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Coal Gasification


It's no news flash that, over the years, one of the dirtiest sources of energy has been coal; in fact, it's among the top contributors to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The challenge, according to the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration, is that coal accounts for about fifty percent of all the energy produced in the U.S.

Luckily, new technologies already in use are making coal a cleaner-burning fuel.

Coal gasification is based on a technology that's been around since the 1850s. Rather than burning coal directly, it's exposed to steam and oxygen under high temperatures and pressures. The chemical reaction produces gases.

So, how "green" is it? Well, the byproduct from coal gasification, hydrogen, is considered one of the cleanest burning fuels on earth. Yet, there is still the environmental impact of mining coal and transporting it. And, the process itself has a few glitches, like it still has carbon as part of the mix.

While scientists continue looking for ways to capture and get rid of carbon for good, like burying it underground, reducing your own energy needs will help. After all, one bright idea deserves another!

Script by Bob Rhein

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