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Energy Alternatives: Solar Power, Biofuels, and… Coal?

Could coal, a carbon-rich fuel, be the key to fixing America's rising gas prices?

Coal Power Plant

Photo: davipt (Flickr)

New technological advancements may help alter coal's "dirty" image into a much cleaner one.

Lately, everyone has been stressing over oil  shortages and rising gas prices. And why shouldn’t they? At four dollars per gallon, everyone’s pocket-book has seen better days.

Energy Alternatives

Well, there are other ways to make gasoline, like making it from coal. It’s called coal gasification. The technology’s been around for decades, but it’s always been expensive. Now, researchers have streamlined the process so that it’s more efficient, cheaper, and creates less pollution.

Hold The Phone

But wait a minute. Wasn’t the idea to move away from fossil fuels and toward cleaner, renewable energy sources like biofuels and solar and wind power? Coal may be more abundant than oil, but it’s dirty and emits a lot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

A Popular Fuel

All of this may be true, but we must face the fact that coal is still widely used as an energy resource. For example, China is building hundreds of new coal-powered energy plants. It’s obviously a good investment to figure out ways to burn and liquefy coal that consume less energy and cause less pollution.

Going Green

However, it’s also important to push for research on green energy technologies. And luckily, the improved coal gasification process could also be used to improve biofuel processing technologies.

In any case, it makes sense to find cleaner ways of using coal, especially since it’s still such a popular fuel.

Further Reading

For additional information on coal gasification, check out this article on Wired News.

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