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Very Major Announcement Brings Optimism for the U.S. Coal Industry



August 3, 2021 - A Breaking News announcement on CoalZoom last night (see article here) that the “Net-Negative Carbon Dioxide Baseload Power Act” (H.R. 4891) had been introduced by Rep. David B. McKinley (R-WV), has major implications in providing a lifeline for the coal industry and in saving coal mining jobs by keeping coal-fired power plants open. 

“This is great news for coal and has the potential for saving many thousands of coal mining jobs and power plant positions,” said Bill Reid, Managing Editor, CoalZoom. “It now may be possible to extend the life of coal electricity generating plants and allow the coal mining industry to continue its long tradition of contributing to the Nation by providing reliable, affordable baseload power, now with net-negative CO2 emissions. This is a most exciting development!”

Net-negative CO2 baseload power involves the technology of co-firing 80% coal with 20% biomass plus carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) on the back end. The biomass is in the form of pelletized wood and when it grows it consumes CO2. So, when it reaches the incoming plant gate, it already has a negative CO2 footprint. The plant is equipped with 90% carbon capture, so any CO2 lost to the atmosphere is more than made up for by the negative footprint of the biomass fraction of the fuel. Thus, the plant’s CO2 emissions are net-negative.

The measure is a candidate for inclusion in the Infrastructure Bill. The legislation sustains America’s baseload electricity production capability and addresses climate change concerns, providing a framework for financial incentives to keep coal power plants open. It facilitates the transition of existing coal-fueled power plants from being CO2 emitters to baseload electricity generating assets with net-negative CO2 footprints. 

The application of this technology is the brainchild of Steve Winberg, former Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary, and Ken Humphreys, former DOE Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary. To advance the technology, a new company has been formed, Net-Negative CO2 Baseload Power, Inc. with Winberg, Chairman & CEO, and Humphreys as Senior Vice President, Analysis & Project Finance. Fred Palmer is Senior Consultant.