International Best Practices Regarding Coal Quality
Coal continues to be the dominant fuel choice for power generation around the world. How that coal is burned can influence the rate and quantity of emissions produced by its combustion. For decades, many countries have established standards and specifications for the quality of coal purchased. Doing so has enabled power plant owners to reduce operating and maintenance costs and improve the thermal efficiency of the boiler. Higher efficiency means that less coal is needed to produce a given quantity of power, resulting in lower CO2, SO2, and particulate emissions. Improved coal quality also results in less solid waste being generated, which can extend the life of existing ash landfills or allow the plant owner to design a smaller landfill footprint at the time the plant is constructed. China today burns more coal than any other country. Based on international best practices for improving coal quality, the paper suggests that China also take steps to improve the quality of the coal, and provides several recommendations for how this could be accomplished.