16 Comments

Summary:

James Hansen, one of the world’s best-known global warming researchers and a recent vocal advocate of proposed coal plants, says clean coal technology used on a full-scale coal-fired plant could be at least a decade away. He expressed the sentiment in a media briefing organized by […]

James Hansen, one of the world’s best-known global warming researchers and a recent vocal advocate of proposed coal plants, says clean coal technology used on a full-scale coal-fired plant could be at least a decade away. He expressed the sentiment in a media briefing organized by clean energy group RE-AMP, arguing against a proposed coal plant in Marshalltown, Iowa.

During the call with the media, Hansen answered a question about how long he thought it would be before we could capture the carbon from a full sized coal plant. His answer expressed frustration with the slow pace with which the Department of Energy has moved to get its FutureGen clean coal plant up and running:

“It is really too bad that the DOE has taken so long to get its demonstration plant going. They said in 2001, they would make this FutureGen, and its taken them several years just to decide where to do it. It looks like it will take several more years. So the practical matter is, given where we are right now, it [clean coal in full-scale operation] could still be a decade away.”

Though he added that in the next decade there is enough potential in energy efficiency and renewable energy to get by until the clean coal technology issue is solved. Hansen also expressed skepticism of the intention of power companies that are proposing coal-plants with plans to implement clean coal technology when it is available:

In most cases where utilities are saying they will have the capability in the future to capture the CO2, they’re really just saying that in order to get approval, without really intending to do that. If they would sign a guarantee that they are going to start capturing it within 5 years that would make it a different story. But they are not offering to do that.

Perhaps Hansen’s smartest argument, at least for the investor community, is that not only do we need to end coal plants to stop global warming, but coal plants without true carbon capture will not be economically viable in the coming years, as they will ultimately be banned or highly regulated. He attributes a lot of plants being cancelled to the fact that it is “beginning to sink in that it is probably not a wise financial move.” Wise sentiments.

  1. [...] need to take to keep our climate on the rails? Or do we need to do something with coal for the next decade, until some type of carbon capture and storage [...]

    Share
  2. [...] best-known global warming researchers and a recent vocal advocate of proposed coal plants, has said that clean coal technology is at least a decade away: It is really too bad that the DOE has taken so long to get its demonstration plant going. They [...]

    Share
  3. [...] of the highly controversial coal plant being proposed in Marshalltown say that, with natural gas prices so high and nuclear power not viable, ethanol producers in the [...]

    Share
  4. [...] took so long and was so costly the government ended up pulling its funding. And experts like James Hansen think that clean coal is still over a decade away. However, carbon regulation in the U.S. is closer at hand, making any CCS research [...]

    Share
  5. [...] would have “kicked the tires,” by trying out CCS at full industrial scale.” But according to James Hansen, a NASA climate change expert, we’ll just be getting the tires on by [...]

    Share
  6. Green energy is definitely the best solution in most cases. Technology like solar energy, wind power, fuel cells, zaps electric vehicles, EV hybrids, etc have come so far recently. Green energy even costs way less than oil and gas in many cases.

    Share
  7. [...] is still a long way off from being able to curb emissions. NASA scientist and climate change expert James Hansen, for example, has said he believes carbon capture technology for clean coal is at least a decade [...]

    Share
  8. [...] fact remains that many scientists think viable carbon capture and sequestration technology is over a decade away. So we’ll probably have to wait a good decade to see if the Pacific basalt is as good as the [...]

    Share
  9. [...] The Feds and banks have both scaled back loans for coal plants with carbon regulation likely to become a reality with the next administration. And clean coal projects are proving prohibitively expensive with their early stage technologies. David Crane, NRG President and CEO, admitted in a statement: “The Huntley IGCC project was, in many ways, ahead of its time.” Many scientists agree and don’t think it’ll be clean coal’s time for a decade. [...]

    Share
  10. [...] behind Obama who claim clean coal is a pipe dream. NASA climatologist James Hansen has said clean coal technology is at least a decade away from being commercially [...]

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post