Clean Coal Technologies Research, Development, and Demonstration Program Plan

DOE's Office of Fossil Energy is currently developing a "Coal Strategic Plan." As noted in Chapter 1, this document was not available during the conduct of this study. In the meantime, an important source of information on DOE's strategic planning for coal is its Clean Coal Technologies Research, Development, and Demonstration (RD&D) Program Plan (DOE, 1993b). This planning document should be distinguished from the similarly named but programmatically distinct Clean Coal Technology program, that is, the program usually referred to as the CCT program. Activities described in the Clean Coal Technologies RD&D Program Plan include, but are not limited to, the CCT program. For example, development of PFBC systems will involve subsystem and component testing, environmental and economic performance studies, and pilot plant tests, all funded under the FE R&D program; firstand second-generation PFBC demonstrations will be conducted under the CCT program.

The RD&D Program Plan focuses on near-term planning; it does not address requirements for coal utilization beyond 2010. (Thus, the planning horizon corresponds to the near-term period and first five years of the mid-term period defined by the committee.) This plan proposes activities that span the full cycle of technology development, from basic research through demonstration and commercialization. Private industry has an important role to play in all stages, with the degree of industry cost sharing expected to increase as a technology moves toward commercialization. In the CCT program the most promising advanced coal technologies are being moved into the market through demonstration at a scale that permits their commercial potential to be assessed; as noted earlier, industry partners must contribute at least 50 percent of the demonstration costs.

Activities described in the RD&D Program Plan are aimed at enabling the use of plentiful U.S. domestic coal resources while meeting environmental requirements. Specifically, the following two program goals are defined:

  • enabling the use of coal as a secure, low-cost domestic energy source to support economic competitiveness and employment growth and
  • contributing to the environmental acceptability of coal utilization.

Three main program areas are defined: advanced power systems, advanced fuel systems, and cross-cutting technology programs. In the broadest terms these three program areas correspond to the three main budget categories of the FE coal R&D program. However, the advanced power systems and advanced fuel systems areas in the RD&D Program Plan also include CCT activities, and the detailed organization and funding of advanced research and cross-cutting technology programs is complex (see Chapter 9).

The advanced power systems program described in the RD&D Program Plan supports the development of several coal combustion and coal gasification op-

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