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'08 big year for coal tech

First, this year work begins on construction of the FutureGen coal-burning plant in Mattoon, Illinois. Funded largely by federal grants and run by a coalition of mining and electricity companies, FutureGen is to be almost emission free.
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Written by Harry Fuller on

First, this year work begins on construction of the FutureGen coal-burning plant in Mattoon, Illinois. Funded largely by federal grants and run by a coalition of mining and electricity companies, FutureGen is to be almost emission free. Coal creating electricity without dumping CO2 into thr atmosphere. Sounds like an environmentalist's dream.

Some issues remain: will the CO2 capture and underground storage work on so grand a scale? It's never been done before. And somewhere they'll be ripping that coal out of the ground with all its accompanying problems.

Wanna see what happens when coal is more precious that human life? Read this story of a German minority being mined out of house and home. An object lesson for West Virginia, perhaps.

Coal to Gas

An energy think tank says there'll be major efforts around the globe for building plants to turn coal into a substitute for natural gas. This carries the title Integrated Combined Cycle Gasification (IGCC) technology. According to Emerging Energy, ICCG "faces a precarious future due to rising capital costs and regulatory uncertainty." You can read their report here.

The U.S. is the leading nation in planning and buildings ICCG plants. What companies are in the ICCG sector? Edison Mission, NRG, BP, Rio Tinto, Centrica and Babcock & Brown, Duke, AEP, and Southern. And to make the process work you need turbines, which are being touted by little companies like GE, Siemens and Mitsubishi. If the coal to unnatural gas process can be made politically and financially viable all these guys stand to make a lot of dough.

Kansas Coal War

And this is the year we see what results from all the political bruhaha following Kansas's refusal to allow a new coal-burning plant in the western part of the state. There's talk of taking the plant to Missouri, just across the border. And the Kansas legislature will be tied in knows fighitng over the coal plant that was to be when they begin to meet later this month.

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