Hybrid system could cut coal-plant emissions in half
This is pretty exciting news from MIT.
Most of the world’s nations have agreed to make substantial reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions, but achieving these goals is still a considerable technological, economic, and political challenge. The International Energy Agency has projected that, even with the new agreements in place, global coal-fired power generation will increase over the next few decades. Finding a cleaner way of using that coal could be a significant step toward achieving carbon-emissions reductions while meeting the needs of a growing and increasingly industrialized world population.
Now, researchers at MIT have come up with a plan that could contribute to that effort by making it possible to generate electricity from coal with much greater efficiency — possibly reaching as much as twice the fuel-to-electricity efficiency of today’s conventional coal plants. This would mean, all things being equal, a 50 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions for a given amount of power produced.
The concept, proposed by MIT doctoral student Katherine Ong and Ronald C. Crane (1972) Professor Ahmed Ghoniem, is described in their paper in the Journal of Power Sources. The key is combining into a single system two well-known technologies: coal gasification and fuel cells.