Volume 2 Issue 3

Volume 2 Issue 3

From the Editor

Increased Understanding of Gasification

By Liu Baowen

Liu Baowen, Executive Editor, CornerstoneIn 2013, coal accounted for more than 70% of global energy reserves and more than 30% of global primary energy consumption. Thus, for the foreseeable future, coal will remain a principal source of energy. Deploying environmentally-friendly coal utilization technologies is a continuing objective of the coal industry that can offer long-term global benefits.

Cover Story

Gasification Can Help Meet the World’s Growing Demand for Cleaner Energy and Products

By Alison Kerester

“Increased flexibility, vastly increased scale, and new applications are driving gasification technologies to gain greater prominence  than ever before.”Energy is fundamental to economic growth. Economies cannot grow and people cannot raise their standard of living without adequate supplies of affordable energy. The global demand for energy is projected to rise by 56% between 2010 and 2040, with the greatest increase in the developing world. This growing energy demand is a direct result of improving individual prosperity, national economies, and infrastructure, and thus living conditions. With this demand in energy also comes a demand for products to support development.


The Drivers and Status of the Texas Clean Energy Project

By Laura Miller

The site of the Texas Clean Energy Project (photo courtesy of Jason Lewis, U.S. DOE, National Energy Technology Lab)In a single week this past June, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 7-to-2 to affirm the right of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from large industrial sources; four former EPA chiefs, all appointed by Republican presidents, testified before a Senate subcommittee that man’s contribution to climate change is a matter of national security; and a coalition of business leaders, including three former U.S. Treasury secretaries, issued a report detailing economic drivers for combating climate change.

Carbon Pollution Standards for New and Existing Power Plants and Their Impact on Carbon Capture and Storage

By Kyle Aarons

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signs new emission guidelines during the announcement of a plan to cut CO2 emissions from power plants by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030, 2 June 2014, at EPA headquarters in Washington, DC.Using its authority under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing a series of rules to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the power sector. There are separate rules for new plants, existing plants, and modified or reconstructed plants. The proposed new plant rule would require new natural gas plants to be state-of-the-art combined-cycle combustion turbines and new coal plants to use carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to capture and store roughly 40% of CO2 emissions.

India Re-energized

By A.M. Shah

The BJP party’s sweeping victory in India’s recent elections gave Prime Minister Modi the largest majority in recent history.On 20 June 2014, Narendra Modi, the new Prime Minister (PM) of India, listened to presentations given by two of his ministers, Dharmendra Pradhan (petroleum and gas) and Piyush Goyal (power, coal, and new and renewable energy). They briefed him on energy security scenarios as well as their respective plans for the next five years. Modi is hoping that these two ministers can assist him in ringing in an energy revolution in the country.

Strategic Analysis

Developing High-Efficiency, Low-Carbon, Clean Coal in China

By Ni Weidou, Song Shizong, and Wang Minghua

China has achieved near full electrification in recent years, but the country’s energy strategy is being revised.In the last few decades, China has dramatically expanded access to energy and, as a result, has achieved nearly universal electrification. Although this accomplishment is notable, China’s energy mix is facing several pressing issues with important domestic and global implications.

A Coal-Based Strategy to Reduce Europe’s Dependence on Russian Energy Imports

By Roger Bezdek

PrintEurope is dangerously dependent on Russian natural gas (NG): 13 European nations rely on Russian NG for over 50% of their requirements. In addition, Europe relies on Russia for about one third of its oil imports. Europe is acutely aware of this high level of energy dependence, which has been, once again, highlighted by the Ukrainian crisis.

The Reliability and Resilience of the U.S. Existing Coal Fleet

By Janet Gellici

Figure 2-2 ColumnIn May 2014, the members of the National Coal Council (NCC) completed a study for the U.S. Secretary of Energy that assessed the value of the nation’s existing coal generation fleet and identified measures to improve its reliability and efficiency while reducing emissions. This fleet of existing power plants underpins economic prosperity in the U.S., providing direct socioeconomic benefits, energy and price stability, environmental progress through continuous technology advancements, and job creation opportunities.

Technology Frontiers

Improving the Case for Gasification

By Harry Morehead and Juergen Battke

Shenhua Ningxia Coal Group’s coal-to-polypropylene project, Ningxia Provence, PRCGasification is a technology with a long and checkered history. It was widely used to produce “town gas” for lighting and cooking in the 1800s before it was replaced by electricity and natural gas. Yet its commercial deployment for industrial applications and power generation has been limited, despite several attempts to kick-start the industry.

The Shell Coal Gasification Process for Reliable Chemicals, Power, and Liquids Production

By Rob van den Berg, Zhong-Xin Chen, and Sze-Hong Chua

South Korea is investing in its first IGCC plant, full site as of 31 May 2014 shown above (photo courtesy of Korea Western Power Co. Ltd).Environmentally responsible gasification technologies are helping to unlock the world’s coal reserves with increasing efficiency. The synthesis gas (syngas) produced is being used in chemical and integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) plants worldwide. China, in particular, has embraced coal gasification technology as a way of using its abundant, indigenous coal reserves efficiently and with low environmental impact to manufacture methanol, ammonia, hydrogen, and synthetic liquid hydrocarbons.

Distributed Power With Advanced Clean Coal Gasification Technology

By Carrie Lalou

SES’ Zao Zhuang New Gas Company Joint Venture Plant that produces methanol from coal—Shandong Province, China (SES ~98% ownership)One major barrier for clean coal gasification technologies being implemented into conventional energy sectors has been the perception that a large capital investment is required to move away from a natural gas or oil feedstock to a solid feedstock such as coal or biomass, and the conversion thereof. Historically, this has marginally been the case in some places where gasification projects have been implemented to “fuel” chemical, power, fertilizer, and other energy projects.

Moving Forward With the Huaneng GreenGen IGCC Demonstration

By Xu Shisen

A 250-MW capacity IGCC power station was designed, constructed, and operated under Phase I of the GreenGen Plan.China has abundant coal reserves, but is short on oil and gas resources; therefore, its power generation fleet is expected to rely primarily on coal for the long term. However, coal-fired power generation can result in undesirable emissions such as particulate matter, SO2, NOx, Hg, and large quantities of CO2. As global environmental concerns mount, especially those related to climate change, controlling criteria emissions and greenhouse gas emissions has become increasingly important.

Society & Culture

The Benefits and Challenges Associated With Coal in South Africa

By Rob Jeffrey, Rosemary Falcon, and Andrew Kinghorn
Sasol plays an important role in reducing reliance on imported oil by producing synthetic transportation fuels.

Sasol plays an important role in reducing reliance on imported oil by producing synthetic transportation fuels.

The important role that coal has played in South Africa’s economic development is often downplayed in today’s world, where fossil fuels are frequently denigrated. Coal supplies over 70% of the country’s energy needs, over 90% of its electricity requirements, and over 95% of its metallurgical carbon (coke) requirements. While these percentages are likely to decline in the long run, they are likely to remain significant over the next 30 years, failing which serious long-term damage to the economy could result.

Global News

International Outlook

Bangladesh’s government has approved the country’s first coal-fired power plant, which will be a 1200-MW ultra-supercritical station that will receive support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Movers & Shakers

BHP Billiton announced that Graham Kerr, currently Chief Financial Officer, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer designate of the new company that BHP Billiton plans to form in a demerger.

Recent Select Publications

Energy Technology Perspectives 2014Harnessing Electricity’s Potential — International Energy Agency — In a special section focused on India, the IEA explores how India can utilize all of its energy resources to provide energy access to all its citizens.

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.

From the WCA

The World Coal Association (WCA) has published two new policy statements highlighting the importance of sustainability and safety to the global coal industry.


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.