Electrical Engineering: Energy at the Mine Mouth

The dream of transforming coal into cheaply transportable electrical energy right at the mine mouth has fired engineering imaginations for years. But rare is the mine located near enough to a water supply for feeding a steam turbine to turn a generator, and many are the low-grade deposits that have remained untapped because it has become too expensive to mine the coal and ship it to distant markets. Now the U.S. Department of the Interior has made a modest $680,500 bet that Physicist Meredith Gourdine, 36, has found a promising answer to the dilemma.

With his Government grant, Gourdine plans...

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