In 1952, coal burning caused such heavy smog in London that pedestrians couldn’t even see their feet, and thousands of people died from ill health. Since then, many countries have deployed technology to remove most of these pollutants before they reach the air.
But now we have a new air pollution problem on our hands, one that doesn’t show up in a cloud of dark smog, but in rising seas, floods, and heat waves. It’s global climate change, and again, the main culprit is coal. It’s responsible for 44% of global carbon dioxide emissions, which trap the sun’s heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, instead of letting it escape.
So now the question is how do we remove that bad stuff as well? That’s the idea behind cleaner coal. Creating cleaner coal is really about trying to contain its ill effects with the help of special technologies that make the end product more acceptable. Just like the most intriguing superheroes often have their own dark powers to overcome, so we can try and keep coal’s negative forces in check.
For three ways we might strip coal of its foul forces, view the TED-Ed Lesson How to create cleaner coal – Emma Bryce
Animation by Artrake Studio