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Clean Coal, Just Another Lie?

As governments scramble to appear as if they are doing something about the energy crisis that is enveloping the world, the term ‘clean coal’ is being bandied about to justify the reopening and even building of coal fired power plants. The truth about this fuel source is much different than we are led to believe though and here is a little of what is actually the case with clean coal.

Firstly, there is no doubt that coal fires produce chemicals that are harmful to all animals that respire, including humans but this is the dilemma because coal is one of the most abundant and efficient materials available for burning to make electricity. Sulphur Dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and carbon dioxide are among the many by products of coal burning and so to combat these so called nasties from getting into the environment in too much of an abundance, the coal industry has come up with a number of strategies.
One idea that has been implemented is to literally wash the coal in water. This separates out the sulphur and other impurities from the coal before it gets to the power station.
Another system is called ‘carbon scrubbing’. Carbon dioxide and other chemicals are separated from the air before it leaves the power plant then usually disposed of by pumping them deep underground.
Another system called ‘oxy-fuel combustion’ reroutes combustion cases from the coal back into the plant where it is combined with pure oxygen and used to burn more coal.

All of these methods are expensive to implement and also energy intensive which is in a way, defeating the purpose of their use. It has been calculated that such technologies can increase coal use by as much as twenty-five percent.
In actuality the by-products of such ‘separation technologies’ are not being eliminated they are merely being shifted elsewhere, usually into the earth.

Clean coal technologies are not particularly widespread, so even if the do work, they are making very little difference.
Critics of clean coal say that the purpose of such technologies is actually to maintain the image of coal companies rather than to really produce a solution to the problem of generating electricity with coal, and so the debate goes on, is the burning of coal to produce electricity a sound idea.

One Comment

  1. Keith Keith July 9, 2022

    CO2 is one part in 25,000 of the atmosphere, how is it going to kill us all off ?

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