''coal refineries"—to meet demands for both power generation and fuels. This strategy would reduce the financial risk associated with constructing large stand-alone liquefaction plants, although some increase in the financial risk associated with the power plant may be anticipated.
The committee recommends that an assessment of strategies for coproduction of premium liquid fuels with gasification-based power be an important component in planning a program for the introduction of liquid fuels from coal.
Advanced coal-based systems for the production of electricity, fuels, and other products are characterized by increasing technical complexity and an expanding number of process options. Given the constraints on funding for DOE's coal program, and the high cost of developing and demonstrating advanced systems, the committee noted a need for quantitative assessment of the relative merits of different systems and subsequent choice of options to be pursued. Systems analysis has the potential to assist in such assessments, notably in selection of the most promising designs, optimization of complex process configurations, assessment of performance and cost advantages, process risks and tradeoffs, and targeting of R&D to reduce critical uncertainties. Although DOE has a systems analysis activity spread among headquarters and its Morgantown Energy Technology Center (METC) and its Pittsburgh Energy Technology Center (PETC), the committee concluded that a major shortcoming of the current approach is a lack of systematic methods, assumptions, and design premises within and across the full suite of advanced energy conversion and environmental control processes.
The committee recommends an expanded and more prominent role for systems analysis in the development of RDD&C strategies within DOE's coal program. This activity should establish a clearly stated and consistent set of criteria, assumptions, and design premises that can be applied to all technologies in a given category to facilitate rigorous comparisons. Advanced methods of analysis, design, and risk evaluation should be adopted, and extensive interaction with the user community—notably U.S. industry—and active dissemination of major study results and methods should be pursued.
One application of the systems analysis activity identified by the committee is a thorough assessment and optimization of gasification systems, taking into account the likely future spectrum of gasification products. Similar assessments are also required for advanced power systems.