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Chemical engineers support for coal power station

16 September 2008

IChemE (the Institution of Chemical Engineers) has reiterated its support for the proposed construction of a coal-fired power station in the UK, after six Greenpeace activists charged with causing criminal damage at the station site were found not guilty.

Chemical engineers support for coal power station
Chemical engineers support for coal power station

Speaking to the BBC, Claudia Flavell-While, Editor of IChemE’s The Chemical Engineer magazine said: “Coal has to be part of the solution if we are to have a secure energy supply.

“Chemical engineers will tell you that we need a variety of energy sources, including coal, nuclear, natural gas and renewables if we want to keep the lights on,” she explained.

Last month, Dr David Brown, IChemE Chief Executive told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme that fossil fuels must remain part of the UK’s energy mix: “We’ll need fossil fuels in the coming years if we are to meet energy demands. However, carbon capture and Storage (CCS) technology needs to be implemented – and quickly.

“The CCS technology and know-how already exists and it’s now down to the Government to support industry-scale implementation. The current framework fails to guarantee generators a return on the additional investment required to introduce CCS.”

Andrew Furlong, IChemE’s Director of Policy told BBC Radio Kent he also believes new coal power stations are essential: “There are three ways to generate power – nuclear, renewables and fossil fuels and we need a combination of the three for energy security.

“This isn’t about renewables or coal. We will need renewables and coal, along with gas, nuclear and more besides, and we will need chemical engineers to make any or all of this happen,” Furlong warned.
Furlong also encouraged policy makers and the media to ensure the voice of science and chemical engineering is being given fair treatment: “It’s much easier for an army of flag-waving activists to get media coverage than it is for the reasoned engineer or scientist.”

“But do green activists always use these opportunities to offer a balanced and thoughtful account of the situation? I have my doubts,” said Furlong.

“The time for action is now and chemical engineers are ready to act. Instead we are faced with blocking tactics by protestors who, in many cases, aren’t fully aware of the facts or if they are, simply choose to ignore them!

“I fully support people’s right to protest but only if they understand the implications of what they’re protesting about in the first place,” he concluded.

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