The reduction of carbon emissions and mitigation of climate change have been a constant theme in COSPP magazine à‚— and will remain so, for cleaner, leaner, more intelligent use of fossil fuels (plus biomass and various waste gases) make economic and environmental good sense. So some readers may be surprised to learn that a perhaps remarkable amount of installed CHP capacity continues to be coal-fired and that à‚— like it or not à‚— more may be on its way.
Coal (charbon, carbone) à‚— there’s no avoiding the fact of its carbon credentials. And, while the technology now exists to greatly clean up many of the non-carbon emissions from the use of coal, capturing and then storing the carbon is still a long way off. That much-used term ‘clean coal’ still doesn’t (usually) count carbon as a pollutant.
One way of minimizing the carbon emissions per unit of energy extracted and used is to ensure that coal plants run in CHP mode, with the heat being put to good use, and two features in this issue address the use of coal-fired CHP. Jason Hayes and Paul Newall describe a number of large-scale plants in Denmark and Germany (some high-tech/high efficiency, others less so) that provide power, but also a heat supply locally. Representing the American Coal Council, they believe a coal renaissance offers opportunities for coal-fired CHP in North America. Meanwhile, Chen Jian writes about the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, where some 6000 MW of CHP is installed (generally in industrial applications) and most of which is also coal-fired. While some may not like coal per se, the fact remains that using it in CHP mode does help improve the environmental balance.
Alongside these features, others look at improving CHP plant efficiency (through thermal storage and through gas turbine efficiency); another investigates support mechanisms and incentives for CHP in several markets. We also look specifically at the established, yet still-growing Texas market and at opportunities for CHP in the livestock industry. Finally, an article by Alessandro Galli and Justin Kitzes explores how use of decentralized energy can help reduce the overall ecological footprint of nations around the world.
Editorial Director, COSPP
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