With Peabody Energy the latest victim of the woes in the coal market, any glimmers of light are welcome. News recently out from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) may provide a glimmer.

Researchers at MIT have proposed a way to generate electricity from coal that combines two well-known, existing, technologies: fuel cells and coal gasification. Its advantage? The generation process' fuel-to-electricity efficiency could be up to twice that of existing coal powered plants. Consequently CO2 emissions could be halved for each unit of power produced.

Since electricity is going to be continue to be generated using coal for some time to come yet, such an innovation would be most welcome.

U.S. Electricity Generation at Utility Scale Facilities – Coal (% of Total)

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

About the Author:
Charl P. de M. Malan is a Senior Analyst at VanEck specializing in base and industrial metals, coal and steel. Before joining VanEck, Mr. Malan was an equity research sales analyst specializing in South African mining, natural resources, and financial sectors at JPMorgan Chase. He was previously an equity research analyst and junior portfolio manager at Standard Corporate and Merchant Bank, Asset Management (South Africa).

The article above is an opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of MV Index Solutions or its affiliates.