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MEI Online: Environmental Issues: Latest News: January 30th 2004


:: SA Joins Global Clean-Coal Pact

South Africa has joined the international world by signing the International Energy Agency's (IEA) Clean-Coal Science Implementing Agreement this week.

Power utility Eskom's managing director for resources and strategy Dr Steve Lennon opened the IEA technical session on air emission standards and emission reduction technologies, at the Sun City Convention Centre. "Eskom relies on coal-fired power stations to produce approximately 90% of its electricity, using over 90-million tons of coal a year. We are aware of the challenges, mainly environmental concerns, facing coal as an energy source, hence our commitment to clean-coal technologies that minimise adverse environmental impacts," said Lennon. "We took a position in the last ten years of significantly lowering particulate emission from our coal-fired power stations. Our power stations use either electrostatic precipitators or fabric filter plants to remove 99% of all particles. Our plants are optimised to burn low-grade coal," he added. Eskom continues to investigate technologies that will keep its emissions constantly low, at low cost and with high availability, Lennon pointed out.

The focus of the Implementing Agreement on Clean Coal Science is the basic science of coal combustion. Presentations were heard from the scientific and industrial communities of the contracting parties, from the 13 participating countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, the UK and the US. There are a number of technically innovative multipollutant control technologies under development. Legislation is needed to enforce the use of clean-coal technologies and monitoring methods to ensure that the required standards are met in South Africa.

The IEA will hold meetings until January 30, including technical sessions, power plant visits and executive committee meetings.

Currently, about 77% of South Africa's primary energy requirements are provided by coal. Internationally, coal accounts for 36% of total fuel consumption for electricity production. International cooperation is important to ensure the long-term benefits of using clean coal, Lennon explained.


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