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Prospects for Co-Utilisation of Coal with other Fuels-GHG Emissions Reduction

AUTHOR: Irene M. Smith and Katerina Rousaki
DATE: May 2002

Energy reserves, price and security of supply issues are discussed within the context of the prospects for coal and policies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Currently available power generating technologies, deploying coal with other fuels (natural gas, biomass and refuse derived fuels), are examined, including a brief discussion of any technical problems and their solution. Examples of reductions in the use of coal by successful substitution of other fuels are highlighted, including the greenhouse gas reductions achieved as well as the costs where available.

The flexibility mechanisms: the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Joint Implementation (JI), and emissions trading (ET), outlined in the Kyoto protocol, should provide opportunities for clean coal technology transfer and diffusion. One option is partial substitution of more carbon intensive with else carbon intensive fuels. Hybrid gasification and parallel cofiring of coal with biomass and natural gas appear to have the greatest potential to reduce GHG emissions from coal-fired power stations. Much may also be achieved by cofiring, reburning and repowering with gas turbines. Co-utilisation of biomass with coal is a least cost option to reduce GHG emissions where the fuel prices are comparable, usually due to subsidies or taxes.