Dr Katsuyoshi Ando said the challenges relating to coal in the 21st century fall into three areas: overcoming the problem of global warming; ensuring stable supply; and developing and utilising clean coal technology for expanding the advanced use of coal.
"Coal will continue to be a major energy source in this century," Ando said.
"The recent energy situation suggests that the importance of coal both as fuel and as raw material will further increase.
"The key to the energy issues and their solutions in the 21st century includes such words as "diversification", "improved efficiency" and "clean energy". I believe the same three keywords also apply to coal."
Backing up Ando's comments, Professor Terry Wall of the University of Newcastle School of Engineering said the future of global coal use is dependent on the availability of carbon capture and storage technologies.
Wall said recent studies published by MIT and CSIRO indicate coal dependent countries such as Australia must accelerate their development of the CCS technologies, or a decline in the use of coal is predicted in the period to 2050.
However, Wall said evidence suggests that if CCS is adopted coal usage is likely to increase.
Both Ando and Wall presented their papers on climate change to delegates at the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering's 2007 Symposium - Resources Boom: Opportunities and Consequences - held in Perth on November 19 and 20.