Tall Tales of Clean Coal

30 01 2009

Clean coal does not exist. All plants currently using coal to produce electricity emit CO2 as a byproduct.

Throughout the Obama/Biden campaign our president vowed to “develop five ‘first-of-a-kind’ commercial scale coal-fired plants with clean carbon capture and sequestration technology.” Clean coal plan. I am an Obama supporter, but this claim is unfeasible. Not only will this technology cost extraordinary amounts of money to develop, but after the byproducts from burning coal are “captured and sequestered,” then where do they go?

What happens when those captured byproducts escape? On Dec. 22, 2008 several residents of Knoxville, TN found out first-hand. The Associated Press reported the spill, “sent 1.1 billion gallons of ash and sludge into a rural neighborhood surrounding the plant.” Not only did this mess take about $1 million per day to clean up, but ash containing radium and arsenic were released — both of which can “have serious health implications.”

Furthermore, the EIA (environmental information administration) does not predict any decrease in CO2 emission for the next 15+ years. To see this forecast click here and choose the spreadsheet on the left labeled co2.