Carbon is the element that forms the foundation upon which all life-forms are based. Not only in the constituents of the life-forms themselves, but also, in the case of the human species, comprises the major source of primary energy in the form of fossil fuels. Over the past few centuries, the global application of fossil fuels has facilitated a leap in technological development and improvement in the human condition unprecedented in human history.
However, nature has a way of balancing accounts. The rapid rise and continued use of fossil fuels have led to two matters of concern, namely the finiteness of fossil fuels and the impact of their use on the environment. The mission of the Cleaner Fossil Fuel Section of SANEDI is directed to the efficient use of a finite resource in an environmentally suitable manner. To this end, and within the resources available, a number of research and development thrusts have been initiated.
Clean coal technologies are an option to minimise environmental impacts from the use of coal. More recently the matter of shale gas is being investigated.
The South African Coal Road Map is a collaborative project between the government, industry and research institutions, and in particular SANEDI. The Road Map identifies the direction of the complete value chain of the coal industry for the next few decades. The Road Map also identifies research and development gaps that are necessary to ensure that the coal industry is able to achieve its goals.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is the major activity of the Cleaner Fossil Fuel Programmes of SANEDI. Moreover, CCS has been named as one of the national flagship priority programmes in the National Climate Change Response White Paper released during October, 2011. SANEDI’s work on CCS is executed through the South African Centre for Carbon Capture & Storage (SACCCS).