Is the future in the coal?

The goal of the near future is finding renewable-energy technologies capable of generating electricity completely free of emissions, along with biofuels that promise to end global demand for coal and petroleum. Unfortunately, these technologies are not economically, technically, or logistically ready to be adopted on a large scale.
Renewable energy will ultimately be a critical element of a more sustainable world.
The single largest source of global greenhouse-gas emissions is burning coal, and coal is not going to go away anytime soon.
The solution appears to be to convert coal into natural gas.
Natural gas is made up of four parts hydrogen to one part carbon, and it is so clean we burn it in our
homes without even needing a vent.
Burning natural gas made from coal in a modern power plant generates about 60 percent less in greenhouse- gas emissions than burning coal directly and eliminates almost all other pollutants.
The only and not small problem is that converting coal into natural gas has long been too expensive to implement on a large scale.
But a process called catalytic hydromethanation, can economically convert coal into pure natural gas while removing and capturing most of the carbon.
Apart from nuclear energy—which comes with its own problems there is no other option that could make such a significant global impact using available technology
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