Recommendations9
  1. *An expanded DOE role should be established to ensure the timely availability of the most efficient and economic gasification systems for future uses of coal in power generation and in the production of clean gases and liquids.
  2. A research program should be established to improve the efficiency of gasification systems suitable for clean fuels production. The DOE program for improvement of gasifier efficiency also should include systems that produce methane directly and are applicable to both SNG and power generation.
  3. No direct program on SNG manufacture is recommended.
  4. *DOE's R&D program for coal liquefaction technologies should be continued at least at the FY 1994 level, with the goals of decreasing the cost of coal liquids and increasing overall efficiency.
  5. Within DOE's coal liquefaction program, the effects of efficiency and other improvements on reducing CO2 production should be considered.
  6. Within the DOE program on coal liquefaction, highest priority should be given to direct coal liquefaction research, concentrating on fundamental coal chemistry and innovative process development.
  7. DOE sponsorship of small pilot plant facilities should be continued to test and improve liquefaction technologies, but larger pilot plants should not be built in the near-term without significant private sector participation.
  8. *An assessment of strategies and opportunities for coproduction of premium liquid fuels and gasification-based power should be an important component in planning a program for the introduction of liquid fuels from coal.

SYSTEMS ANALYSIS AND STRATEGY STUDIES

One critical activity identified by the committee that is not highlighted in DOE's current planning documents is systems analysis. This activity is essential to assessing coal R&D needs and priorities and to strategic planning. Given the expanding number of process options for advanced power generation, fuels production, and environmental controls, which designs are the most promising to pursue? How should complex processes be configured to achieve optimal results? How should individual components be designed to maximize performance and minimize cost? How do advanced process concepts compare to currently commercial technology and to each other? What are the most promising markets for advanced technologies, and what are the greatest technical risks? How do the various technical and economic uncertainties for new process designs affect projections of performance and cost, and how can targeted R&D best reduce critical uncertainties? A well-designed systems analysis program should be able to address such questions.

9  

Asterisks (*) identify the most important recommendations.



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