Dr Malgorzata Wiatros-Motyka of the International Energy Agency’s Clean Coal Centre has published a blog post on her attendance at a conference in India focused on the country developing the world’s first advanced ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plant. As Dr Wiatros-Motyka explains, research and development into such plants has been going on for two decades, but the key sticking point has been the development of materials capable of withstanding the high temperatures (above 700oC) required to deliver the efficiency promises of the technology. Progress has been made on developing the materials, although it does not seem to have been commercialised as yet. Nevertheless, India expects to build an advanced ultra-supercritical plant within a decade, and the blog argues that such an achievement would set a pathway to reducing carbon dioxide emissions around the world. According to Dr Wiatros-Motyka’s figures, around 2 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions per year could be cut if all coal-fired power plants were upgraded to the most efficient plant technology demonstrated today (around 47%), though it is inevitable that carbon capture and storage will also need to be applied to coal-fired plants if they are to operate in a low/zero-carbon future.