Coal gasification is one of the few areas of so-called ‘clean coal’ technology that critics say could actually offer a cleaner answer to coal. While most of the technology is years from being proven on a large scale, startups are raising funds — Secure Energy, a St. Louis-based coal gasification company, has raised $5.5 million of an $8 million Series A round, according to PE Hub.
The funding follows an announcement earlier this year that Secure Energy plans to build a coal gasification plant in Decatur, Ill. The Decatur plant is expected to convert up to 1.4 million tons per year of Illinois coal into natural gas.
Other companies in the coal gasification space include Cambridge, Mass.-based startup GreatPoint Energy, which has already raised more than $37 million in funding and told CNET that the company is in the process of raising even more. The CNET article notes that per unit of energy, coal accounts for about one-third of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S.
According to the DOE, coal gasification offers “one of the most versatile and clean ways to convert coal into electricity, hydrogen, and other valuable energy products.” Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder, in their book “The Clean Tech Revolution,” say coal gasification “offers some future hope,” but “remains expensive and unproven on a large scale, and we believe it is years away from development.”