Clean Coal

Is coal really clean?

People have been using coal for thousands of years. Today, America uses a lot of coal -- around half of the electricity generated in this country comes from it. There's been a lot of talk about whether or not clean energy can come from using carbon capture techniques. In order to understand the issue, we should know what clean coal is and how it works.

Why Do They Call it Clean Coal?

Clean coal is a term used for new technologies that reduce the amount of gases released from burning coal, such as carbon dioxide (CO2). Coal is a major, if not leading, contributor to the amount of CO2 released in the United States, and as a result, tighter environmental regulations have been set in place. Clean coal technology is continually being researched and developed to meet these CO2 capture regulations.

Carbon Capture Techniques

Clean coal integrates a variety of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies that reduce the effect coal has on the environment and make it safer to use. While these technologies do not fully eliminate harmful gases released from coal plants, they can drastically reduce it. Many believe that by using CSS, clean coal is created. A clean coal technology company can remove up to 90 percent of other harmful gases, such as nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide.

There are different carbon capture techniques to safely trap, or sequester, CO2 and put it somewhere to reduce the damage to the atmosphere. These techniques include putting some of the carbon dioxide from coal plants back into the earth -- many believe CO2 can be stored in the earth for millennia.

Why Is Clean Coal Energy Popular?

Since coal supplies so much of our electricity, clean coal technologies and practices are thought to reduce the effect on the environment. Americans are highly dependent on coal, so when the opportunity came to make coal more environmentally friendly, it stuck.

Consumers of clean coal energy enjoy the low cost and predictable prices. Compared to other countries, the United States has an abundance of coal. Since coal has become one of its main sources of energy over the years, the price has always remained steady, whereas other sources, such as wind powered generators, can still widely vary in price.

Many people believe that clean coal diversifies our energy supplies. Using a variety of energy sources from several providers essentially eliminates the creation of monopolies controlling the industry, and this competition keeps costs down.

It's up to you, the consumer, to decide what form of energy you rely on. Understanding your options is the best way to make your decision.

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