The World Coal Association recently called for investment in clean coal technologies. How can implementing these changes decrease CO2 emissions, modernize the industry, and increase its efficiency?
The World Coal Association (WCA) recently released a statement calling for increased investment in clean coal technologies.
While the industry has struggled in recent years to adapt to environmentalist attitudes regarding the burning of fossil fuels and releasing greenhouse gases, one response has been to advocate for cleaner and greener practices, both for mining coal and for using it responsibly.
A report on Mining.com states, “Coal plays a vital role in society by providing over 40% of global electricity and as an indispensable ingredient in modern infrastructure.”
This is a huge proportion of the global energy bill, and while coal mining still has improvements to make in terms of slowing global warming, it is one of the few tenable energy options available in developing and developed nations.
While some environmental activists insist that “clean coal” is not a desirable option, hoping that nations will instead transform their energy production to favor clean, sustainable methods, the other options are even less practical abroad than they are in the U.S.
Improving the energy efficiency of existing coal mining and production techniques could have a large, positive impact on the global fight against climate change.
Can Clean Coal Reduce Emissions?
Many of the “clean coal” practices that the WCA supports use available technologies to improve the mining, transportation, and burning processes involved in coal usage. Implementing changes within the industry on a large scale could have a significant impact on CO2 emissions around the world.
For instance, the WCA calls for an increase in “the average efficiency of the global coal fleet from the current level of 33% to 40%,” which “can be done with off-the-shelf technology that is currently available.”
Just implementing these changes, using tools we already have to increase efficiency in the global transportation of coal “would make a significant contribution to global efforts, saving around 2 gigatonnes of CO2 annually – roughly equivalent to India’s total annual emissions.”
Some people may view clean coal as an unpalatable option for a country trying to shift its energy sources towards renewable, “sustainable” resources. But the current state of the global energy industry demands implementing these changes, as so much of the world still depends on coal for a great portion of their energy needs.
Once the industry begins to improve the efficiency of coal mining and transportation, all with technologies that are already available, the levels of CO2 that coal production releases should see a significant decrease within a few years.
How Midwest Can Help
The WCA draws attention to a few projects that have already succeeded in revamping their mining and processing procedures. One such example is the Boundary Dam coal-fired power station in Canada, as Sask Power CCS.
According to Mining.com, “This pioneering project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one million tonnes of CO2 annually, the equivalent to taking more than 250,000 cars off the road each year.” The WCA seems confident that the most important step that coal companies will take in the near future is the adoption of existing technologies to improve the mining process.
One company that offers exactly the kind of technology and expertise the coal industry needs is Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. A long-time veteran of this business, Midwest has a proven record of providing products and services that help to significantly reduce levels of air pollution released in any and all mining processes.
Our experience in the coal industry has helped us to produce a wide range of solutions that industry leaders need, from topping for transport railcars to preventing buildups of combustible dust at handling sites and power plants.
Now is the time to implement the changes recommended by the WCA. As the world looks towards new energy options, it is important for coal companies to put their best foot forward and ensure they’re selling the cleanest possible product.
(Image credit: eastcolfax/flickr)