Combining gasification with fuel-cell technology could boost efficiency of coal-powered plants
Most of the world’s nations have agreed to make substantial reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions, but achieving these goals is still a considerable technological, economic, and political challenge. The International Energy Agency has projected that, even with the new agreements in place, global coal-fired power generation will increase over the next few decades.
Finding a cleaner way of using that coal could be a significant step toward achieving carbon-emissions reductions while meeting the needs of a growing and increasingly industrialized world population.
Now, researchers at MIT have come up with a plan that could contribute to that effort by making it possible to generate electricity from coal with much greater efficiency — possibly reaching as much as twice the fuel-to-electricity efficiency of today’s conventional coal plants. This would mean, all things being equal, a 50 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions for a given amount of power produced.