On April 22, lawmakers, scientists and bureaucrats met at the Missouri Energy Summit to discuss green alternatives that may be feasible for the state's large institutions, including "clean coal" use at MU. The main reason MU continues to use coal as a significant fuel source is to save money, according to the campus facilities Web site. MU saves $18 to $20 million annually when compared to the price of natural gas.
Burning coal produces about 9 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year nationally, according to the World Nuclear Association. The association said these effects can be reduced and that clean coal can be engineered to produce ash at only .25 percent with minimal sulfur. The association also said that the carbon dioxide produced can be sequestered and "washed" by pumping it 3,000 feet into the Earth, an effort that has been supported by Sen. Kurt Schaefer. To promote these and other possibilities of "clean coal," American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity has launched a $35 billion campaign.
However, "clean coal" has largely been disputed as a myth. Many believe that attempts to create clean-burning coal are an oxymoron of nature. The particles created during the burning and mining of coal have been known to cause asthma, cancer and produce 36 percent of harmful emissions nationwide, according to the blog Yale Enviroment 360.
MU has several scientists devoted to engineering clean burning coal who spoke at the summit and believe that with further research, "clean coal" could be practical.
To learn more about "clean coal" go to world-nuclear.org.
Could "clean coal" make MU more eco-friendly?