Germany opens world’s first carbon-capturing ‘clean coal’ demo plant
Germany will next week open the world’s first “clean coal” plant actually ready to capture and store its carbon-dioxide emissions. The 30-megawatt, $100 million Schwarze Pumpe demonstration plant will burn coal in an atmosphere of oxygen instead of regular air, producing some 10 tons per hour of compressed CO2 that can be captured and buried under a depleted gas field. (Such “oxyfuel combustion” technology is different from the integrated gasification combined cycle systems being pursued in the U.S.) While the project is a step forward for “clean coal,” a full-scale system is many years and many dollars away. By the by, “clean coal” is both oxymoronic and plain ol’ moronic; as one Greenpeace activist sums up, “Our concern is that this technology is used to justify the construction of more coal power plants. It’s too expensive, it will come too late, and it will divert money from the real solutions, renewable energies and energy efficiency.” Not to mention that whole leveling-mountains thing.