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A Cup Half Full: Answering the Question “Why Coal and How Coal?”

U.S. coal exports are booming; domestic generation is easing; global metallurgical coal demand is strong; American natural gas and renewables are tough competitors; new coal plants continue to be built in large numbers particularly in Asia; opponents call for divestment from fossil fuels; recent policies represent potential opportunity. Just another year in the dynamic coal…

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Regional State of the State: Association Leaders Look to the Future

Recently, I spoke with the leaders of four of the nation’s state coal associations and asked them to discuss their experiences over the past few years, to assess the current status of the industry in their states and regions, and to share their views of the industry’s future strengths and opportunities. Those interviewed included Phil…

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Tipping Points and Taking Action for Grid Resilience

Summer’s sweltering afternoons are receding into fall’s delightfully crisp mornings, soon to be followed by winter’s cold, snow and ice. Through all seasons, Americans continue to count on the reliable flow of electricity. From homes to hospitals, banks to schools, farms to factories, police stations to firehouses, medical labs to military bases, telecommunications to mass…

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Tracking Coal through the Process of Steel Making

Granite City, Illinois is the quintessential American small town. It has a population of about 26,000 and for more than 100 years, its economy has largely been dependent on the local U.S. Steel manufacturing plant. For most of that time the community lived with the assurance that comes with an economy centered on basic industry.…

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Coal to Products, A Carbon Valley and Future New Uses for Coal

Coal has a bright future. That future, however, may not look the way many people expect. In fact, there could come a day where coal is considered too valuable to burn. Earlier this year, researchers from some of the nation’s most innovative universities, research institutes, laboratories and energy companies — the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,…

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Unlocking a Hydrocarbon Arbitrage from Coal

For almost 100 years, the energy industry has struggled to find a cost-effective way to upgrade coal into oil. Coal has historically been traded at six times less than oil (on an energy-adjusted basis). Closing this value gap is the greatest opportunity in today’s global energy market, estimated at a staggering $20 trillion over the…

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Turkeys in November?

At this time, no one can confidently predict the outcome of the midterm elections. Not while President Donald Trump is the daily newsmaker-in-chief. What we can say with confidence is what will happen to coal in November if Republicans lose control of Congress – for the same reason we’re confident what will happen to turkeys…

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Thermal Hydrogen: A Formula for Efficient, Emissions-Free Coal Use

By Jared Moore, Ph.D. With abundant natural gas supply available for the foreseeable future, coal must find new ways to compete. Though coal is still much cheaper, natural gas has fundamental advantages that enhance its competitiveness in the electricity sector: capital costs, efficiency and emissions.  For coal to remain competitive under increasing emissions constraints, a bold…

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Where Now?

By T.L. Headley, American Coal Council Prior to the election of Donald Trump as president this past November, many people were busy writing the coal industry’s obituary. Contrast that with what is transpiring in 2017 – the coal industry has experienced a significant increase in year-over-year production, many laid-off coal miners are returning to work,…

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The Future of Rare Earth Elements May Lie with Coal

By Mary Anne Alvin, Evan Granite and Charles Miller, DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory Few people think of coal when they think of high-tech devices. However, that may soon change as researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) work to recover materials called rare earth elements (REEs) from coal…

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“Hillbilly Elegy”: A Memoir of a Family and Culture

Reading author J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy” is like a Sunday afternoon drive from my home in Huntington, West Virginia, to my hometown of Harts – 70 miles and a world away. Vance paints portraits of men and women who populate my memories. How could it not be so? After all, the author is a distant…

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