CLEAN coal-fired power plants that bury greenhouse gases will be up and running in five to ten years but will be money-losers unless governments impose tougher policies for fighting global warming.
CLEAN coal-fired power plants that bury greenhouse gases will be up and running in five to ten years but will be money-losers unless governments impose tougher policies for fighting global warming, experts said yesterday.
The technology could be applied to the ESB's coal-fired power station at Moneypoint, a plant which has been identified as the single largest producer of greenhouse gases in the country.
A spokesman for the ESB said that it would "look at any new technology aimed at reducing emissions", but added that the carbon capture technology was so new that it had not had a chance to study it.
Moneypoint is currently undergoing a ?360m overhaul designed to reduce emissions, mainly of sulphuric and nitrous oxides, which will extend its life by about 15 years. Data from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that between 2003 and 2005 Moneypoint emitted 16.8m tonnes of CO - but as the coal-fired Moneypoint complex meets about 14pc of Ireland's power needs, closing it is not an option.
A breakthrough to enable power generators to capture and entomb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas widely blamed for heating the planet, would be a giant technological leap towards "clean coal" worth tens of billions of dollars.
"Carbon capture could be demonstrated technically viable within five to ten years but there's still no commercial incentives," said Harry Audus, general manager of the International Energy Agency (IEA) greenhouse gas research and development programme.
"So it's up to the politicians to get the commercial incentives in place," he said. The IEA advises governments in developed nations on energy policy.