what new techniques or technologies exist to retrieve coal?

Question by Jimmy: what new techniques or technologies exist to retrieve coal?
basically, have we innovated anything to improve the way we retrieve coal or use it? if so, can you please explain the process?

Best answer:

Answer by JustQuestions
Clean coal technology is a collection of technologies being developed to reduce the environmental impact of coal energy generation.When coal is used as a fuel source, the gaseous emmissions generated by the thermal decomposition of the coal, include sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide, and other chemical byproducts that vary depending of the type of the coal being used. These emmissions have been established to have a negative impact on the environment, contributing to acid rain or climate change. As a result, clean coal technologies are being developed to remove or reduce pollutant emissions to the atmosphere. Some of the techniques that would be used to accomplish this include chemically washing minerals and impurities from the coal, gasification (see also IGCC), treating the flue gases with steam to remove sulfur dioxide, carbon capture and storage technologies to capture the carbon dioxide from the flue gas and dewatering lower rank coals (brown coals) to improve the calorific value, and thus the efficiency of the conversion into electricity.
Clean coal technology usually addresses atmospheric problems resulting from burning coal. Historically, the primary focus was on sulfur dioxide and particulates, since it is the most important gas in the causation of acid rain. More recent focus has been on carbon dioxide (due to its impact on global warming) as well as other pollutants. Concerns exist regarding the economic viability of these technologies and the timeframe of delivery, potentially high hidden economic costs in terms of social and environmental damage, and the costs and viability of disposing of removed carbon and other toxic matter.
Coal, which is primarily used for the generation of electricity, is the second largest domestic contributor to carbon dioxide emissions in the USA.The public has become more concerned about global warming which has led to new legislation. The coal industry has responded by running advertising touting clean coal in an effort to counter negative perceptions and claiming more than $ 50 billion towards the development and deployment of “traditional” clean coal technologies over the past 30 years; and promising $ 500 million towards carbon capture and storage research and development.
The world’s first “clean coal” power plant went on-line in September 2008 in Spremberg, Germany. The plant is owned by the swedish company Vattenfall and has been built by the german firm Siemens. The plant is called Schwarze Pumpe power station. The facility captures CO2 and acid rain producing sulfides, separates them, and compresses the CO2 into a powder. Plans are to inject the CO2 into depleted natural gas fields or other geological formations. This technology is considered not to be a final solution for CO2 reduction in the atmosphere, but provides an achievable solution in the near term while more desirable alternative solutions to power generation can be made economically practical.The CO2 will remain a powder inside the ground until it either warms to a temperature above -109F (-78C) or the pressure around it is lower than 1 atmosphere. It would be easier to change the CO2 gas back into a rock than store it in rocks, where CO2 will expand and rise to the surface once it warms up.

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