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Coal Electric Power Plant YouTube
There are some great videos on YouTube of the workings of coal power plants.
I would think if you leave the coal in a coarse state in the bunker, then send it through a pulverizer near the boiler that you could cut down on coal dust. Coal power plant technology is well developed, safe, and could probably be easily adapted to shipping. Coal power plant emissions controls are also well developed.
The end of oil is nigh. It was a great, compact fuel, but it's days are numbered. Oil is already starting to become uneconomic as a fuel. Considering the time and capital it takes to build shipping fleets, it's probably time to start planning for the end of oil as a practical fuel.
I think we're already well into the end of the oil age. Oil production has probably peaked and I doubt we will ever see truly cheap oil again. There will probably be brief times when it is cheap due to temporary supply gluts, but I think it will be expensive far more often than it is cheap. Volatile fuel prices can kill a shipper.
The alternatives to fossil fuels are a return to sail power or nuclear. Both are not very practical on a commercial scale.