Our Commitment to a Clean Energy Future: Clean Coal Technology

Coal is a fuel for America’s future. And we’re committed to ensuring that future is a clean one. Of course, commitment is more than a word – it requires action. That’s why the U.S. power industry has invested about $90 billion since 1990 to deploy clean coal technologies to reduce air emissions – while at the same time providing affordable, reliable electricity to meet growing energy needs.

Clean coal technology is real – and it is deployed across the U.S. and around the world to the benefit of people and our planet. Congress first coined the term “clean coal technology” in the mid-1980s – long before the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) was formed. Back then, Congress defined the phrase in reference to technologies that reduced sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions. Today, it obviously means a lot more.

Clean coal technology refers to technologies that improve the environmental performance of coal-based electricity plants. These technologies include devices that increase the operational efficiency of a power plant, as well as those technologies that reduce emissions. Early work to develop clean coal technologies focused on efforts to reduce traditional pollutant emissions like sulfur dioxide (SO2); nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are a precursor to smog; and particulate matter. Clean coal technology will continue to improve in response to environmental challenges. Read more +

Our commitment to cleaner more efficient coal-fueled plants is much more than just words. Through 2012, approximately $110 billion has been invested in technology that makes our plants cleaner and more efficient.

To find out more about how our industry’s investment in cleaner coal technology has impacted emissions, check out this report on industry expenditures for emissions controls.

Because of our investment, emissions per kilowatt-hour of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter (PM) from coal-fueled power plants have been reduced by 89.5 percent over the period 1970-2012.

To learn more about how cleaner coal technologies are being used to improve emissions and air quality trends, check out our air quality trends resource page.

Right now, in the U.S. there are at least 15 clean coal technologies being used today in the American coal fleet. By 2015, over 90 percent of the U.S. coal-fueled electric generating capacity will have installed clean coal technologies and other advanced emission controls.

These proposed advancements aren’t just predictions of what’s to come. Right now there are energy companies and plants developing these technologies to make their plant cleaner and more efficient:

  • Kemper CountyMississippi Power Company, a subsidiary of The Southern Company, is currently constructing a 582 MW IGCC power plant in Kemper County, Mississippi. Southern received $270M of DOE support through the Clean Coal Power Initiative to build an IGCC which captures and stores CO2. The captured CO2 will be used in an EOR operation.


  • Summit Texas Clean Energy Project (TCEP) In Ector County, Texas, the Summit Power Group is planning to build a 400 MW IGCC power plant. Summit received $450M of DOE support through the Clean Coal Power Initiative to build their IGCC which will capture approximately 90% of the CO2 from the gasifier. Approximately 20% of the captured CO2 will be used to produce fertilizer with the remaining CO2 used for EOR.


  • NRG Parish Located at the existing W.A. Parish Plant in Houston, Texas, NRG plans to build a 240 MW post combustion capture project. This project, having received $167M from DOE through the Clean Coal Power Initiative, will operate as a slip stream from an existing power plant. The captured CO2 will be used to conduct EOR operations.


  • Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) SCS Energy plans on building a 400 MW IGCC facility in Kern County, California. Supported by a $408M grant from the DOE Clean Coal Power Initiative, this facility will use a fuel mix composed of 75% coal and 25% petroleum coke, a solid fuel produced by the refining process. The project will capture approximately 90% of the CO2 and use it to support EOR and fertilizer production.


  • FutureGen Located in Meredosia, Illinois, the FutureGen Alliance plans to repower a 200MW unit at the Ameren Meredosia facility. This repowered unit will operate as a 200 MW oxy-combustion facility. The unit will capture the CO2 and inject it into a saline formation. This project received a $1B grant from the DOE.
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Carbon Capture & Storage

Today, energy companies are working with the federal government to develop, demonstrate and deploy the next generation of advanced technologies.

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CCT Glossary

Want to learn more about clean coal technologies? Visit our glossary to learn all of the key terms regarding our commitment to a clean energy future.

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CCT Jobs

Today, our nation is focused on economic recovery – and creating well-paying jobs has become the number-one priority for most policymakers.

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