David Mohler, an Obama-era former deputy assistant secretary for clean coal and carbon management within the Office of Fossil Energy at DOE, has come out to support America’s proposed “Clean Coal Alliance”.
Mohler is amongst other industry experts that have come out to support America’s planned “Clean Coal Alliance”, which is aimed at sharing carbon capture and storage (CCS) and high efficiency, low emission (HELE) technologies with countries around the world.
The former Obama official has recently been to Japan to visit Isogo Thermal Power Station, one of the most efficient coal power plants in the world, which he said: “It could be a country club, and it’s a coal-fired power plant.”
Mohler said: “There’s no coal dust that escapes into the environment, because it’s very self-contained. It’s designed in a way that’s meant to be aesthetically pleasing and clean from the get-go.”
Back home, he said that the US is producing some of the best research in the world on carbon capture technologies and that it is vitally import that these are shared with countries around the world that continue to be dependent on the use of coal, as they do not have the ability to transfer from their current energy mix to one dominated by renewables.
Mohler said: “Even if a plant isn’t being built in the U.S., a lot of them are using technology that is coming from the U.S.” He added: “I think the U.S. labs produce the best research in the world.”
His views represent a stark shift from the wider Obama administration, which largely worked to reduce the use of coal – even with such transformative technologies available.
Mohler used the example of Ukraine, where he has previously worked, as a country that does not have the ability to make the leap to an energy mix focused on renewable energy.
He said: “You can’t move from a 1960s-designed plant that’s providing heat to the Ukrainian people in the winter and being held together with gray tape and baling wire and no money for investment — you can’t just leap from that to an all-renewables future.”
The former chief technology officer at Duke Corp highlighted how important it would be for the US to partner with countries, especially developing countries, that are building the next generation of coal power plants, through a “Clean Coal Alliance” to help them utilise these technologies.