Coping with carbon: a near-term strategy to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power stations

Burning coal to generate electricity is one of the key sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions; so, targeting coal-fired power plants offers one of the easiest ways of reducing global carbon emissions. Given that the world’s largest economies all rely heavily on coal for electricity production, eliminating coal combustion is not an option. Indeed, coal consumption is likely to increase over the next 20 – 30 years. However, the introduction of more efficient steam cycles will improve the emission performance of these plants over the short term. To achieve a reduction in carbon emissions from coal. red plant, however, it will be necessary to develop and introduce carbon capture and sequestration technologies. Given adequate investment, these technologies should be capable of commercial development by ca 2020.