resources other than gas or petroleum. Programs were undertaken on technologies to exploit coal, oil shale, tar sands, biomass, and other nonconventional domestic resources, but these programs have now largely been abandoned.

Coal gasification technologies have been pursued extensively by private industry. Gasification is a critical step in converting coal to electricity, liquid fuels, or synthetic natural gas, and/or any number of chemicals, including methanol, petrochemicals, and ammonia. Commercial coal gasification plants in the United States include the Great Plains Gasification Plant, the Dow gasification-cogeneration plant, and the Tennessee Eastern syngas-to-chemicals plant.

Coal technologies to produce electric power have been pursued extensively by both the private sector and DOE. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), which is funded by the utility industry, is developing advanced electricity generation technologies powered by coal, with a current annual coal R&D budget of approximately $150 million, excluding cosponsors' funds. In addition, the private sector will contribute approximately two-thirds of the total $6.9 billion budgeted for the DOE's CCT program.

International Activities

In Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, the most important consideration for future coal use is environmental. R&D programs within the OECD emphasize the development of cost-effective clean coal technologies to limit sulfur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and CO2 emissions from power plants (IEA, 1993). A number of OECD countries, including the United States, are also pursuing R&D individually to compete for the large anticipated markets for clean coal technologies in China, India, and other non-OECD nations. Outside the United States, the major effort to develop clean coal technologies is within the European Union (EU). Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization is funding a clean coal technology program, and there are limited clean coal technology developments in Australia, but these activities are not of the magnitude of the U.S. effort to develop and commercialize clean coal technologies.

EU coal programs are aimed at ensuring the availability and use of technologies for clean, cost-effective exploitation of coal, which provides nearly 40 percent of EU power generation requirements. The EU Energy Demonstration program (1978-1989) provided financial support to pilot and demonstration projects in liquefaction, gasification, and combustion of solid fuels. EU grants totaling 302 million ECUs made up about 40 percent of the program costs (ECUs = European currency units; at present 1 ECU = US$1.15). The EU THERMIE program (1990-1994) was aimed at promoting greater use of European energy technologies and at developing new clean processes, notably for the combustion and conversion of solid fuels. EU funding for this program was about 150 million ECUs annually, with additional funding coming from industry participants and



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