Terry M. Jarrett: Trump Administration Aims to Take Coal High-Tech
By Terry Jarrett
Williamson Daily News
Coal is in the news again, thanks to the Trump Administration. But this time there’s a new wrinkle. The administration is aiming for a high-tech approach that could appeal to climate change activists looking to secure realistic reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that it is considering investment in the development of small-scale, “modular” coal plants that some are calling the power plants of the future. These compact generating stations can achieve extremely high energy efficiencies, and would be doubly clean when paired with new, cutting-edge systems to enhance the capture of exhaust emissions.
It’s clear that President Trump is standing behind his commitment to revitalize America’s coal sector. But technological advances are emerging that may indeed validate his decision – including an array of systems to fine-tune the trapping of exhaust gases and particulate matter.
To date, America’s coal fleet has invested more than $122 billion on such specialized “scrubbing” equipment. But coal could transition further into the realm of high-tech now that “Super-critical” and “Ultra-supercritical” power plants are coming online to burn coal at far higher temperatures. Under such intense heat and pressure, coal burns more efficiently, yielding lower CO2 emissions per kilowatt generated.