Grist Article Endorses (Partially) Coal Carbon Sequestration
FutureGen aims to build a soup-to-nuts demonstration facility that would generate virtually zero-emission (yes, zero emission!) electricity from coal -- billed by industry as "clean coal" -- within the next decade. It would use "integrated gasification combined-cycle" (IGCC) power-plant technology that first pressurizes coal to produce a vapor, then filters carbon dioxide and smog-causing pollutants from the gas before burning it. The captured greenhouse gases would then be stored underground where they couldn't contribute to atmospheric warming -- a technique known as "sequestration."
It's a far cry from a commitment to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Still, on the face of it, FutureGen sounds pretty good.
In recent years, the IGCC concept has garnered support from an increasing number of environmental advocates, who prefer to call it "advanced" or "cleaner coal." These folks say coal can't realistically be phased out within the next couple of decades, so we should be using it more efficiently and cleanly while we transition to renewable energy sources. And they say carbon sequestration could play a key role in making coal more palatable.