• Researchers in South Africa working on clean coal in view of future African demand

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

wide-ranging article on Energy Central has looked at clean coal research in South Africa and the African continent’s wider energy picture. At the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, a team of nine academics and 20 masters and doctoral researchers led by Professor Rosemary Falcon are investigating cofiring possibilities with bamboo, pre-combustion cleansing of coal and other clean coal possibilities, paying particular attention to the characteristics of different coals from different regions. The aim is to make coal firing minimally environmentally impactful as South Africa and Africa more widely grows its use of the fuel. New coal-fired power plants are planned in Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa, amongst others, and energy demand in Africa is growing rapidly. While the West is generally pulling away from coal-firing, some of the researchers at Witwatersrand are adamant that Africa needs coal. Mr Samson Bada, for instance, told Energy Central “I am tired of being lectured by people in rich countries who have never lived a day without electricity. Maybe they should just go home and turn off their fridge, hot water, their laptops and lights. Then live like that for a month and tell us, who have suffered for years, not to burn coal.” Powerful words indeed.