Monday, September 21, 2009

Pitt Hosts International Coal Conference

Pitt’s 26th International Coal Conference is underway downtown with over 400 experts from 26 countries—including most of the G20 countries. Everyone is welcome to hear the very latest developments in technologies for the more efficient and environmentally responsible use of coal and coal byproducts.

Conference director Badie Morsi,Director of Petroleum Engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School says enormous quantities of coal are used around the world—especially in the U.S., China and India--and the abundant resource is likely to be used for some time to come. Therefore, technologies are needed to clean coal before, during and after combustion. Morsi says the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Lab has made progress recently in carbon sequestration, injecting carbon dioxide into minable coal seams in West Virginia.

There are proven technologies to make synthetic fuel from coal. Under an oil embargo during Apartheid, Morsi says South Africa developed a process of using coal to make clean gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. A reactor in Qatar is producing 34,000 barrels a day, and Shell has a plant in Malaysia using a slightly different process. This synthetic fuel is economically competitive when oil costs $75 a barrel or more.

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