This is a brief description of studies that exemplify the methods and approaches that have been developed and used by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers in conducting integrated assessments. See the complete list of Integrated Assessment Briefs to find out more about ORNL's efforts in integrated assessment. Contact Mike Farrell ( for more information.

Environmental Assessments of Advanced Coal-Use Technologies

This scheme is used for technology assessment.

What impacts are expected from large-scale conversion of coal to gas, liquid, or other solid forms for cleaner and more efficient use?

Historically, interest in converting coal to other fuel forms has been marked by cyclical periods of activity and inactivity depending largely on oil and gas prices. Recent federally funded programs to promote commercial deployment of advanced coal use technologies include DOE's Coal Conversion Demonstration Program, the U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corporation, and currently, DOE's Clean Coal Technology Program.

Each program has conducted various types of environmental assessments. Because environmental acceptability is a major consideration in developing these technologies, it is not surprising that these assessments generally found no significant impacts. However, certain issues unique to coal conversion, such as the presence of carcinogenic materials in coal-derived liquids, are deserving of particular attention in designing processes and mitigation measures.

U.S. Department of Energy. 1981. Final Environmental Impact Statement, Solvent Refined Coal-II Demonstration Project, Ft. Martin, West Virginia. DOE/EIS-0069. Prepared by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Where To?

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Integrated Assessment Briefs. 1995. ORNL/M-4227. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN.