Volume 1, Issue 1

Letter from the Chairman

Preface to the Inaugural Issue of Cornerstone

By Zhang Xiwu

Chisel chaos out and get the black gold, Which stores the deep meaning of energy and harmony. Spread fire to light and return the grand spring, With great furnace shining and breaking the heavy darkness. By Yu Qian, in the Ming Dynasty of ChinaI am pleased to present the inaugural issue of Cornerstone, the official publication of the world coal industry. Coal is a mineral that has been a part of human civilization from the very early days. In fact, the use of coal can be traced back 7,000 years, when Xinle people in Shenyang, China, produced fine coal products for heating.

Address from the Chief Editor

Engagement to Support the Critical Importance of Coal

By Gu Dazhao

Vol 1, Iss 1, page 5At the end of 2012 Dr. Zhang Xiwu, the Chairman of the Shenhua Group, which is both China’s and the world’s largest coal company, became the Chair of the World Coal Association (WCA). Under Dr. Zhang’s leadership, the WCA is establishing new resources to support the continued and improved use of coal.

Cover Story

Coal’s Role in the Global Energy Mix: Treading Water or Full Steam Ahead?

By Faith Birol

Cover StoryAlthough it does not always get as much attention as some of the other fuels, coal alone over the decade to 2011 accounted for 45% of global energy demand growth. Even in percentage terms, growth in coal use over the decade at some 55% outpaced growth in renewable energy, which was under the stimulus of widespread government support. The importance of coal in the global energy mix is now the highest since 1971.


Social Development through Coal Energy

By Fred Palmer

Social development through coal energyThe World Coal Association has been transformed in the last two years through the additional membership of our Chinese colleagues – the Shenhua Group, the China Coal Energy Group, and China National Coal Association. China’s coal industry today is quite large with numerous companies, but the Shenhua Group, China Coal, and CNCA are the bedrock of coal in China.

Mission Possible: An Environmentalist Looks at Coal and Climate

By Armond Cohen

Mission PossibleMost of my thirty-year professional career as an environmental organization lawyer and then environmental group CEO has been focused on reducing the environmental impact of the global energy system. Yet much of the last ten years of my career has been focused on demonstrating and deploying coal power generation technologies utilizing carbon capture and storage (CCS). What’s wrong with this picture?

How the Energy Policy of the United States Is Keeping New Coal-Fired Power Plants at a Standstill

By Robert A. Beck

U.S. Energy PolicyThe man who hired me was a true veteran of running electric generation plants; he had a wealth of common sense. In the middle of the long lines to buy gasoline and the common doom-and-gloom consensus about the country not having an energy policy, he turned to me one day and said, “Bob, don’t let these so-called experts fool you. This country has had the same energy policy for almost 200 years and it is just three words: Keep It Cheap.”

The Development Strategy for Coal-Fired Power Generation in China

By Huang Qili

Shanghai Waigaoqiao Power PlantChina is the largest coal producer and consumer in the world. In 2012, China produced 3.65 billion tonnes of coal. By the end of 2010, China’s proven coal reserves were 114.5 billion tonnes, approximately 13.3% of the total proven global reserves. Coal accounts for over 96% of China’s fossil energy reserves, and coal output accounts for more than 85% of all fossil energy output.

China’s Changing Energy Mix: An Interview with Fan Bi

By Li Xing and Chen Junqi

Fan BiAs a developing country, China faces accelerated industrialization as well as rapid urbanization. Today, China’s per capita energy usage is lower than the global average; however, energy is not always used efficiently and is dominated by coal-fired power plants. To gain insight into the future energy mix in China, Cornerstone sat down with Mr. Fan Bi, who is the Deputy Director General of the National Policy Research Office of the State Council, People’s Republic of China.

Global Energy Policy

Minamata Convention on Mercury – What Does It Mean for Coal?

By Aleksandra Tomczak

MercuryOver the past three years, the UN has been negotiating a global agreement to tackle mercury. These negotiations concluded in Geneva in January of this year, at which time the text for the Minamata Convention was agreed upon. This Convention aims to address issues with increasing supply, use, emissions and releases of mercury globally, including from coal burning.

 U.S. Energy Subsidies in Perspective

By Roger Bezdek

U.S. Energy Subsidies in PerspectiveThe issue of federal government support for the energy industries is highly contentious and has serious implications for U.S. energy policy, environmental policy, and federal budget and deficit reduction policies. There seems to be a widespread common perception that the U.S. federal government provides large subsidies and incentives to the fossil fuel industries (oil, coal, and natural gas) while providing relatively little to renewable energy.

Strategic Analysis

Climate Change, Technology Innovation, and the Future of Coal

By Edward Rubin

Climate Change and the Future of CoalAlthough improvements in coal-burning technology and a move to large central-station facilities have mitigated many of these problems, not until the late 20th century, with the advent of modern particulate collectors and flue gas scrubbers, did the promise of “clean coal technology” truly begin to be realized. Thus, a modern coal-fired power plant today emits less particulate matter, SO2, and nitrogen oxides over its lifetime than earlier generations of coal plants emitted in a single year or less.

Rethinking CCS – Moving Forward in Times of Uncertainty

By Howard Herzog and Jan Eide

Demonstration ProjectFossil fuels accounted for 81% of the global energy supply in 2010, and unless aggressive new measures are taken to reduce CO2 emissions, they are projected to retain a 75% share in 2035. Carbon Capture and Storage is the only technology available to drastically reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuels that also allows the world to continue to reap their benefits without the negative impacts associated with climate change.

Coal/Biomass Coprocessing Strategy to Enable a Thriving Coal Industry in a Carbon-Constrained World

By Robert H. Williams

Coal Coprocessing StrategyThis is the first part of a two-part article prepared for Cornerstone discussing how coal/biomass coprocessing technologies for making synthetic fuels and electricity with carbon capture and storage (CCS) can enable continuing major roles for coal in a carbon-constrained world. This installment presents a long-term vision—looking to the middle of the century to highlight the merits of the strategy.

Industry in Practice

Clean and High-Efficiency Coal-Fired Power Generation in the Shenhua Group

By Chen Yinbao

Clean Coal-Fired PowerIn 2011, energy consumption in China reached 3.48 billion tonnes of coal equivalent, out of which 70% was supplied by coal. A slight majority of coal (53%) used in China in 2011 was used for electricity production. The demand for coal for electricity production is expected to further increase; by 2020 it is predicted that coal for power generation will account for about 63% of total coal consumption.

From the Executive Editor

Invitation for Contributions

By Holly Krutka

Invitation for ContributionsThe WCA works to present a united front for the coal industry to the challenges it faces this decade and beyond. As the official publication of the world coal industry, the central objective of Cornerstone is to become an internationally-recognized, high-quality publication focusing on the coal and energy industry that is credible and independent. On behalf of the editorial team, I am extending the invitation for the international community to contribute to Cornerstone.

Global News

International Events and Politics

Approximately 140 nations agreed on the Minamata Convention, which was led by the United National Environmental Program. The Convention is recognized as important step forward to controlling mercury globally, which is more important based on revelations that the mercury concentration has doubled in the top 100 m of the ocean over the last 100 years.

Publications in Review

The IEA often sponsors workshops, webinars, conferences, as well as publishing books and reports to characterize and provide solutions for global energy systems. Recently, the IEA released several publications of particular interest to the coal and energy community.

Key Meetings and Conferences

The Society of Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration Annual Conference was held in Denver, CO, USA on February 24 – 27, 2013. Despite the massive snowstorm that kept some potential attendees away, there were over 7,200 attendees including the largest expo that has ever been held. The theme of the conference was “Mining: It’s About the People”.

Business Movers and Shakers

It was announced by Anglo American that Mark Cutifani will be the new Chief Executive effective as of 3 April 2013. Previously, Mr. Cutifani was the Chief Executive of Anglo-Gold Ashanti Limited where he oversaw restructuring and development of a business with operations in ten countries and over four continents.

International Outlook

According to the IEA, the demand for coal is increasing globally. In fact, coal demand is increasing everywhere except the United States, where historically inexpensive shale gas is responsible for decreasing coal usage. While there are indications that the growth of coal is slowing, coal is expected to come close to exceeding oil as the most used energy source in the world by 2017.


The content in Cornerstone does not necessarily reflect the views of the World Coal Association or its members.