Every fossil fuel gives off environmentally damaging emissions, and this of course also includes coal. We in Turkey are very sensitive to environmental issues, especially considering our efforts to join the EU. We have R&D projects to not only increase efficiency in production, but also to produce a cleaner output. We work with universities, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), and other companies to this purpose, and we are interested in applying the technologies of countries like Australia and Germany. We signed an agreement with ThyssenKrupp from Germany. In the Soma basin, there will be 6 million tons of coal produced per year, as well as 1.5 billion cubic meters of substitute natural gas (SNG), which will be produced from that coal. That will account for one-ninth of all household consumption of coal and gas in Turkey. In 2013, we plan on creating a joint venture with ThyssenKrupp. We've also set up a microbiological laboratory with a US company from Kentucky called Arctech, where we will produce microbiological products. In MicGas Coal BioTech Project, there are microorganisms that eat the coal to produce methane gases and humic acid that can be used to clean polluted water. It can also be used for agriculture, as well as to degrade heavy metals. This is a small pilot facility for now, but we will eventually expand it for commercial purposes.
General Director, Turkish Coal Enterprises (TKİ)
Country President, Alstom
Coal is the next big trend in the energy sector. We cannot continue to build gas-fired plants as we do today. Secondly, we now have the technology to create clean coal power generation. With a new incentive system, I believe we'll see a boom, as long as investors and the public can find common ground on environmental issues. The problem with Turkish coal is that it's 30% sulfur and 30% ash, and only 15% is convertible into energy. That means we need the technology to be able to extract this energy as efficiently and cleanly as possible, and Alstom has that capacity. We can do complete turnkey contracts with the boilers, steam turbines, generators, automation systems, and of course the most crucial issue, which is the environmental control systems. Therefore, we see ourselves as unique in that respect. Turkey has more than 10 GW of lignite available over the next five to six years, if it can be developed with the new system. Coal is very important for helping Turkey achieve energy independence, as is diversifying Turkey's energy sources, and focusing more attention on renewable and nuclear energy.
Founder & Managing Partner, Anna Enerji
It is important to have a balanced energy portfolio. Renewables are a part of that. However, that will not meet all of our energy needs today or in the future. Additionally, it is important to understand the regional concentration of renewable resources. For example, wind energy is predominant in the Aegean region; however, that is not necessarily the right resource for Eastern Turkey, where wind resources are not as prevalent. As for lignite, often referred to as “dirty coal,” why not promote the development of clean coal technology for low carbon systems? Again, we have a great need in this country that is not expected to decrease in the years to come; but increase. We need to promote all energy resources, such as renewables where they are effective, and lignite. Lignite is an important source to meet some of Turkey's energy needs. If we were able to decrease Turkey's need on petroleum imports by 10%-15%, that would be a significant value to the national economy. Shale gas could also come into play, but we have to prove it and prove that it is an economically viable resource.