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UT researchers in quest for cleaner coal.

Carbon capture a myth or possibility?

Coal-burning utilities helping UT researchers in quest for cleaner coal.
Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011

In a four-story test plant just behind a warehouse-like research building in North Austin, University of Texas researchers are hoping for a revolutionary breakthrough to the question of how to continue to burn coal without contributing to global warming.

The mini power plant, only big enough to theoretically power a few homes, pipes carbon dioxide in and captures it with the aid of some fancy stack filters and a variety of solvents. The aim is to capture about 90 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted by the mini-facility and then to scale up the project in a half-dozen years to a commercial plant.

The technology could “keep a (coal plant) going for another 30 years,” said Gary Rochelle, the UT scientist heading the project.

The success or failure of this experiment, along with several others by UT researchers, could help spell the future of coal policy in the United States. Playing a prominent role in paying for and organizing the projects are coal-burning utilities, who have a lot to win or lose if the researchers can show that carbon emissions can be captured and piped underground for storage… READ MORE.