State Journal: NETL exploring new clean coal tech

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Morgantown, April 9, 2018 | comments
The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory is pioneering new tools and methods to make the nation’s coal-fired power plants cleaner and more efficient.
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory is pioneering new tools and methods to make the nation’s coal-fired power plants cleaner and more efficient.

George “Geo” Richards, Energy Conversion Engineering Senior Fellow at NETL, said today’s coal-fired plants are operating in a very different way than they did 10 or 15 years ago.

“The issue is we’re seeing a growth in renewable energy to the grid,” he explained. “Coal plants sometimes need to reduce their output, and that can make it hard to operate existing plants.”

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Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., is a proponent of the energy technology research conducted by NETL. To keep it going, the congressman worked with senior appropriators within the House of Representatives to secure resources to boost fossil fuel research and development through the rest of 2019.

This came in the form of increased fossil energy research by $59 million. McKinley also worked to protect the lab from closures and reorganizations and to direct funding to develop state-of-the-art clean coal power plants.

“We’re encouraged to see that NETL’s funding was increased in the bipartisan spending deal. The facility in Morgantown has been on the forefront of energy research, particularly into clean coal technologies. With this boost, we will now be able to take these innovations off the shelf and put them to use,” McKinley said.

“When speaking with employees at NETL, their top concern is the threat of facility closures or reorganizations. Our office works every year to prevent this, and we were successful again. This was a big win for the First District,” he added.

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