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6th IEA CCC Conference on Clean Coal Technologies, 12-16 May, Thessaloniki

Attendance numbers were slightly down for CCT2013, but this reflects
the state of the global economy rather than the quality of the event. CCT2013
easily maintained the high standard set by previous conferences in the series.

About 140 delegates from 28 countries attended the
Conference, set in the ancient Greek city of Thessaloniki.  It was a broad programme: there were sessions
on carbon capture including oxyfiring, pre-combustion and post-combustion
carbon capture; combustion; gasification; cofiring; mercury; emissions and
their control; low rank and low grade coals; coal characterisation; coal
preparation and upgrading; underground coal gasification; and international
perspectives.

Presentations at CCT2013 reinforced the view that there is a
massive need for coal-fired power generation, and major efforts are underway to
make it cleaner. The importance of RD&D was highlighted in Thessaloniki. There
was an emphasis on carbon capture, as at previous CCT events, but at this conference
there were more papers on other aspects of coal use and various ways to reduce
emissions which reflects the slow take-up of CCS.

Didier Houssin (IEA) gave the opening plenary and updated
the audience on the work of the IEA. As he pointed out, the demand for coal is
still increasing and the share of non-fossil fuel generation has failed to keep
pace with that of fossil fuels. He stressed that demand for energy is growing
and that greater efficiency is possible. Increasing the global average efficiency
of the coal-fired fleet could have a substantial impact on reducing emissions
of CO2.

Other plenary lectures were delivered by Dr Ibrahim
Gulyurtlu (LNEG, Portugal), Dr Peter Redlitch (Department of Primary
Industries, Australia) and Dr Marion Wilde (European Commission, Belgium). According
to Dr Redlitch there is 430 bt lignite in Victoria, and about 2 bt has been
used in the last 90 y. The lignite is near the surface, comprises 60-70% water,
only 2% ash, and has an average energy value of 8 MJ/kg when wet. The lignite
is generally used for electricity generation and is not exported. As a result
of the Energy Technology Innovation Strategy significant sums of money have
been given to pre-commercial technologies such as the Otway Brown Coal Innovation
Australia, CO2CRC Otway Basin CCS pilot project and the CarbonNet Project which
has identified a good potential for carbon storage in Victoria. Currently the
potential for a large-scale multi-user CCS network in Gippsland is being
investigated.

Dr Wilde described the EU Energy Roadmap which shows that CCS
is needed for the long term future of coal in the EU. The 2030 Framework for
Climate and Energy Policy green paper published on 27 March 2013 has three
objectives; sustainability, security of supply and competitiveness. There is a
new Energy Efficiency Directive and an Energy Infrastructure Package.

There were many papers on developments in oxycombustion,
pre- and post-combustion capture of CO2. But there were also interesting papers
on a wider range of topics such as binding coal and biomass to make briquettes
for cofiring, energy issues for Mongolia, the state of play in underground coal
gasification, emissions control, efficiency improvements and how to reduce
mercury emissions.

In conclusion, as Dr Topper said in his wrap-up speech, the
‘EU is tickling CCS rather than tackling it’. Research on CCS has made good
progress and is not holding back commercial use of the technologies – rather
the finance and legislation is not in place. So it is even more vital that a
broad range of work continues to reduce emissions from coal-firing and to
improve its efficiency.

Delegates outside the conference centre at CCT2013

CCT2015 will be held in Krakow, Poland in May 2015.

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