Capturing Carbon on Campus
Peabody advocates for clean coal technologies to reduce carbon and other emissions. We have invested $300 million over the past two decades in global partnerships and projects in Australia, China and the U.S. to deploy today’s clean coal technologies and advance next-generation solutions toward the ultimate goal of near-zero emissions from coal-fueled power plants.
Just a few miles from Peabody’s headquarters in downtown St. Louis, researchers at the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization (CCCU) are working to score major breakthroughs in low-carbon technology. Housed within Washington University’s Advanced Coal & Energy Research Facility is a functional one-megawatt thermal coal-fueled power plant test site, a state-of-the-art facility where early-stage technologies conceived in laboratories and developed into pilot projects are evaluated to determine their scalability. Industry, faculty and students test carbon capture, emission controls, biomass combustion and co-firing, oxy-coal combustion, novel burner designs and process efficiency improvements. Among the facility’s innovative features are the large-scale photobioreactors used to produce algae. As algae undergo the natural process of photosynthesis, the growing organisms work to capture and consume CO2 from the exhaust gas coming from the test furnace.
The CCCU was established in 2008 with seed money from Peabody, St. Louis-based Arch Coal and St. Louis regional utility, Ameren, with a goal of advancing technologies that foster clean utilization of coal through creation of an international partnership between universities, industries and government organizations. The Consortium is helmed by Richard Axelbaum, Ph.D., the Jens Professor of Environmental Engineering Science, who believes coal will continue to be an important part of the future energy scenario, even in a carbon-constrained world.
“We need more emphasis on policy development and implementation for use of coal in a cleaner manner, particularly in developing countries. These nations need to eliminate household use of coal for heating and cooking, and instead promote its use in larger centralized plants. The resulting lower electricity costs will drive increased economic development in those regions,” stated Dr. Axelbaum.
Investment Principles for Best-in-Class Coal Companies
We expect coal to be an essential source of global electricity generation and steel making for many decades to come. The world needs coal to meet growing energy demand at a time when urban populations are projected to increase by 1.4 billion over the next 20 years and people embrace lifestyles powered by modern energy.
With energy being vital to life, and future energy needs heavily reliant on coal, we submit that investors consider the following principles to assess whether their target investment companies meet the vast majority of the following standards consistent with best-in-class coal companies.
Operate safe workplaces, commit to continuous improvement in incidence rates and establish safety as a top priority principle.
Maximize resource recovery.
Seek ongoing improvement in environmental performance.
Disclose which mines provide mountaintop-removal-free production.
Commit to restoring mined lands for generations that follow.
Respect human rights and indigenous people who are potentially impacted by mining activities.
Drive partnerships and policy to achieve universal access to modern electricity.
Engage with government, academia and other stakeholders to address major energy challenges.
Clean Coal Technologies
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Support greater deployment of advanced coal technologies and next-generation carbon capture, use and storage technologies.
Support and drive policies to achieve the goal of near-zero emissions in the world’s next-generation coal-based electricity generation fleet.
Peabody Honors Cleanest Coal-Fueled Plants
Through our third annual Peabody Clean Coal Awards, Peabody seeks to honor quality work to advance high-efficiency, low-emissions (HELE) generation and low-carbon systems. Awards are based on data available from the Environmental Protection Agency for the lowest sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions rates, in addition to the best efficiency (as measured by heat rate), which results in a lower carbon footprint.
Starting in 2016, Peabody also recognized industry pioneers advancing modern, large-scale carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) projects, with review by an independent panel of CCUS subject matter experts.
2016 winners showcased tremendous environmental success and progress toward large-scale carbon dioxide (CO2) capture technologies that Peabody believes are essential for meeting environmental goals.
The following U.S. coal-fueled power plants were recognized for top environmental performance:
Dynegy’s Coffeen Plant: Best SO2 emissions rate among U.S. coal plants. The Coffeen plant has a SO2 emissions profile that is 99 percent better than the U.S. coal fleet average. The 915-megawatt power plant operates in central Illinois and is over 50 years old. Coffeen uses low-sulfur Powder River Basin coal and added a wet scrubber in 2009.
Southwestern Electric Power Company’s (SWEPCO) John W. Turk Jr. Plant: Best NOx emissions rate among U.S. coal plants. The Turk plant has a NOx emissions profile that is 79 percent better than the U.S. coal fleet average. The 600-megawatt ultra-supercritical power plant was built in Fulton, Arkansas, by SWEPCO, a unit of American Electric Power, and began commercial operation in 2012.
Longview Power LLC’s Longview Power Plant: Lowest heat rate among U.S. coal plants. The Longview plant operates at a level of efficiency 15 percent better than the U.S. coal fleet average. Longview’s best-in-class heat rate of 9,003 Btu per kilowatt hour in 2015 continues to improve, and the company’s current efficiency performance is on track to be below 8,900 Btu per kilowatt hour. The 705-megawatt supercritical power plant located in Maidsville, West Virginia, was commissioned in 2011.
Mississippi Power’s Kemper County Energy Facility: CCUS Pioneer. The 582-megawatt Kemper facility located in Kemper County, Mississippi, employs Transport Integrated Gasification technology that is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 65 percent. Judges applauded the facility’s innovation in the areas of ash removal and CO2 separation, noting “the technology holds great promise for future new electric power plants.”
NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration’s Petra Nova Carbon Capture Project: CCUS Pioneer. The Petra Nova project demonstrates commercial-scale deployment of post-combustion carbon capture and is designed to capture approximately 90 percent of CO2 emissions from a 240-megawatt equivalent slipstream of flue gas from the W.A. Parish plant in Thompsons, Texas. Judges commended the project’s innovative capture technology, observing that it “represents the first large-scale retrofit of an existing coal-fired power plant.”