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Coal Utilization Technologies Center

The EERC has been involved in research and development of clean coal technologies for over 50 years and is the world's leading research and development center for coal, with special emphasis on low-rank coal. EERC research, development, demonstration, and commercialization programs are designed to embrace all aspects of energy-from-coal technologies from cradle to grave, beginning with fundamental resource characterization and ending with waste utilization or disposal in mined land reclamation settings. Today’s energy and environmental needs typically require the expertise of a total-systems team that can focus on technical details while retaining a broad perspective. The EERC’s expertise in coal gasification provides unique opportunities for developing innovative approaches to produce hydrogen, synthetic natural gas, and liquid fuels from coal.

Since its founding in 1951, the EERC has conducted research, testing, and evaluation of fuels, combustion and gasification technologies, emission control technologies, ash use and disposal, analytical methods, groundwater impacts, cofiring technologies, and advanced environmental control systems.

Today's energy and environmental needs typically require the expertise of a total-systems team that can focus on technical details while retaining a broad perspective. The EERC team has more than six decades of applied research, development, and demonstration experience producing energy from all ranks of coal.

Advanced Power Systems

EERC research addresses technical and cost barriers affecting the commercial deployment of advanced power systems and opens new opportunities for greatly improving the efficiency and environmental performance of electrical power generation from fossil fuels, both in repowered and new plants. The EERC is committed to:

  • Developing advanced power systems.
  • Testing coals, catalysts, and sorbents.
  • Resolving operational and material issues.
  • Providing access to a wide array of equipment and expertise for gasification testing through pressurized and nonpressurized systems.
  • Providing test analysis through bench- and pilot-scale advanced combustion equipment.
  • Developing new energy technologies including fuel cells based on hydrogen.
  • Participating in full-scale demonstration of advanced power systems.

Improving Performance of Conventional Power Systems

The EERC has established a strong network of expertise to understand and improve current coal-fired power plants and other electric generating systems. The EERC is committed to meeting customer needs by providing solutions to a wide array of operational problems in order to improve performance of today's utilities. EERC capabilities include:

  • Modeling to optimize the clean and efficient operation of all conventional boilers.
  • Advanced analytical methods to support the fastest, most detailed understanding of coal-based technology.
  • Field testing to verify environmental performance of coal-based power systems.

Responding to Environmental Issues

The EERC is committed to deploying innovative environmental technologies to make the world a better place to live. EERC emission control research has led to the revamping of numerous emission control technologies for existing energy facilities. It is also providing the understanding of and solutions to critical design issues for next-generation equipment needed to control harmful emissions such as fine particulate and mercury from incinerators, refineries, and other industrial sources. The EERC accomplishes this through a variety of programs and activities:

  • The EERC's Center for Air Toxic Metals® (CATM®) is recognized as a world leader in mercury measurement and control technologies.
  • Through the EERC's Coal Ash Research Center, the EERC is leading the nation in the utilization and disposal of coal by-products.
  • The EERC has conducted projects directly focused on the technical issues facing the commercial production of coalbed methane in lignite, including coal resource assessment, disposal of produced water, and resource extraction, as well as other projects directly or indirectly relevant to the commercial production of coalbed methane.
  • The EERC is recognized internationally for its technical expertise and strategies to remove pollutants from coal-fired power plants, particularly NOX reduction strategies.