The paper begins by making the following points: The environmental risks of global warming emphasise the necessity for 'clean coal' and there is immense global potential for innovative clean coal technologies; coal can change from "pariah to paragon of virtue" due to its underestimated versatility, and; during the transition to the 'solar age' an energy gap will have to be filled by leveraging all possible means.
The author continues by saying that versatile coal will be key in the interim: "Coal will have good prospects if efforts to engineer its transformation into a clean energy source with a neutral impact on the climate are successful. Abundant deposits and the favourable global distribution will enable a relatively secure energy supply in Germany and the world, particularly when oil and later also natural gas have become scarce and thus expensive," the author says.
He concludes that: "The transition period in which coal may be the only answer could be limited, though. But this would require fast progress on renewable energies as well as on hydrogen research. Breakthroughs of back-stop technologies such as nuclear fusion need much more time. Until then, transformed, more environmentally friendly use of coal will be of the essence."
Posted on 12th March 2007
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