FutureMetrics: Pellets, CCS offer a future for coal power plants

By Erin Voegele | May 04, 2021

FutureMetrics LLC on May 3 released a new white paper that emphasizes the carbon-negative potential of deploying carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology at pulverized coal (PC) power stations that are modified to use sustainably produced wood pellet fuel.

In the white paper, William Strauss, president of FutureMetrics, stresses that while CCS used in conjunction with fossil-fueled power generation is appealing, the best CCS can achieve with fossil fuels is near carbon neutrality. Pairing CCS with fossil-fueled power generation offers no net reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide. While carbon neutral is good, carbon negative is better, he said.

“If part of an effective strategy for mitigating climate change is to develop ways to optimally subtract CO2 permanently from the atmosphere, then one of the most efficient and economical ways to achieve that goal is to repurpose selected PC power stations,” Strauss wrote.

“Think of the station’s primary purpose as being a negative CO2 pump with a by-product of grid-level constant and reliable electricity,” Strauss continued. “This combination results in a highly cost-effective carbon-negative-plus-power solution. This is only possible with the use of upgraded solid fuel suitable for PC power stations made from renewing biomass: i.e., wood pellets.”

The white paper includes a discussion of working forests and the production of sustainable wood pellet fuel and explains how many countries are already using pellet fuel in place of coal in PC power stations to lower net carbon dioxide emissions.

FutureMetrics has also developed a dashboard that complements the new white paper. Both the new white paper and the accompanying dashboard are available on the FutureMetrics website.