Monday, December 03, 2001

New process may boost coal-fired plants

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — A new way of turning coal into gas by removing most of the troublesome chemicals involved in the process could make building coal-fired electric power plants affordable again.

        Two companies recently announced that they intended to build such plants in Ohio.

        Nordic Energy of Ann Arbor, Mich., has announced plans for an 850-megawatt plant on an abandoned industrial site outside Ashtabula in northeast Ohio.

        Global Energy, a Cincinnati-based company, plans to build a 540-megawatt plant in Lima.

        Federal clean-air regulations have discouraged construction of coal-fired power plants because their emissions of soot, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, mercury and carbon dioxide cause health and environmental problems.

        Development of clean-coal technology has caused environmentalists opposed to coal-fired plants to change their minds.

        Said Kurt Waltzer, clean-air program manager at the Ohio Environmental Council: “If all of Ohio's coal plants moved to this, we would be close to eliminating the leading cause of air pollution.”

        Plans for the cleaner coal burners come as Congress debates legislation that would mandate further reductions in nitrogen-oxide and sulfur-dioxide emissions and require lower emissions of mercury and carbon dioxide from power plants.


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