search Council's (NRC) Committee on the Strategic Assessment of the U.S. Department of Energy's Coal Program addresses the future role of DOE in research, development, demonstration, and commercial application (RDD&C) programs on coal-based technologies. In particular, the committee was asked to recommend, in broad strategic terms, the emphasis and priorities that DOE ought to consider in updating its coal program and responding to EPACT. The committee's major recommendations are given in this Executive Summary. Detailed conclusions and recommendations regarding DOE's coal program, and its relationship to EPACT, can be found in Chapter 10. Throughout the report, costs are based on utility financing, and fuel higher heating value (HHV) is used as the basis for energy efficiency figures (see Glossary).

THE DOE COAL PROGRAM

Coal-related activities within DOE currently fall under two main budget categories: Fossil Energy (FE) R&D and the Clean Coal Technology (CCT) program. The CCT program was initiated in 1986 and is scheduled to run through 2004, with the specific objective of demonstrating advanced coal technologies at a large enough scale for the marketplace to judge their commercial potential. All CCT projects involve cost sharing between DOE and industry, with the industrial partners contributing at least 50 percent of the cost of the technology demonstration, as well as playing a major role in project definition and in ensuring eventual commercialization. Five solicitation rounds (CCT-I through CCT-V) have been conducted, resulting in 45 active projects with total funding of $6.9 billion, of which DOE is providing $2.4 billion (34 percent).1

The congressionally mandated CCT program complements the FE R&D program, which has been in existence since the inception of DOE and forms the continuing basis of DOE's coal program. The annual funding level for the FE R&D program, which encompasses oil, natural gas, and coal, has remained relatively constant at the low- to mid-$400 million level for fiscal year (FY) 1992 through FY 1994. However, the oil and natural gas budgets have grown at the expense of the coal budget, which was $167 million in FY 1994, with a proposed reduction to $128 million for FY 1995. However, DOE also has proposed that the natural gas budget for fuel cell and gas turbine activities be increased from $74 million in FY 1994 to $112 million in FY 1995. These two programs are also integral components of advanced coal-based power systems. The FY 1995 budget proposal reflects an overall increase in the FE R&D budget for advanced power generation technologies.

The coal portion of the FE R&D program is divided into three major components: Advanced Clean Fuels, Advanced Clean/Efficient Power Systems, and

1  

Throughout this report, all costs, prices, and so forth, are given in constant 1992 dollars unless otherwise specified. An exception is DOE budget data, which are quoted in current dollars.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement