Missouri utility regulators approve Ameren coal plan

Friday, December 9, 2011 | 8:40 a.m. CST; updated 9:21 a.m. CST, Friday, December 9, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri utility regulators have approved a proposal for refined coal at an Ameren Missouri power plant.

Ameren Missouri plans to sell coal and lease part of its property at the Rush Island Power Plant to another company, which will refine the coal and sell it back to the St. Louis-based power company. Buffington Partners plans to use a process that will reduce emissions from the coal.

The Missouri Public Service Commission has approved the proposal. Regulators said the public will benefit from environmental improvements and reduced emissions from the coal. In addition, payments to Ameren will offset plant operations and maintenance costs.



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Ellis Smith December 9, 2011 | 11:46 a.m.

Prerefining of coal is an American technology that is being used in the United States and Australia.

Much of the coal mined in the western United States is classed as "lower rank," having up to 20-30% water. This significantly lowers the coal's caloric value and means we need to use more coal to achieve the heat input required. In burning more coal than we should have to we are increasing carbon dioxide emissions.

In a sense, refined coal is analogous to the difference between coking grade coal on one hand and the coke made from the coal on the other. In both situations the end product has higher caloric value than what it was made from.

[The technology already exists to gasify coal at the mine site and pipe the product to the end user, just as is now done with natural gas. For some reason, the railroads don't like that idea. :)]

(Report Comment)
Paula Lehr December 9, 2011 | 2:24 p.m.

Do you suppose the same person who coined the phrase "clean coal" was the one that thought up "compassionate conservative?"

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