Lowering emissions with Australian coal

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A technological transformation is underway to reduce the emissions associated with coal-fired power generation.

Hundreds of new high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) coal-fired plants are in operation, under construction or planned in Europe, North America and East Asia led by China and Japan.

These plants operate at much higher temperatures and greater pressures producing reliable, base load energy while reducing CO2 emissions by up to 40 per cent and reducing all other emissions including particulates to negligible levels.

The plants continue to deliver affordable baseload electricity, and will ensure coal has a fundamental role to play in the provision of low cost, reliable energy for the foreseeable future.

Strong electricity demand growth in Southeast Asia and India driven by industrialisation and urbanisation, use of high efficiency low emission (HELE) coal technology and solid population growth will drive a potential 275 million tonne (Mt) increase in annual demand by 2030.

Most of this growth is expected from countries that are existing customers of Australia’s high-quality coal, including Japan, China, India, Taiwan, South Korea and Europe, as well as newer buyers such as Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Australian coal is ideally placed to meet this growing demand from Asian customers because of its high quality – reducing emissions when compared to lower-quality coal from other exporters – and supplier reliability.

Australia is also close to key markets and has good infrastructure availability.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies are also continuing to be rolled out around the world, including the operation of the world's first commercial CCS plant at Boundary Dam in Saskatchewan, Canada. The Boundary Dam plant has slashed CO2 emissions by up to 90 per cent