Is there such thing as “clean coal“? Apparently yes, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who are the biggest supporters of the first ever power plant that can capture and store carbon emissions from coal burning. The Kamper County Energy Facility is about to open its doors later this year in Mississippi, and serve as an example that there is still future for using fossil fuels for energy production.
The plant, which is expected to burn more than 4 million tons of coal per year, is part of the big plans of Obama’s administration to reduce emissions. The promise here is that 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide will be captured and stored, making the carbon footprint of the facility lower than that of a typical natural-gas burning plant. According to EPA, the technology that will be implemented in the plant meets all requirements that were listed in the agency’s new climate change rules introduced last year.
The plant will serve as a clear example that coal can still be used for energy production, but without the pollution that is currently associated with it. In addition, by being located right next to the fuel source, the plant will not produce any additional pollution associated with transportation.
However, the investments in the facility at the moment reach the incredible $5 billion, when initially it was estimated to cost $2.4 billion, and it is likely that due to construction delays this number will only go up. Many are still not entirely convinced in the effectiveness of existing carbon capture techniques, not so much that these are not viable, but rather that they are not developed to an extent that can serve as a ground for setting targets and new emission standards. In addition, it is argued that using carbon capture techniques is an excuse to continue burning fossil fuels and only delays the switch to clean renewable energy.
Image (c) The Guardian