First, here's the 4 minute video on coal gasification. It's not quite layman's terms but it's not too bad.
There's been a lot of really boring nerdy talk about turning coal into natural gas (methane). The beauty of this is that coal is a really dirty fuel source; it gives off mercury, CO2, sulfur (sulfur dioxide), etc., but natural gas on the other hand burns so cleanly that we can use it in our homes. The US is "the Saudi Arabia of coal" according to that companies spokesman. His other claims include:
- 80% of the energy in the coal is passed on in the form of natural gas.
- It's cheaper to gasify coal than it is to acquire natural gas conventionally.
- All pollutants (mercury, sulfur, etc.) are sequestored.