An introduction to Clean Coal
“Clean Coal” is a process of coal mining that uses the “carbon capture and storage” method. Coal mines that operate this way take the carbon emissions that are released during the removal of coal and bury them underground. New Gen Coal released a YouTube Video that explains the process in detail.
The term was popularized by large coal companies in the mid 2000s when congress was making decisions about environmental policies. There is currently one clean coal plant in the United States, it is called the Petra Nova project and it is located in Texas. The technology and equipment for this style of mining is expensive and there are no current plans of building another clean coal plant in the states at this time. This Washington Post article details the bill of that project and another clean mining project that has since been abandoned.
The Problem with Clean Coal
As a result of President Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy Rule, states are allowed to create their own plans to regulate greenhouse gasses. If the states that have coal plants do not have strict regulations on the emissions of greenhouse gasses, there is no incentive for coal-powered plants to spend money and time implementing the “carbon capture and storage method.”
President Trump’s Definition of “Clean Coal”
President Trump has referred to “clean coal” in other instances than coal-powered plants that employ the “carbon capture and storage” method. For example, there is a coal plant in Arkansas that Ultra Supercritical mining technology that emits less carbon than older plants, President Trump has referred to this technology as “clean coal, too”.
In this YouTube video, taken from a State of The Union Address, President Trump celebrates the removal of regulations on energy and the end of the “war on American Energy.” President Trump used the term “clean coal” to refer to at least three different types of mining technology. It is clean that President Trump is unclear on the definition of the “clean coal”. That poses the question, “If the person responsible for creating the regulations surrounding energy doesn’t know what the process is, how can he properly regulate it?