Environmetally friendly coal?
April 3, 2006 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Are there any environmentally friendly ways to use coal as an energy source? Bonus points if these methods are economically plausible. If none exist currently, is there any interesting research being done?
posted by insomnus to Science & Nature (11 answers total)
The DOE is working on extracting hydrogen from coal.

Hydrogen can also be added to coal to make it burn more cleanly.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 12:38 PM on April 3, 2006

The gasification of coal is significantly better than other methods of combusting it in terms of its emission profile. It's economically plausible enough that an IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle) plant is likely to happen soon.
posted by blueshammer at 12:45 PM on April 3, 2006

You might be interested in the Fischer-Tropsch process, (much more here) which can convert coal into synthetic liquid fuels. The Governor of Montana is interested in developing using this process as a home-grown clean burning alternative energy source.
posted by Staggering Jack at 12:48 PM on April 3, 2006

A major environmental issue with coal is it's CO2 emissions. The only real option there is capture and sequestration of the CO2, and yes, there is work being done on that.
posted by Good Brain at 12:54 PM on April 3, 2006

Put it in the oil barons' Christmas stockings.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:57 PM on April 3, 2006

I believe the latest issue of National Geographic has several stories about coal energy that may touch upon your question.
posted by quadog at 1:22 PM on April 3, 2006

Clean coal projects across the country.
posted by milkrate at 1:27 PM on April 3, 2006

Here's an article about using carbon sequestration from a coal gasification plant to extract oil (and confuse people).
posted by thrako at 2:29 PM on April 3, 2006

How To Clean Coal
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 3:36 PM on April 3, 2006

Don't forget the environmental impact of mining coal. It's incredibly destructive.
posted by electroboy at 5:59 PM on April 3, 2006

Australia has several research centres devoted to the issue, since it's the baseload power generation for the entire country.

posted by wilful at 11:52 PM on April 3, 2006

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