Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization
The Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization was announced by Washington University in December 2008 as a project designed to "bring university researchers, industries, foundations and government organizations together to research clean coal technology, making St. Louis the nation's center for clean coal research." The project will be run by the university's International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability (I-CARES). The program is funded in large part by Peabody Energy and Arch Coal, the nation's two largest coal companies.
Announcing the project, Washington University stated that "the consortium will foster work to explore co-combustion of coal with biomass or combustion of coal in pure oxygen, both of which can lead to reductions in carbon emissions. Other studies of approaches to carbon capture and storage will also be a part of the consortium's work."
In December 2008 Arch Coal announced that it would contribute $1 million a year for a five year period to fund the establishment of the Center. Peabody Energy will also contribute $5 million over five years and Ameren will contribute $2 million over the same period.
On November 4, 2009, concerned students at Washington University protested their university's use of the term "clean coal" in the Consortium's name by organizing a flashmob of over 100 students and a banner drop during the reception for the university sponsored America's Energy Future Symposium that hosted coal, nuclear, and genetically modified biofuel representatives.
On October 1, 2010, Wash U's Green Action, the Sierra Club, and the Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) held a conference of their own -- the Climate Solutions Forum 2010 -- to rival a Wash U's symposium on its Advanced Coal Research Facility.
Taking inspiration from the movie Yes Men, Brian deSmet of St. Louis created the website Consortium for "Clean Coal" Utilization stating that the Consortium was dedicated to "perpetuating the myth that coal can be used in a clean and sustainable manner," a "public relations tool for industry," advancing coal industry "propaganda," and distorting "public understanding" and hindering "real solutions." DeSmet is under legal pressure from Peabody Energy to shut the site down.
Email: cleancoal AT seas.wustl.edu
Articles and Resources
- Washington University, "Washington University research to advance clean coal technology", Media Release, December 2, 2008.
- Keegan Hamilton, "Wash U. Students Want University to Come Clean on Coal Research" Daily RFT, Oct. 1, 2010.
- Arch Coal, "Arch Coal Pledges $5 Million to Washington University's Energy Consortium to Advance Clean Coal Technology", Media Release, December 2, 2008.
- Will Fischer, "WashU flashmob confronts Coal Executives", It's Getting Hot in Here, November 4th, 2009.
- Nicholas Phillips,"Peabody, Wash U. Lock Horns with Man Behind Clean Coal Consortium Parody Website" Riverfront Times, Jan. 8 2010.
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