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Coal Research, Development and Demonstration Funding

AUTHOR: Yoshimitsu Ishihara, Sarah Benson, Geoff Morrison
DATE: December 1999

During the last 20 years, R&D expenditure on coal has experienced a steep decline in the IEA countries. Funding had reached a peak in the early 1980s when governments were investing heavily in the development of technology which offered the possibility of converting solid fuels to liquid in the wake of the oil crisis. In 1982, the total reported expenditure on coal R&D by IEA member countries was US$2.26 billion (1995 prices and exchange rates), of which more than half (US$1.31 billion) was directed at coal conversion. In the mid to late 1980s, as the energy policy moved away from an emphasis on energy security, diversity and sustainability, the total coal R&D budget decreased and coal conversion research was allocated a much smaller share of the budget. During the 1990s, the focus of coal R&D has moved towards technology which may offer environmental benefits, as concerns regarding global climate change and environmental damage have escalated. This is mainly through the development of technology which can improve the efficiency of coal combustion or reduce emissions of pollutants.