Coal-generated electricity is still the dominant source of energy around the world. Hence, it is believed that coal-generated energy will remain part of the global energy mix in the near future.
An important consideration in designs of modern coal-fired power plant is improving the efficiency. Based on the steam conditions, coal-fired power generation can be divided into plants that use subcritical pressure, supercritical pressure (pressures greater than the critical pressure of 22 MPa), and USC (ultra-supercritical) pressure (use of supercritical pressure together with a steam temperature of 593°C or more).
Many governments and multilateral agencies concur – indeed the OECD has introduced regulations that encourage the use of both ultra-supercritical and supercritical steam generator technology for new coal plants. Ultra-supercritical steam plant technology is today the option of choice for most new coal-fired power stations.
Today these ultra-supercritical plants are becoming standard in many regions. These technically-advanced plants offer greater efficiency than older sub-critical designs and, most importantly, lower emissions.