Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

As a result, the MIT researchers recommend that governments not support the new gasification plants over conventional plants. Instead, they say that governments should focus on large-scale demonstration programs that would, for the first time, capture carbon dioxide from coal plants, transport it, and store it at a large scale. The project would need to handle a million tons of carbon dioxide. Such demonstrations would make it possible to compare different technologies, increase policymaker and public confidence that capture and sequestration technology can work, and pave the way for quick adoption of the best technologies in response to a price on carbon dioxide.

Without such a demonstration, warns the report, a rush to cut carbon emissions would lead to spiking costs and further delays, and that would make it difficult for power producers to meet energy demand.

Although the DOE does spend a significant part of its resources on developing cleaner coal technology, the researchers say the agency’s efforts are underfunded and not focused on the most promising approaches. For example, the DOE strategy promotes advanced coal plants that do not include carbon-dioxide capture technology. And although the DOE’s FutureGen project has the potential to be a large-scale demonstration of power generation and carbon sequestration, its emphasis has been on research, not on the sort of work that will reveal system costs, the MIT authors say.

The demonstration projects the MIT researchers envision will take years. Meanwhile, the researchers suggest that governments take action by establishing a carbon-control policy. That will include, among other things, closing a potential loophole that may encourage utilities to build coal plants now without carbon capture in the hope that they can avoid future regulations.

Gain the insight you need on energy at EmTech MIT.

Register today

18 comments. Share your thoughts »

Credit: Kevin Bullis

Tagged: Energy, energy, MIT, carbon dioxide, global warming, emissions

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me
×

A Place of Inspiration

Understand the technologies that are changing business and driving the new global economy.

September 23-25, 2014
Register »