Cornerstone Mag

Cornerstone, the official publication of the world coal industry, was launched by the World Coal Association in the spring of 2013. Cornerstone is an internationally recognized, high-quality, objective publication that includes content investigating all aspects of the global coal industry. The electronic version is offered free of charge through this website.

Click on the image below to read Volume 4 Issue 2

Volume 4 Issue 2
The second issue of Volume 4 of Cornerstone is focused on coal and smart technologies.

“The rate of change in the electricity production business is unprecedented and is creating new opportunities for digital, interconnected, more intelligent power plants that are better able to meet these new requirements.”

– Jim Sutton and Peter Spinney
GE Power Boiler Services


Highlighted Articles

Digital, Interconnected Power Plants to Improve Efficiency and Reduce Emissions

By Jim Sutton and Peter Spinney, GE Power Boiler Services

Sutton Photo 1Countries around the world face a tremendous challenge in providing ample clean water, sustainable food supplies, and jobs to their citizens, while protecting the environment. Central to this challenge is managing and improving the power production infrastructure. Today, and for the foreseeable future, coal-fired power plants play a pivotal role by providing low-cost electricity to much of the world. Natural gas and renewables are growing in importance and are changing the ways in which traditional power plants operate. The rate of change in the electricity production business is unprecedented and is creating new opportunities for digital, interconnected, more intelligent power plants that are better able to meet these new requirements.

Juggling Development Objectives and the Role for Coal After the Paris Agreement

By Milagros Miranda R., World Coal Association

As of 2015 the world has a new global framework for sustainable development, supported by these four pillars: the Paris Agreement on climate change, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Finance for Development (AAAA). There are crucial and supportive links between these as the new framework calls for a holistic and integrated approach to guide actions toward achieving sustainable development.

Powers of Perception: The State of the Art and Future of Sensors in Coal Power Plants

By Toby Lockwood, IEA Clean Coal Centre

Lockwood1Coal plant operators are increasingly constrained by a wide range of conflicting objectives, as they seek to maximize efficiency, profit, availability, and plant lifetime, while minimizing emissions and water consumption. The best set of operational parameters required to satisfy these demands can also be subject to constant change, as growing grid-connected capacities of intermittent wind and solar power oblige thermal power stations to ramp their output, and economic and environmental incentives encourage switching of coal type or biomass co-firing. To face these challenges, automation and more intelligent control systems able to optimize plant operation faster and more effectively than human operators are in increasing use; yet such systems rely on sensors to provide accurate data from the processes they control. Whereas in the past much of the operational data available to coal-fired power plant operators derived from imperfect, periodic measurements used to set long-term operating parameters, advances in sensor technologies over the last decade are now giving control systems access to a continuous stream of real-time data from previously inaccessible regions of the plant. This allows for human operators or the automated control system to take action based on considerably more information. As well, online sensors can also play an important role in monitoring the condition and performance of plant components and identifying when maintenance is required. This is particularly important given the unfamiliar and challenging operating regimes associated with frequent load following or non-design fuels.

Doing the Right Work at the Right Time in the Power Plant of Tomorrow

By Steven Seachman, Electric Power Research Institute

Seachman Photo 4Cisco estimates 21 billion devices will connect to the Internet by 2018 (three times the world population and up from 14 billion in 2013). This number will include sensors and other devices that aid in the supply and use of electricity. The proliferation of these sensors, the data they collect, and sophisticated new technologies that enable transformational applications of that data will profoundly change society, including the way we generate, distribute, and use electricity.