Purpose - Indiana is listed among the top ten coal states in the USA and annually mines about 35 million short tons (million tons) of coal from the vast reserves of the US Midwest Illinois Coal Basin. The implementation and commercialization of clean coal technologies is important to the economy of the state and has a significant role in the state's energy plan for increasing the use of the state's natural resources. Coal is a substantial Indiana energy resource and also has stable and relatively low costs, compared with the increasing costs of other major fuels. This indigenous energy source enables the promotion of energy independence. The purpose of this paper is to outline the significance of clean coal projects for achieving this objective. Design/methodology/approach - The paper outlines the clean coal initiatives being taken in Indiana and the research carried out at the Indiana Center for Coal Technology Research. Findings - Clean coal power generation and coal for transportation fuels (coal-to-liquids - CTL) are two major topics being investigated in Indiana. Coking coal, data compilation of the bituminous coal qualities within the Indiana coal beds, reducing dependence on coal imports, and provision of an emissions free environment are important topics to state legislators. Originality/value - Lessons learnt from these projects will be of value to other states and countries.