tions, which are expected to become commercial at different times. The aim is to enable future coal-fired plants to produce lower-cost electricity with reduced environmental impacts, higher efficiency, and higher reliability levels and to accelerate commercialization of such technologies. This program's strategic objectives are shown in Table 2-3. More specific objectives for individual technologies are presented in the RD&D Program Plan (DOE, 1993b).

The advanced fuel systems program described in the RD&D Program Plan supports technologies to produce clean gaseous and liquid fuels and chemicals from coal, emphasizing liquid transportation fuels. There is no work on production of synthetic natural gas (SNG), except for some activities under coal gasification. DOE's strategic objective for the advanced fuel systems program is to demonstrate by 2010 "advanced concepts for production of coal-based transportation fuels, chemicals and other products" that can compete with petroleum products, when petroleum prices are $25/bbl or greater in 1991 dollars (DOE, 1993b), equivalent to $26/bbl in 1992 dollars.

Different bases may be used for estimating production costs for liquid transportation fuels from coal. The electric utility industry with its relatively predictable selling prices for electricity and stable production costs can attract capital at a lower prime rate than, for example, the oil industry where future product and feedstock prices are much less certain. Major investments are frequently split between a component with relatively assured, but lower, return and a higher return component that will incur a larger risk. In the utility industry a substantially larger component of low-risk borrowed money is more common than in the petroleum industry, where 100 percent equity financing has been more commonly practiced. Hence, the term "utility financing" is frequently used to de-

TABLE 2-3 Strategic Objectives of DOE's Advanced Power Systems Program








Efficiencya (%)










Cost of energy

10 to 20 percent lower than currently available pulverized coal technology

a Based on fuel higher heating value (see Glossary). A DOE presentation to the committee also noted CO2 reduction objectives of 24, 32, 42, and 47 percent for each of the four periods, respectively, based on energy efficiency improvements (Feibus, 1993). All these values are calculated assuming a base plant efficiency of 32 percent.

b Current federal New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) apply to emissions of sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, and particulates from coal-based steam generators.

Source: DOE (1993b).

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