Volume 2 Issue 1

From the Editor

Water Crisis Calls for Common Action

By Liu Baowen

Liu BaowenWater is a precious, life-giving resource that is essential to the existence of mankind as well as the natural world. Today, this critical resource is becoming more scarce, a trend which is only expected to continue. By 2030 it is forecast that global freshwater demand will grow 30%, while freshwater supply will decrease by 40%.

Cover Story

Reducing Energy’s Water Footprint: Driving a Sustainable Energy Future

By Michael Hightower

?????????Water is an essential natural resource that impacts all aspects of life:  Clean and abundant supplies of water are vital for supporting the production of food, public health, industrial and energy development, and a healthy environment. Water is an integral part of energy extraction, production, and generation. It is used directly in hydro-electric power generation and is used extensively for thermoelectric power plant cooling and emissions control.


Thirsty Energy: Integrated Energy-Water Planning for a Sustainable Future

By Diego Rodriguez

Edited ThumbnailWith global population projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, and about 70% of this number living in cities, energy demand will double during the same period. This presents challenges on many fronts, but few are more pressing than those involving water. Nearly half the world’s people are expected to be living in areas of water stress by 2030, as climate change and mounting water withdrawals, some of which are made to produce energy, deepen existing water scarcity. Water scarcity, in turn, poses risks to energy generation.

Exploring Global Energy Challenges: Exclusive Interview with Nobuo Tanaka

By Holly Krutka

Nobuo TanakaNobuo Tanaka is one of the world’s foremost energy experts. Mr. Tanaka obtained a degree in economics and an MBA from the University of Tokyo and Case Western Reserve University, respectively. In 1973 he began his career in the Ministry  of  Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) of Japan. Currently, Mr. Tanaka is a Global Associate for Energy Security and Sustainability at the Institute for Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ) and a professor at the University of Tokyo.

Advancing China’s Coal Industry

By Wang Xianzheng

China Coal Group’s Pingshuo mine is an example of a large, high-efficiency, modern mine; there has been a push by China’s coal industry to construct many such facilities.China is responsible for more coal production than any other country. Since the beginning of the 11th Five-Year Plan in 2006, many efforts have been made to reform the Chinese coal industry. To address future challenges, the China National Coal Association recommends that China’s coal industry place greater importance on technological progress, implement innovation-driven development strategies, strengthen structural changes, promote quality and efficiency, and strive for a general advancement.

Energy Policy

What to Watch in 2014: Policy Developments That Will Shape the Coal Industry

By Aleksandra  Tomczak

Tony AbbottWith around 40 national elections, representing 42% of the world’s population and more than half of its GDP, 2014 could be one of the most significant policy years on record. New governments, policies, and regulations expected over the year will influence the policy environment for the energy and mining sectors. Bearing the highest potential for change are this year’s general elections in India, which many experts believe could finally unlock the country’s economic potential and further increase coal-based energy demand.

Strategic Analysis

Identifying the Global Coal Industry’s Water Risks

By Tianyi Luo, Betsy Otto, Tien Shiao, and Andrew Maddocks

Coal transport ships are often used for importing coal to China and India.Water is essential for energy production—when water risks arise, energy producers around the world feel the impacts. A massive flood in Australia in 2011 reduced its coal export volume, pushing global coal prices higher. Drought in the U.S. Midwest ravaged corn fields in 2012, contributing to higher gasoline prices.

Assessing Water Issues in China’s Coal Industry

By Li Zheng, Pan Lingying, Liu Pei, and Ma Linwei

The development and application of water-saving technologies in all sectors of the coal industry could make a dramatic impact.China has been experiencing rapid industrialization and urbanization since the 1980s, with an annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of approximately 10.7% from 2003 to 2011.  Although the rate of growth has slowed, the general trend of an increasing GDP is projected to continue into the foreseeable future. To support this economic development, a corresponding increase in primary energy consumption is also expected.

Coal-Based Electricity Generation in India

By Rangan Banerjee

A young Indian child studies by candlelight during the 2012 massive power outages.Electricity is a critical input needed for the development of any country. As a country develops, the share of electricity in its primary energy mix increases. Since electricity is convenient and clean (from the perspective of local environmental impact), it is preferred as a substitute for other forms of energy. India accounts for about one-sixth of the world’s population, but only 5% of the primary energy use.


Considering Emissions From Amine-Based CO2 Capture Before Deployment

By Merched Azzi and Paul Feron

Figure 1. A generic process diagram of a CO2 capture systemIn recent years, there has been movement at both the national and international levels to regulate atmospheric emissions of CO2. Several potential technologies for carbon capture and storage (CCS) could dramatically reduce global CO2 emissions from fossil-fueled power plants and other large energy-intensive industries. The successful widespread deployment of post-combustion CO2 capture (PCC) presents an opportunity for fossil fuel-based economies to significantly reduce their CO2 emissions while continuing to use their abundant natural resources.

Technology Frontiers

Exploring the Possibilities: The NETL Power Plant Water Program

By Barbara Carney and Erik Shuster

Figure 3. Fort Martin power plant in West Virginia. The water exiting the stack (foreground) and the cooling towers (diffuse cloud in the background) can easily be seen as the cold air condenses the water.Water is essential for thermoelectric power production. In fact, thermoelectric generation is one of the largest usages of water in the U.S. and around the world. However, most of this water is returned to the water body of origin (slightly warmer). Converting heat (fossil fuel, biomass combustion, or nuclear reactions) to electricity is accomplished with the Rankine cycle (i.e., steam cycle).

Advanced Cooling Technologies for Water Savings at Coal-Fired Power Plants

By Sean Bushart

Figure 1. Water flow in once-through coolingElectric power generation requires reliable access to large volumes of water. This need persists at a time of declining supply, when regions of the world are experiencing water constraints due to population growth, precipitation fluctuations, and changing demand patterns. Water constraints could affect future electricity generation technology selection, plant siting, and plant operation.

Water-Saving FGD Technologies

By Anne Carpenter

The ReACT technology, shown above at the Isogo power plant, is an example of water-saving FGD.Coal combustion can lead to the formation of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and small amounts of sulfur trioxide (SO3). Further amounts of SO3 are generated in the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system, which is widely used for NOx control. These oxides can lead to environmental and health problems. Consequently, both international and national regulations have been implemented that limit the amount of sulfur oxides (SOx) and other pollutants that can be emitted from coal-fired power plants. A wide range of commercial flue gas desulfurization (FGD) processes are available to remove SOx from the flue gas.

Supplying Water to Power Plants with Desalination Technology

By Chen Yinbiao and Zhang Jianli

Figure 2. Shenhua’s Hebei Guohua Cangdong Power Plant desalination facilityWater is indispensable to human survival. In recent years, due to climate change, population growth, environmental pollution, and other factors, the lack of freshwater resources in many countries and regions has become a greater concern. Water scarcity is increasingly affecting global sustainable development; hence resolving water shortage problems has become a common focus of nations around the world.

Moving Coal Up the Value Chain

By Daman Walia and Sahika Yurek

OpeningPhoto_editedEnergy projections have shown that coal will be needed to meet today’s and tomorrow’s energy demand. However, overcoming the challenges facing the coal industry, whether legislative, technical, or from activist opposition, will require a shift in traditional thinking around coal conversion; options beyond combustion and liquefaction should become a larger component of the coal conversion industry. Specifically, we believe that employing biotechnology overcomes these challenges by creating clean energy while producing higher-value products that meet the needs of the large agriculture and environmental protection and remediation markets.

Society & Culture

Turning a Liability into an Asset

By Nikki Fisher and Thubendran Naidoo

In the eMalahleni region of South Africa Anglo American has found a way to use excess mine water to fill its own needs, create jobs, and provide clean water to the local community. These homes were built under phase 1 of the project.Water was once thought of as the great unlimited resource. However, the competing demands of agricultural, industrial, and domestic uses, combined with a changing climate, now threaten dwindling supplies. Mining is a water-intensive industry, and coal is often found in regions of the world where water is scarce. Restricted availability in water-limited regions requires mining companies to view water as a strategically important, non-renewable resource.

Connecting Indonesian Communities to Clean Water

By Okty Damayanti

Adaro’s water treatment plant provides clean, reliable water to local communities.PT Adaro Indonesia is working to become a leading Indonesian-based mining and energy group. To achieve this goal Adaro recognizes that it is essential to balance economic, environmental, and social considerations in all its activities and has instituted a Corporate Social Responsibility program. Through proper engagement with stakeholders and careful evaluation of local needs, mining operations can have positive, significant impacts on the community near the mine that extend beyond the anticipated economic benefits.

Global News

Movers & Shakers

Arch Coal announced that Charles Snavely, President of Eastern U.S. Operations, is retiring. Gary Bennett, who has served in various roles at Arch over his 23-year tenure, has been named the successor.

International Outlook

The U.S. Department of Energy announced that it will provide $1 billion in funding to the previously stalled FutureGen 2.0, which will be the world’s first commercial-scale, coal-fueled oxy-combustion CCS project.

Key Meetings & Conferences

Globally there are numerous conferences and meetings geared toward the coal and energy industries. The table below highlights a few such events. If you would like your event listed in Cornerstone, please contact the Executive Editor at cornerstone@wiley.com.

Recent Select Publications

The 2014 World Energy Issues Monitor, which focused on South Africa, found that, for the first time, price volatility and recession have become the primary concerns among world energy leaders.

From the WCA

The World Coal Association has welcomed Whitehaven Coal as its newest member. Whitehaven Coal is a leading coal producer in New South Wales, Australia.


Letters to the Editor

To submit a letter, please email cornerstone@wiley.com.


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