|Top energy experts to discuss future of western coal power generation|
A group of the nation’s top energy experts has been assembled for the opening panel of the Symposium on Western Fuels: 20th International Conference on Lignite, Brown, and Subbituminous Coals, Oct. 24–26, at the Marriott Denver Tech Center in Denver, Colo. The panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities for western coals in meeting our current and future energy needs. Carl Bauer, director of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will moderate the panel discussion. Panelists include Carl Sulzer, manager of Generation Services, Great River Energy; Tony Facchiano, area manager, Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI); Robert Wayland, leader, Combustion Group, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air Quality, Planning, and Standards; Frank Prager, managing director of Environmental Policy, Xcel Energy, Inc.; and Mike Holmes, deputy associate director for Research, Energy & Environmental Research Center.
The United States has enough coal to meet our growing energy needs for hundreds of years. Western coals offer the lowest fuel cost for fossil-based electric generation, but they present unique challenges and opportunities for utilization in the energy industry from both the environmental and operational perspectives.
“We are all working together to resolve the issues and take advantage of the opportunities that have arisen. At this 20th conference focused on low-rank western fuels, we not only need to continue our focus on the issues associated with the rank and composition of the coal, but also on how to capitalize on the tremendous opportunities on the horizon for western coals,” said panel coordinator Mike Holmes.
Growth opportunities for western fuels also include synthetic liquid fuel production and the production of hydrogen for the emerging hydrogen economy. According to DOE’s Energy Information Agency (2006), western coals will continue to gain market share as new plants are built and coal-to-liquid technologies are installed. The Symposium on Western Fuels will feature more than 80 presenters from 10 countries, and 400 attendees are anticipated. The symposium is sponsored by the EERC, DOE NETL, and EPRI. The three-day event runs through Oct. 26 and is open to the public. To access details about the program, visit our web site at sww.undeerc.org/wfs.