DTI consultation on clean coal review

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has issued a consultation document on the clean coal technology review.1

The review, announced in June, will work in parallel with the energy review being conducted by the Cabinet Office's Performance and Innovation Unit.

The consultation seeks views on whether clean coal technology is a viable, cost-effective way of reducing emissions, ensuring security of supply and encouraging exports. It notes that the coal industry is considering around 4GW of new stations over the next 4-5 years.

The scope includes co-firing of coal with natural gas, heavy oil and blends of multi-sourced fuels, as well as "biomass, waste and noxious materials, etc."

The document asks whether a demonstration plant is the best way to encourage development.

Options for a demonstration plant include:

  • Retrofitting clean coal technology to existing stations.

  • Retrofitting gasification technology to existing combined-cycle stations.

  • New-build combustion plant.

  • New-build gasification plant.

    The last two options could include carbon dioxide sequestration. But the consultation paper notes that capture and storage from flue gas "significantly reduces the thermal efficiency of fossil fuel plant and is clearly not an economic option in the absence of direct incentives" - such as a carbon tax or a convenient use for the gas, such as to enhance oil production.

    The closing date for responses is 1 October, and a report is expected before Ministers by December.

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