TABLE 4-1 Baseline Scenarios to Assess Coal RDD&C Needs


Near-Term, 1995-2005

Mid-Term, 2006-2020

Long-Term, 2021-2040

Environmental constraints


  • Existing Clean Air Act requirements met by modifying existing coal plants using current or near-term control technologies.
  • By the end of the period, more stringent regulations on fine particulates, NOx, and air toxics may be in place. Concerns may be growing about CO2 emissions.
  • State and local requirements for facility siting and operation continue to push use of state-of-the-art environmental controls.


  • Air pollution control and solid waste disposal requirements become more severe.
  • New CO2 emissions penalties provide new incentives to install high-efficiency, coal-based generating systems and to continue R&D on CO2 removal and disposal options.


  • Maximum-efficiency coal-based systems are required to minimize CO2 emissions; attention is given to establishing CO2 removal and disposal options.
  • Pressure continues to reduce all emissions to absolute minimum and to reuse or recover solid wastes as by-products; advanced emissions control systems are required for coal-based plants.

Foreign Markets (power generation systems)


  • New capacity needs are met by existing technology, but interest grows in more advanced and lower-cost systems for environmental controls.


  • Markets develop for advanced coal-based power generation systems to provide new capacity.


  • Markets grow for proven high-performance systems, but cost competition is severe.

Synthetic fuels from coal


  • Oil and natural gas prices rise but not enough to justify investment in processes to manufacture liquid fuels or synthetic natural gas from coal.


  • International oil prices rise toward the level where products from dedicated coal liquefaction can compete with petroleum products.
  • Production of lower-cost, coal-based liquids in conjunction with gasification combined-cycle systems for power generation becomes economic.


  • High international oil prices lead to major production of liquids from coal.
  • High natural gas demand and prices lead to pioneer plants for synthetic natural gas production in the latter part of this period.

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