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New Process May Make "Clean Coal" More Viable

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Ohio State researchers think they’ve hit on a way to make “clean coal” more of a reality. They’ve developed what they say is a new, more affordable technique to generate electricity from coal without the pollution. ideastream’s Anne Glausser has more.

Friday, February 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm

The traditional way to get energy from coal is to burn it.

But burning releases pollutants like carbon dioxide.

Technology exists now that can capture that carbon before it enters the atmosphere, but it’s very expensive.

So clean coal’s kind of been at a financial road block.

L-S (Liang-Shih) Fan and his team at Ohio State think they’ve found a way around that.

It’s a process called “chemical looping” that they say draws the energy out of coal, and captures carbon much more cheaply.

They powered a small test site for over a week to show that the process worked.

FAN: I think we proved the point, and there’s tremendous potential for this technology to be scaling up and eventually be of commercial use.

The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The OSU team is collaborating with Barberton-based energy company Babcock and Wilcox to further test out this technique.

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