From the Editor
By Liu Baowen
Water 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%.
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.
By Diego Rodriguez
With 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.
By Holly Krutka
Nobuo 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.
By Wang Xianzheng
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.
By Aleksandra Tomczak
With 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.
By Tianyi Luo, Betsy Otto, Tien Shiao, and Andrew Maddocks
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.
By Li Zheng, Pan Lingying, Liu Pei, and Ma Linwei
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.
By Rangan Banerjee
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.
By Merched Azzi and Paul Feron
In 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.
By Barbara Carney and Erik Shuster
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).
By Sean Bushart
Electric 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.
By Anne Carpenter
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.
By Chen Yinbiao and Zhang Jianli
Water 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.
By Daman Walia and Sahika Yurek
Energy 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
By Nikki Fisher and Thubendran Naidoo
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.
By Okty Damayanti
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
The World Coal Association has welcomed Whitehaven Coal as its newest member. Whitehaven Coal is a leading coal producer in New South Wales, Australia.
To submit a letter, please email email@example.com.