Clean Coal Technology Glossary

Baseload Power:

Baseload power is the amount of power required to meet the minimum consumer demand for electricity generation.

Carbon Capture:

The process of separating relatively pure carbon dioxide gas as a by-product of industrial processes (including synthetic ammonia production hydrogen production and limestone calcination) and electricity generated from fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas.

Clean Coal Technology:

The entire suite of technologies – both pre- and post-combustion – that can be used to reduce the environmental footprint of coal-based electricity plants. These technologies include devices that increase the operational efficiency of a power plant, as well as those technologies that reduce emissions.

Carbon Dioxide:

A colorless, odorless, non-poisonous gas that is a normal part of Earth’s atmosphere. It is an unavoidable product of the combustion (oxidation) of carbon in fossil fuels (hydrocarbons) and biomass (carbohydrates). It is a greenhouse gas, along with water vapor, methane and others such a chlorofluorocarbons.

Coal Gasification:

The process of converting coal into synthetic “natural” gas by a process using incomplete combustion to create carbon monoxide (CO). The CO is transformed into a substitute natural gas through chemical interaction with a catalyst for use as a fuel or further processing and concentration into an industrial feedstock or liquid fuel.

Carbon Sequestration:

The fixation (or storage) of atmospheric carbon dioxide in a geological or biological sink.

Enhanced Oil Recovery:

Techniques used to recover residual petroleum resources left behind in depleted oil reserves through the injection of water and gases, such as carbon dioxide, into the oil-bearing geological strata.

Flue Gas:

Emissions from fossil fuel combustion that are directed into the atmosphere through an enclosed passageway or stack. In modern facilities, the flue gas first is directed through a series of devices designed to rid the gases of specific emissions (e.g., sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and mercury) before its released into the atmosphere.


A private-public partnership to design build and operate the world’s first coal-fueled, near-zero emissions power plant. The facilities design is intended to support the testing of carbon capture and sequestration.

Greenhouse Gas:

Any one of a group of gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor (clouds) and a variety of manmade chemicals that trap the sun’s radiant energy and prevent it from passing back out of the Earth’s atmosphere and into space.

Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC):

A technology for generating electricity that utilizes coal gasification to produce a synthesis gas. The “syngas” undergoes a cleaning process that removes particulates and sulfur compounds. The gas is then converted into electricity using a combustion turbine. Waste heat from the gasification process is used by additional turbines to generate supplemental electricity (a combined cycle) thereby increasing the efficiency of converting coal into electricity. The process integrates coal gasification with a combined cycle, both of which enjoy a long operating experience; it’s their integration that is innovative.

Marginal Cost:

A change in cost in conjunction with a change in units of quantity supplied or produced.

Nitrogen Oxides (NOx):

Compounds of nitrogen and oxygen produced by the combustion of fossil fuels.

Particulate Matter:

A small mass of solid or liquid matter that remains individually dispersed in gas or liquid emissions. It can take the form of an aerosol, dust, fume, mist, smoke or spray.

Pilot Project:

An activity planned as a test or trial.


Post-combustion technology that utilizes a chemical reaction to trap emissions, such as sulfur, present in flue gas to prior to its release into the atmosphere.

Sulfur Oxides (Sox)

Compounds containing sulfur and oxygen, such as sulfur dioxide (S02) and sulfur trioxide (S03), created when coal, containing sulfur, is combusted.

Super Critical Technology:

A subcritical steam generation unit operates at pressures such that water boils first and is then converted to superheated steam. At supercritical pressures, water is heated to produce superheated steam without boiling. Due to the improved thermodynamics of expanding higher pressure and temperature steam through the turbine, a supercritical steam generating unit is more efficient than a subcritical unit.

Ultra-Supercritical Generation:

Ultra-supercritical (USC) steam generation represents an increase in steam cycle efficiency. A USC unit operates above supercritical pressure and at advanced steam temperatures above 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit (593° C), resulting in a more efficient steam cycle. This increased efficiency reduces fuel consumption, reagent consumption, solid waste, water use and operating costs.

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