Magazine article USA TODAY

Coal Remains a Major Player

Magazine article USA TODAY

Coal Remains a Major Player

Article excerpt

Carbon capture and storage, or CCS, is a promising tool that may help the U.S. meet future energy needs while controlling emissions of greenhouse gases linked to climate change, declare researchers at Indiana University, Bloomington. However, CCS presents policy and technical challenges that must be addressed if the nation is to make effective use of its plentiful coal supplies.

The U.S. now generates half of its electricity by burning coal, which produces the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Recent bills in Congress, as well as Pres. Barack Obama's program, call for reducing C[O.sub.2] emissions by 80-85% by 2050. Conservation, nuclear power, natural gas, and renewable sources can help meet future needs, but most energy specialists agree that coal will continue to play an important role.

That creates a need for CCS, which involves capturing carbon dioxide from electrical power plants, transporting it to a storage site, and injecting the gas into a safe location underground. There currently are no large-scale, commercial demonstrations of CCS at any coal-powered generating facility. However, the petroleum industry has perfected many of its technical aspects by using C[O.sub.2] injection for the enhanced recovery of oil and gas from previously developed well fields.

"Building on this experience, and with adequate research, development, and real-world demonstration, it is possible to successfully deploy CCS on a large-scale basis," conclude James Bames, professor and former dean of the School of Public Environmental Affairs, and Kenneth R. Richards, an associate professor in the school. …

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