The goal and purpose of the Center for Coal Technology Research (CCTR) is to address the vital issue of determining suitable coal technologies which will meet the economic and environmental priorities of Indiana. In the short run, the current decision processes of purchasers of Indiana coals, primarily the electric utilities, need to be better understood. Then in the long run, the technology factors that will control future coal use in Indiana, the Illinois Basin and Midwest region generally need to be assessed as they are more varied.
Energy provides a foundation for the economy of Indiana, the U.S., and the world. Increases in the price of oil and natural gas have caused hardships for residential, commercial and industrial users and shifts in the economic activities of the nation. In Indiana, like the rest of the U.S., our energy comes from various sources. Coal is particularly vital as it is the fuel used for most of our electricity generation and represents the state's largest natural energy resource.
In the 1990s natural gas was seen as the answer to clean energy for space heating, process heat and new electric generation. It is clean and efficient and in those years was quite affordable. The basic law of supply and demand caught up with its increased use in the 2000s and is now exorbitantly expensive. There is a growing need for other sources of energy but these sources must also be environmentally friendly. Economics and environmental considerations are the two great issues in determining where the clean fuel supplies are to come from.
There is no shortage of energy resources in Indiana or the U.S. There is a scarcity, however, of the low cost oil on which the nation has become dependent. Petroleum has increased in price by 50% in the past 2 years; natural gas prices have raised that much in one year. Both have the effect of directly increasing the cost of living and doing business in the U.S. The question to be addressed therefore is how Indiana can meet the energy needs of its people and the region while also maintaining and improving environmental quality, as well as keeping prices relatively low.
The nominal fuel prices for Indiana show the stability in Indiana coal prices. This makes a very strong case for promoting 21st century coal usage that is economically sound and also meets stricter requirements for pollution. Clean coal is a major component in providing the answer for our energy supplies. The new clean coal fired generation technologies are now available and it is only a matter of finding the means and determination necessary to deploy them. These technologies are meeting sound economical and environmental standards and provide the infrastructure needed for co-production of potentially significant amounts of transportation fuels (Coal-To-Liquid).
Indiana mines over 35 Million Tons (MTons) of coal a year, or about 3.5% of total U.S. coal production. Indiana's demonstrated reserve base is over 9 Billion short Tons, enough to maintain current state withdrawals for over 250 years.
Projects being currently supported within the state by the CCTR are:
- Assessment of the Quality of Indiana Coals
- Factors that Affect the Design and Implementation of Clean Coal Technologies in Indiana
- Coal Gasification to Use Indiana Coal for the Production of Metallurgical Coke
- Reclaiming Indiana's Coal Fines
- Coal Transportation Infrastructure In and Around Indiana
- Production and Use of Transportation Fuels from Indiana Coals
Marty W. Irwin, Director
Phone: 765.494.7414 or 317.232.8970
Steven F. Son, Associate Director
Indiana Center for Coal Technology Research
Energy Center at Discovery Park
203 S Martin Jischke Drive
West Lafayette IN 47907-1971 USA
Phone: 765.494.7037 (leave message, please)