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Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Feb 5;47(3):1704-10. doi: 10.1021/es303341j. Epub 2013 Jan 11.

Two-in-one fuel combining sugar cane with low rank coal and its CO₂ reduction effects in pulverized-coal power plants.

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Clean Fuel Department, High Efficiency and Clean Energy Research Division, Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER), 71-2, Jang-dong, Yuseong, Daejeon 305-343, Republic of Korea.


Coal-fired power plants are facing to two major independent problems, namely, the burden to reduce CO(2) emission to comply with renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and cap-and-trade system, and the need to use low-rank coal due to the instability of high-rank coal supply. To address such unresolved issues, integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) with carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been suggested, and low rank coal has been upgraded by high-pressure and high-temperature processes. However, IGCC incurs huge construction costs, and the coal upgrading processes require fossil-fuel-derived additives and harsh operation condition. Here, we first show a hybrid coal that can solve these two problems simultaneously while using existing power plants. Hybrid coal is defined as a two-in-one fuel combining low rank coal with a sugar cane-derived bioliquid, such as molasses and sugar cane juice, by bioliquid diffusion into coal intrapores and precarbonization of the bioliquid. Unlike the simple blend of biomass and coal showing dual combustion behavior, hybrid coal provided a single coal combustion pattern. If hybrid coal (biomass/coal ratio = 28 wt %) is used as a fuel for 500 MW power generation, the net CO(2) emission is 21.2-33.1% and 12.5-25.7% lower than those for low rank coal and designed coal, and the required coal supply can be reduced by 33% compared with low rank coal. Considering high oil prices and time required before a stable renewable energy supply can be established, hybrid coal could be recognized as an innovative low-carbon-emission energy technology that can bridge the gulf between fossil fuels and renewable energy, because various water-soluble biomass could be used as an additive for hybrid coal through proper modification of preparation conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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