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18th International Low-Rank Fuels Symposium
June 24-26, 2003

Symposium Summary

The 18th International Low-Rank Fuels Symposium was held on June 24-26, 2003, at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana, in Billings, Montana. The ever-increasing demand for electricity and energy in the United States and the world has made it a necessity to have efficient and environmentally acceptable energy sources. Low-rank coal is a significant component of the world's energy portfolio. The symposium provided a forum for industry, government, and research organizations to share up-to-date information on the role of low-rank fuels in meeting energy demands, new research findings, current industry needs, and areas of future research.

Low-rank coal comprises about half of both current utilization and the reserves in the United States and is the largest energy resource in the United States, Russia, Central Europe, and much of the Pacific Rim. Coal-based generation is expected to grow by 25% over the next two decades, supplying 46% of a larger total demand by 2020. The future utilization of these coals faces both challenges and opportunities, including emissions control; more efficient, lower-cost combustion and gasification technologies; and the new vision of a hydrogen economy. With new government regulations on mercury emissions expected out later this year, understanding these issues and the science, policies, and regulations surrounding them are more critical than ever.

To shed further light on the upcoming legislation, two U.S. Senators and one of the nation's top energy officials delivered keynote addresses during the conference. Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT), Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), and Rita Bajura, Director of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), discussed the current chaLow-Rank Fuel Symposiumllenges of environmental standards as well as new methodologies for low-rank coal.

The symposium also featured an opening panel of five international coal industry experts, which included panelists from Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Three optional presymposium workshops conducted by EERC researchers where also held.

Organizing Sponsors
The symposium was organized and sponsored by the University of North Dakota (UND) Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC), the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory, and EPRI.

About 150 people from 25 states and 12 countries attended the 18th International Low-Rank Fuels Symposium. Six cities from Colorado where represented, four from North Dakota, five from Pennsylvania, and six from Montana. Other states represented include Alabama, California, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, and Wyoming. Countries represented in addition to the United States included Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkey.

Coal Suppliers: 8%
Equipment Vendors: 3%
Utilities: 18%
Reasearch/Academia: 40%
Government: 10%
Industry/Construction/Engineering: 9%
Other: 12%

Technical Coordinators

  • Thomas A. Erickson, Associate Director for Research, Energy & Environmental Research Center
  • Steven A. Benson, Senior Research Manager, Energy & Environmental Research Center
  • John C. McDowell, Project Manager, U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory
  • David O'Connor, Manager, Combustion/Performance, EPRI

Attendee Comments

  • "Being surrounded by the intellect and expertise of the participants broadened and heightened my appreciation for research and development in the scientific area."
    -Mark Lindberg, Montana Governor's Office
  • "This conference has a great blend of practical information for anyone involved with energy or environmental work."
    -Doug Hajicek, EERC
  • "This is an excellent venue for networking among low-rank coal entities and should be continued every two to three years."
    -Chris Zygarlicke, EERC
  • "A Near-perfect mix of scientific and applied papers."
    -Sankar Bhattacharya, CRC - Clean Power for Lignite, Mulgrave, Victoria, Australia
  • "Lots of attention to logistical details, an excellent social night, and a very "user friendly" conference."
    -Dan Battleson, MSE - Technology Applications

The symposium proceedings are available in a hard copy three-ring-binder, or on CD-ROM for a cost of US$75.00. If you would like a copy of the proceedings, please contact Anne Fiala at afiala@undeerc.org or (701) 777-3119.

If you are interested in participating in an upcoming Low-Rank Fuels Symposium and would like to be added to the mailing lists, please contact Clara Chambers at cjchambers@undeerc.org. You can also write or call us at:
PO Box 9018
Grand Forks, ND 58202-9018
Phone (701) 777-5000
Fax: (701) 777-5181

Sponsored By:

EERC University of North Dakota 15 N 23rd St Grand Forks North Dakota USA 58202-9018
Phone (701) 777-5000 Fax (701) 777-5181