A 5 page paper. Are there any existing technologies that can make coal clean? This question is answered in this essay. Even today, more than half of all the electricity used in the U.S. comes from coal-powered power stations. Coal plants are responsible for emitting large amounts of pollutants into the air. There has been some progress and there may be new technologies on the horizon. The federal government is funding a number of projects, which are described. Bibliography lists 4 sources.
Name of Research Paper File: MM12_PGcoal.rtf
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lot of talk about "clean coal" for at least two decades with little or no observable progress being made. Coal-fired power stations provide 56 percent of all the electricity used
in the United States (GNET) but these same stations are responsible for 80 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions in the power industry (The Economist). More specifically, coal plants produce
93 percent of all the sulfur dioxide produced in the energy industry and 80 percent of the industrys nitrogen oxide (Kosanovic). Both of these are major contributors in smog and
acid rain (Kosanovic). Further, coal plants also emit large amounts of mercury, a toxic mineral (Kosanovic). Carbon dioxide emissions are the most worrisome of all the greenhouse gasses (The Economist).
The reason these stations are still responsible for the majority of this type of pollution is because this particular section of the power industry was given special exemptions from the
Environmental Protection Agencys regulations (The Economist). Now, most of these plants are more than 30 years old, they must be revamped and the companies are facing the requirement of updating
and upgrading their technology to make the plants less toxic and more efficient - and they must now comply with the Clean Air Act (The Economist). Nonetheless, clean coal technologies
have been a major topic in the energy industry for a few years, primarily because of an initiative by President Bush that views "clean coal as one answer to Americas
energy problem" (The Economist 2002, p. 5). Huge grants are being awarded for the development of clean coal technologies (The Economist). In April 2003, for instance, Spencer Abraham, the U.S.
Energy Secretary, announced a five-year plan that intends to develop "the prototype pollution-free coal fired power plant of the future" (Modern Power Systems 2003). The plan is called FutureGen and