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Net-Negative CO2 Baseload Power is the Only Way to Avoid Stranded Existing Assets



By Bill Reid, Managing Editor, CoalZoom

March 4, 2022 - “Net-Negative CO2 Baseload Power is the only way that the coal powered electricity generation industry can avoid stranding existing assets by meeting the aggressive administration net-zero emissions across the electricity sector. Moreover, it is also the only way that abandoning coal communities can be avoided,” said Steve Winberg, Chairman & CEO, Net-Negative Baseload Generation, in addressing the American Coal Council, Spring Coal Forum held at the Hyatt Clearwater Beach, Clearwater, Florida, earlier this week.


Steve Winberg

A coal-generating plant with net-negative CO2 emissions is a coal plant that uses coal and biomass, likely in the form of pelletized wood, as fuel to generate electricity and has carbon capture, utilization and storage on the backend. Net-negative emissions are possible because when biomass grows, it consumes CO2. In a coal plant that uses, for example, 80% coal and 20% biomass as fuel, the fuel input stream already has a negative CO2 footprint when it reaches the incoming plant gate. If the plant is equipped with 90% + carbon capture on its backend, any CO2 lost to the atmosphere is more than made up for by the negative CO2 footprint of the biomass fraction of the fuel resulting in the plant’s CO2 emissions being net-negative. 

“If Net-Negative Technology is not implemented, there will be premature coal plant retirements which will strand valuable infrastructure and economically hollow-out coal and power communities, explained Winberg. “In addition, electricity reliability will be reduced and electricity costs will be increased which will impact manufacturing jobs and households.”

According to Winberg, Net-Negative technology plan would significantly mitigate these impacts and support grid reliability with carbon negative baseload power. It would create important hydrogen co-product production opportunities. It would also ready the Net-Negative technology for export, thus creating U.S. manufacturing opportunities. The technology would support U.S. allies that have stated policies to continue the use of coal e.g. India and Japan, as well as demonstrate U.S. leadership on pragmatic approaches to address climate change.  

“The Net-Negative CO2 Baseload Power Initiative would secure the economic future of coal communities and protect the baseload power infrastructure, all while addressing climate change concerns,” said Winberg. The complete PowerPoint presented at ACC can be seen here.