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Coal fired technologies

Coal will continue to be an important fuel for energy generation and the need to reduce CO2 emissions requires more advanced highly efficient coal plants together with environmental control technologies.

Mott MacDonald can provide advisory services for coal projects from coal sourcing, transportation and handling, right through to utilisation and disposal of the ash products.

Coal is an excellent energy resource in terms of its stability of supply and its economic competitiveness, however, coal quality and transport issues are fundamental considerations for coal generation projects. Our advisory services range from coal sourcing, transport and handling, to utilisation and disposal of ash products.

Mott MacDonald’s broad project experience includes a wide range of coal types and qualities including lignite, sub-bituminous, bituminous, anthracite, coal slurries and the co-firing of biomass and other fuels.

We have experience with a wide range of combustion technologies applicable for differing coal qualities, which include circulating fluidised bed, grate and down-shot fired boilers in addition to conventional boilers.

Our roles for clients include owner’s engineer, assisting with technical, commercial and environmental aspects of project development, supporting lenders in assessing project investments and creating designs for civil works and mechanical and electrical plant.


We comprehensive capability and experience cover the following technologies:

  • PF boilers
    • Sub-critical
    • Supercritical and ultra-supercritical
  • Fluidised bed boilers
    • Bubbling bed
    • Circulating fluidised bed (CFB)(subcritical or supercritical)
  • Integrated gasification combined cycle
    • Syngas or hydrogen production
  • Oxy-fuel firing
  • Associated pollution control techniques


We offer a comprehensive range of services, both technical and non-technical, including but not limited to:

  • Environmental/social impact studies
  • Legislation, policies, market studies
  • Feasibility and configuration studies
  • Carbon markets and management strategies
  • Coal sourcing and transportation studies
  • Heat and mass balance analysis
  • Conceptual engineering
  • Front end engineering design and detailed design
  • Commercial strategies and project agreements
  • Financial modelling
  • Contract negotiations
  • Design review and optimisation
  • Project and cost management
  • Specification production
  • Tendering preparation/evaluation
  • Construction monitoring
  • Commissioning and performance testing
  • Works inspections and QA audits
  • Ash management
  • Refurbishments and environmental upgrades
  • Cost engineering
  • Construction economics

We're also highly skilled in associated clean-up equipment such as flue gas desulphurisation (FDG), selective catalytic and selective non-catalytic reduction (SCR and SNCR) and the developing market for carbon capture. We've also worked on 'electricity only' projects and dual purpose plants using heat for process or district heat application.

We work with our clients to develop the optimum implementation strategy to manage risk, cost and supplier commitment for each particular project. These include engineer, procure and construction, engineering procurement construction management or multi-contract approaches. We can also assist in developing power purchase, fuel purchase and maintenance support agreements.

Customer benefits

We have full knowledge of all coal generation options with the appropriate pollution control requirements to meet all national and international standards. In addition, our customers could benefit from our knowledge of additional revenues from carbon credits, ash utilisation, biomass co-firing or integrating solar into coal projects.

Savings/value added demonstrated

We have saved customers expenditure by the following measures:

  • Use of low sulphur coals instead of FGD
  • Use of ultra-supercritical technologies to offset CCS costs
  • Ash utilisation to reduce lagoon space
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