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Monday, December 31, 2012

The climate science debate is only a sideshow

Rio Tinto - "We are one of the world's major producers of thermal coal, used for electricity generation in power stations, and of coking coal for steel making."

HSBC Custody Nominees (Australia) Limited - Rio Tinto's largest shareholder with 19.45 percent of the issued share capital " listed as the number one shareholder for all of the Big Four Banks in Australia. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings Plc - You Know... HSBC BANK - Yes, that's right... HSBC Bank owns more than 10 percent of all of the big Four."

Mr Ralph oversaw business tax reform for the Howard government 

ASHLEY HALL: The former banker and [Rio Tinto] mining executive, John Ralph, is warning that the Government's proposed mining super profits tax will cut industry investment and risk national sovereignty.

Mr Ralph oversaw business tax reform for the Howard government.

He's now retired from corporate life, but he says he's re-entered public debate reluctantly because of the damage he believes the Government is about to inflict on the Australian community with its planned resource tax.

John Ralph: Rudd's great big mining myth 

John Ralph was formerly CEO of CRA Ltd [in 1997 CRA Ltd became Rio Tinto Ltd], Chairman of the Commonwealth Bank and Deputy Chairman of Telstra. He is a Catholic layman active in Church organisations.

John Ralph: Carbon in itself is not a pollutant 

Australians see the ALP / Greens carbon tax just that, another tax.

Carbon in itself is not a pollutant.

The Australian legislation is based on antiquated ignorant and plainly stupid ideology that has no part in today's world. All these polluting countries are laughing at Australia but it is boom time for Green Capitalist for derivative trading where the world’s greatest polluters are the winners.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Coal for India, China and Other Developing Nations

The Future is Better Than It Seems

"There is no reason for developing countries to burden themselves with out-dated power generation technology that is a great handicap to developed countries."
Garrett portable steam engine was made in England in 1923
This Garrett portable steam engine was made in England in 1923
Concerns over the future use of coal are justified but not for the reasons commentators have identified:
According to the IEA report, developing nations will largely drive future coal growth. China and India combined are expected to account for more than 90 percent of the increase in global coal use over the next five years.
The IEA report–like WRI’s recent coal analysis–offers troubling projections of an increasingly coal-dependent future. Energy producers need to decide–soon–if they are going to lock-into this course or opt for a lower-carbon future. (New Coal Report Underscores The Urgent Need For Global Clean Energy Development, Ailun Yang | December 20, 2012)


Mr Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, blamed China and other developing countries, that have huge reserves of coal and want to continue using fossil fuels to grow, for failing to back plans for the green economy. (Rio+20: Nick Clegg blames China for 'disappointing text', Louise Gray | June 21, 2012)

The bad news is that the coal industry is attempting to foist antiquated and obsolete technology for coal-fired power stations on the developing world. This is an unscrupulous marketing strategy.

It mirrors the conduct of Canada in banning the use of asbestos in Canada because of serious health risks and then continuing to export asbestos along with asbestos-related disease and health costs to India.

Developing countries are taking positive steps to address health risks and environmental degradation caused by harmful products and technologies -
China Increases Asbestos Restrictions by Laurie Kazan-Allen, International Ban Asbestos Secretariat
China adopted a new industry standard in November 2010 prohibiting the use of asbestos in siding and wall materials for construction. This follows China banning the use of asbestos in automotive friction materials in 2003 and its banning in 2005 of the import and export of amphibole asbestos, including amosite and crocidolite. (Read more ...)

Defence, pollution to dominate Chinese parliament by Stephen McDonell, ABC News
In the run up to this congress, pollution has been a major issue for everyday Chinese citizens.
Air quality in the Chinese capital, Beijing, seems to be deteriorating again after some improvements following the 2008 Olympics. (Read more ...)

The issue is NOT the use of coal by developing countries. The unscrupulous conduct of developed countries is the construction of coal-fired power stations in developing countries. These lock the developing countries into reliance on inefficient and expensive uses of coal. This old power generating technology uses coal very inefficiently. The result is that the costs of power will be unreasonably high. In the event that carbon capture and storage technology is eventually required and is installed this will further reduce the efficiency of coal-fired power stations, increase the cost of electricity in developing countries, and increase demand for coal exports from developed countries including Australia and the USA.

Developing countries are in the advantageous position of being able to skip one generation of inefficient, out-dated power generation technology and move directly to new high-efficiency, cleaner and cheaper power generation technology.
Coal / Biomass conversion to Substitute Natural Gas by Greatpoint Energy process
Coal / Biomass conversion to Substitute Natural Gas
by Greatpoint Energy process

Coal can be used to deliver 1-1/2 to 2 times more useful energy with newer power generation technology that is increasingly used throughout developed countries:

  • The first step is to convert coal to natural gas, synthesis gas or hydrogen. 
  • The power generation technology that is available NOW and which developing countries should demand  
    1. for synthetic natural gas - combined cycle gas turbine ("CCGT") power stations for centralised power generation and combined heat and power power stations for distributed co-generation and tri-generation applications.
      As concerns about CO2 emissions grow, coal-fired power plants are increasingly being replaced with cleaner energy – and new GE technology is aiding the transition.

      The FlexEfficiency 60 Plant is the most flexible and efficient power plant of its kind, capable of reaching greater than 61 percent thermal efficiency in combined cycle.

      Six of the larger 7F 7-series gas turbines will be shipped to the Chubu Electric Power plant in Japan. Capable of reaching a world’s best 62 percent thermal efficiency, the plant will produce more than 2,300 megawatts in combined-cycle operation.
    2. for synthesis gas - integrated gasification combined cycle ("IGCC") 
      In November 2007, Duke Energy received approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to build a cleaner-coal integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant at Duke Energy’s former 160-megawatt Edwardsport Station in Knox County, Indiana.

      The 618-megawatt IGCC facility will be one of the cleanest and most efficient coal-fired power plants in the world. It will emit less sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates than the plant it replaces – while providing more than 10 times the electric power.

      Coal is one of the most practical alternatives for addressing Duke Energy’s additional baseload power needs in Indiana. Building the Edwardsport IGCC plant ensures that Duke Energy customers in Indiana will continue to have fairly priced, reliable energy that will help our economy grow. The project is expected to begin commercial operations by early 2013.
  • These convert the available energy in gas fuels-sourced from coal, biomass and natural gas-to useful energy with an efficiency from 60 to 98 percent. 
  • Coal-fired power stations can achieve only a fraction of this efficiency. Add carbon capture and storage equipment to coal-fired power stations and their already bad performance becomes woeful. 
There is no reason for developing countries to burden themselves with the out-dated power generation technology that is a great handicap to developed countries.

Monday, December 24, 2012

We Are Going to the Moon

"We Are Going to the Moon - Let us Resolve to Climb a Nearby Hill"

Updated 1:45am December 30, 2012

A common response to warnings of climate change is the pursuit of domestic policies that are inadequate.

Australian and U.S. coal exports for instance have rapidly expanded to take up the surplus production that has resulted from cut-backs in domestic consumption.This interplay of vested interests and economic forces is easily overwhelming any benefits of national policies to cut emissions.

A considerable amount of energy also is going into an unnecessary argument over climate science. The pursuit of low-emission technology is all that is needed.

The opponents of climate science are not only dogmatic in denying the possibility of human-induced climate change. They are equally dogmatic with irrational claims that innovation to curb carbon dioxide emissions is not possible or, at the very least, is not economically feasible. The argument about this irrational claim is the only one that need be pursued. Some ideas for this argument are in the post: China slashing carbon dioxide emissions.

In the mid-1960s a great many self-proclaimed pundits argued passionately that it was impossible for man to go to the moon. No amount of rational argument could sway these dunderheads. There was exactly one, very simple answer. With the First Moon Landing by Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969 the loud naysayers went suddenly quiet and were never heard from again.

Opponents of climate science sometimes lead double lives as vocal supporters of the coal industry. Larry Bell was a speaker at the Heartland Institute's Sixth International Conference on Climate Change in 2011 and its Seventh International Conference on Climate Change in 2012.  Naomi Klein wrote in her article Capitalism vs. the Climate on the Heartland Institute's 2011 Conference "as speaker Larry Bell succinctly puts it in his new book 'Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax'
...climate change 'has little to do with the state of the environment and much to do with shackling capitalism and transforming the American way of life in the interests of global wealth redistribution.' "
Larry Bell also wrote "U.S. Policies And Economic Doldrums Fuel Chinese Energy and Tech Grabs" in which he laments even greater challenges to the way of life of American coal magnates:
"Government regulatory actions, a weakening dollar, and an ailing economy, are providing bargain asset shopping opportunities for Chinese investors. ...

State-owned Export-Import Bank of China is likely to become the sole lender for a 400-megawatt “clean coal” power plant near Odessa, Texas to be developed by the Seattle-based Summit Power Group, LLC. Construction of the $2.5 billion project will be managed by Sinopec, the China Petroleum and Chemical Company. ...

The Texas deal applies a tried-and-true Chinese model: providing competitive financing through a state-owned bank…then negotiating participation for other state-owned companies.

Synthesis Energy Systems of Houston which holds a license for a coal gasification process that upgrades efficiency of low-quality coals while reducing toxic emissions, recently got an $84 million investment from Zhongjixuan Investment Management ( ZJX) of Beijing in exchange for 43 percent ownership in the company. Synthesis President Robert W. Rigdon has admitted awareness of the history of Chinese companies use of foreign technology without regard to patents ..."

It is a waste of time and energy to discuss climate science with such ideologues.

Coal exports - USA and Australia

Beyond Zero Emissions in Australia provides an example of setting sights on a nearby national goal that is too trivial for the problem that is to be solved on a global scale. If you intend to go to the moon, walking to the top of a conveniently nearby hill will not get you closer to your goal.

  • Australia's carbon dioxide emissions per capita are among the highest in the world. Every person in Australia is part of a domestic economy that emits about 18-19 tonnes of carbon dioxide on behalf of  each of them.
  • Reducing emissions to zero - in Australia - is the goal set by Beyond Zero Emissions.
  • In the last 3 years Australia greatly reduced its domestic consumption of coal. Over the same period it increased its exports of coal by a greater quantity.
  • As the largest coal exporter  in the world Australia's contribution to global carbon dioxide emissions is staggering. Every person in Australia is part of a domestic economy that exports about 30 tonnes of coal on behalf of each of them. When burned this coal creates about 100 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per person in Australia. This is more than 5 times the emissions of each Australian in the domestic economy.
  • This figure of 30 tonnes of coal exported per Australian a year is now about 3 times greater than it was just 5 years ago.

The U.S. situation reflects similar dynamics.

  • Record U.S. shale gas production has lowered the cost of energy and the intensity carbon dioxide emissions of U.S. electricity generation by displacing coal-fired power generation. While coal's contribution to power generation in the U.S. has undergone an unprecedented decline, falling to the lowest share of net generation since 1973, U.S. coal exports are about to exceed the record set by the U.S. for coal exports in 1981.
  • Regulations requiring cleaner emissions from coal-fired power stations in the U.S. display the same perverse consequences. In 2008 major U.S. banks set guidelines on financing 'dirty' coal power plants taking into account foreshadowed regulations to limit emissions. The media report describing this historic initiative by major U.S. banks failed to observe that the banks never intended these guidelines were to apply to financing coal power plants outside the U.S. 

A recent report More than 1,000 new coal plants planned worldwide reflects the global ramifications of the above national policies and tinkering with national energy resources:
"World Resources Institute identifies 1,200 coal power plants in planning across 59 countries, with about three-quarters in China and India.

...New coal power plants have largely been financed by both commercial banks and development banks. JP Morgan Chase has provided more than $16.5bn for new coal plants over the past six years, followed by Citi ($13.8bn). Barclays ($11.5bn) comes in as the fifth biggest coal backer and the Royal Bank of Scotland ($10.9bn) as the seventh.

The Japan Bank for International Co-operation was the biggest development bank ($8.1bn), with the World Bank ($5.3bn) second."

Not wanting to miss out on the rapid expansion in U.S. coal exports from the U.S. east coast to Europe, new shipping terminals are planned on the length of the Pacific North West coast for an even greater boom in U.S. coal exports to Asia; Tribes Add Potent Voice Against Plan for Northwest Coal Terminals :
"Coal producers across the nation have been wounded by a sharp drop in demand in the United States — down 16.3 percent in the period from April through June, compared with the same period in 2011, to the lowest quarterly level since 2005...

That has made coal exports, which have increased this year in every region of the country except the West, according to federal figures, even more crucial to the industry than they were when the six terminals on the Pacific Coast were first proposed.

Jason Hayes, a spokesman for the American Coal Council, said that with coal-producing nations like Australia and Indonesia competing for Asian markets, a roadblock on the West Coast is an issue for the entire American economy. "

And because of opposition in the U.S. that might delay the bonanza to be made from surging U.S. coal exports to Asia, the U.S. coal industry is gearing up to send coal by rail to Canada where Coal port expansion plans rile climate activists :
"The pressure to send more coal on trains through British Columbia's Lower Mainland is coming because the U.S. coal industry needs to tap new markets in Asia but has run into serious opposition in northwestern states.

Eric de Place, a researcher with the Seattle-based Sightline Institute, said six large coal export terminals have been proposed in Washington or Oregon but activist opposition has already killed one of them.

"There's something like an insurrection going on in Oregon and Washington," he said. "People are extremely angry."

The world's biggest coal producers are in the eastern U.S., de Place said, while the biggest consumers are in Asia.

"The road between those two goes through Washington and British Columbia," he said, noting domestic U.S. coal demand has sagged as U.S. buyers shift to cleaner energy sources."

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Energy All-Star Awards

"A2SE Energy All-Star Awards"


brought to you in association with  


A2SE Energy All-Star Awards

Recognising leadership, innovation and pioneering spirit in energy efficiency and decentralised energy

The Australian Summer Study presents an opportunity to recognise pioneers and unsung heroes in the cleaner energy sector. The Australian Alliance to Save Energy is pleased to announce the 2nd A2SE Energy All-Star Awards.

Who do you think deserves to be nominated for an A2SE Energy All-Star Award?

CLICK HERE to nominate a standout individual who has made a significant energy saving impact on households, businesses, education or government.  There are three categories for individuals to be nominated in:
1.  Energy efficiency
2.  Peak demand management and
3.  Distributed generation.

Nominations close on 31st January 2013

Your nomination will be judged, and Awards then announced at the Summer Study Energy All-Star Awards Night on Thursday 28 February 2013.     

We are delighted that The Chaser's Craig Reucassel will be joining us to MC the Energy All-Star Awards Night. 

For a bit of pre-Christmas humour  click here to watch as Craig Reucassel on The Hamster Wheel explains why POWER PRICES
 are rising.”

Special guest speaker at the dinner will be the Hon Mark Dreyfus QC, Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

We are pleased to announce additional speakers at the Summer Study include:

Ellen Fanning, The Global Mail, (ex ABC and Sixty Minutes)

John Rolfe, Daily Telegraph

Steve Beletich & James Hazelton, Beletich Associates Energy Consultants

David Smith, Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

Dr. David Crossley, The Regulatory Assistance Project

*  Glenn May, Office of Environment & Heritage

*  Anthony Coles, Solco

Keep up to date with the latest additions to the
program here.

Benoit Lebot
President of the Alliance to Save Energy US (invited)Climate Change Technical Advisor, United Nations Development
Hon Greg Hunt MP 
Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage
Steve Nadel Executive Director of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
Li Tienen Director of the Centre for Industrial Energy Efficiency, China
Kateri Callahan Program, Environment Finance Group
Robert Tromop Head Energy Efficiency Unit International Energy Agency

Early bird registration rates will close at midnight on Thursday 17th January 2013.  

This date will not be extended any further, so please remember to register before you head off for your Christmas/New Year break.


The Summer Study and gain high profile exposure at this landmark Event.
Make an Enquiry
Make an Enquiry
Make an Enquiry
Climate Change Technical Advisor for the United Nations Development Programme-Global Environment Facility (UNDP-GEF)

Since 2004, as a Climate Change Technical Advisor, Benoit Lebot provides technical leadership on UNDP/GEF activities on Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Efficient Policies and Programs for End-use Products and Processes. He promotes and reinforces the UNDP portfolio on GEF Climate Change mitigation projects with specific focus on public policies and legal, fiscal and technical measures on the energy demand-side. Current Projects cover Africa and Middle East.

Benoit Lebot was previously with the International Energy Agency (1997-2003) as an advisor within the Energy Efficiency Policy Analysis Division.

Between 1990-1997, he was part of ADEME, the French National Energy and Environment Agency. In 1987-1990, he was a research staff at Energy Efficiency Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in California.

Benoit will present on the United Nation’s flagship Sustainable Energy for All initiative and what this means for Australia and its neighbours.

All energy efficiency, demand management and distributed energy practitioners and stakeholders from:
  • Government
  • Academia
  • NGOs
  • Energy Suppliers
  • End users - all sectors
  • Regulatory bodies
  • Media - as participants & reporters

The program   balances structured presentations by international experts with informal working sessions while allowing ample time for networking and collaboration.  The relaxed, informal, live-in format allows for in-depth discussions to develop across the event, which has proven to be a great environment for cross-fertilising ideas and making lasting connections.
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Seasons Greetings
The A2SE would like to wish you and your families a safe and relaxing holiday period.  We look forward to seeing you all at the Summer Study in 2013.  

Merry Christmas!

The A2SE would like to acknowledge
and thank the supporters of the Summer Study:

Gold Sponsors:

Silver Sponsors:

International Speaker Sponsors:

Bronze Sponsors:

Wed 27 Feb - Fri 1 March, 2013
Location: Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach
Link to online map
The 2nd A2SE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency and Decentralised Energy is a not for profit event
run by the Australian Alliance to Save Energy (A2SE).  The A2SE is an independent, not-for-profit coalition of business, government and environmental leaders. It supports the widespread introduction of the world’s best practices and technologies in energy efficiency. The organisation informs public and policy discussions on energy efficiency, demand management, environmental protection and sustainability through high quality, unbiased research. A2SE’s key research partner is the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney, and it has established links with global leaders in energy efficiency and decentralised energy including The American Council for an Energy Efficient Future, The Alliance to Save Energy (USA), The Energy Saving Trust (UK), The World Alliance for Decentralised Energy (WADE), European Alliance to Save Energy, the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and the Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (India).

The Clean Energy Council is the peak body representing Australia’s clean energy and energy efficiency sector. It is an industry association that provides a unified voice for over 550 member companies involved in the development or deployment of technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, wave, bioenergy, cogeneration, storage and energy efficiency.  The Clean Energy Council provides a variety of services to members but its primary role is to develop and advocate effective policy to accelerate the development and deployment of all clean energy technologies. The council also promotes awareness of the industry, thought leadership and clean energy business opportunities through industry events, meetings, newsletters, directorates and the media.  For more information visit
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The Australian Alliance to Save Energy, Level 11, UTS Building 10, 235 Jones St, Ultimo, NSW, 2007, Ph: 02 9514 2044

Monday, December 17, 2012

China slashing carbon dioxide emissions

How to Halve Coal Demand and Cut Emissions by 75 per cent  
while Saving Money
Halve coal demand and cut emissions by 75 percent - hydromethanation

China adopts advanced U.S. technology

"Wanxiang believes that GreatPoint Energy’s Bluegas technology is currently the world’s most advanced, lowest cost and most environmentally friendly technology for transforming coal into natural gas."

The Bluegas hydromethanation technology developed and owned by GreatPoint Energy directly converts coal into pipeline quality natural gas, the cleanest commercial fuel in use globally. GreatPoint Energy’s proprietary technology operates at the highest efficiency with the least environmental impact, and produces natural gas at the lowest cost in the industry.

Inherent in the technology is the ability to capture nearly all emissions, including carbon dioxide, which can be sequestered and used for oil production through Enhanced Oil Recovery.

The technology is especially well suited for arid regions and where low-quality, concentrated coal resources are available, such as in Xinjiang. Together, Wanxiang and GreatPoint Energy also plan to develop large-scale Bluegas projects at other locations in Xinjiang and in other regions of China using the Bluegas technology.

Read more about Wanxiang and GreatPoint Energy Announce $1.25 Billion Investment and Agree to Construct World’s Most Efficient Coal-to-Natural Gas Production Facility in China

Case Studies - Natural Gas Cogeneration / Trigeneration

Castle Hill RSL

- Energy conversion efficiency over 80 percent possible with coal-to-natural gas technology

Carbon Training International Case study on Australia’s Castle Hill RSL Club’s cogeneration system.

Rooty Hill RSL

- Emissions cut 50 percent overnight

A Tri Generation system reduces Rooty Hill RSL's carbon emissions by more than 50 percent.

GE supplies gas turbine to industrial cogeneration plant in Nanxun

GE and its manufacturing partner, Nanjing Turbine & Electric Machinery (NTC) agreed to supply two gas turbines to Guodian Dianli's Nanxun industrial cogeneration power plant in China's Nanxun development zone.

Guodian Dianli is a Chinese power company. China Guodian Corporation is a state owned enterprise which is among the nation's five largest producers of electricity.

The new combined-cycle plant, which will generate to provide electricity and industrial heating for the Nanxun development zone, uses natural gas from China's West to East Pipeline II.

Both turbines will be shipped by December 2013 and the plant will begin operation in the second quarter of 2014.

Read more: ...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Solar Coal Power

Why choose between solar and coal when you can use both?

Global Energy Production will increase dramatically by 2035, regardless of energy-efficiency improvements in developed economies.

1.5 billion people have no access to electricity, and 85% of the population in Africa don't yet have electricity. There is enormous unmet demand for access to electricity and clean energy.

In its annual Human Development Report, the UN Development Progamme (UNDP) said the UN has designated 2012 as the international year of sustainable energy for all. Read more on Health without energy? - Without clean, modern energy people's health can be severely affected

Consider a region perhaps in China or India that has a 600 Megawatt coal-fired power station, and it wants to double this generating capacity.

What do some of the options look like and how do they compare on cost and carbon dioxide emissions?
  1. One option is to build another 600 Megawatt coal-fired power station.
  2. Another option is to build a 600 Megawatt concentrated solar thermal power station with sufficient thermal energy storage to allow it to operate reliably overnight and after one or two cloudy days.
  3. A further option is to replace the existing 600 Megawatt coal-fired power station with a 1200 Megawatt combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station, and optionally generate the fuel for this power station using the coal supply from the existing 600 Megawatt coal-fired power station with a much smaller concentrated solar thermal (CST) field of heliostats.
For option 1, the coal supply has to be doubled, and CO2 emissions also double. CO2 emissions intensity is constant at 0.8 tonnes per Megawatt-hour.

For option 2, a very large and costly field of heliostats is needed. The thermal energy storage system for reliable operation overnight and after one or two cloudy days is a substantial proportion of the total cost, and even then does not provide reliable operation in periods of extended cloud cover. CO2 emissions remain constant, because the existing coal-fired power station continues operation as before. CO2 emissions intensity of the combined existing and new systems is halved to 0.4 tonnes per Megawatt-hour.

For option 3, a new combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station is needed, and the existing coal-fired power station is decommissioned. The coal supply from the decommissioned power station is converted to Syngas using a much smaller field of heliostats. Some components of the decommissioned coal power station, such as the coal-handling equipment may be re-used. No thermal energy storage system is required: this need is met by storing Syngas for continuous power generation. CO2 emissions remain constant: the new power station is consuming the same quantity of coal as the existing coal power station it replaces. However it produces twice the amount of electrical energy so the CO2 emissions intensity is halved to 0.4 tonnes per Megawatt-hour. Note that the solar thermal gasification of coal in this option provides the same benefit as a Carbon Capture and Storage system that removes 50 percent of the CO2 emissions of a coal-fired power station.

Note: Option 3 achieves the same outcomes as option 2. That is, total electricity output capacity is doubled to 1200 Megawatts, CO2 emissions do not increase, no additional fossil fuel is needed, and CO2 emissions intensity is halved to 0.4 tonnes per Megawatt-hour.

Essentially these are two technologically different solutions with nearly identical economic and environmental benefits. (Option 3 overcomes criticism that solar energy sources are intermittent and hence unreliable without "backup" fossil fuel power plants.  Option 3 also eliminates toxic mercury and other emissions of the existing coal-fired power station that is retained in Option 2.)

The choice between options 2 and 3 can be based on a comparison of their cost and a consideration of the added benefits of option 3.

Coal-Fired Power Station (Option 1)

Assuming this power station achieves 40% thermal efficiency, with CO2 emissions of 0.8 tonnes per Megawatt-hour:
Input Thermal Energy from Coal: 1500 Megawatts per hour
Output Electrical Energy: 600 Megawatts per hour
CO2 Emissions: 480 tonnes per hour
Coal-fired Power Station Model
Figure 1: Coal-fired Power Station Model

Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) Power Station (Option 2)

Assuming this power station achieves 40% thermal efficiency, with zero CO2 emissions per Megawatt-hour:
Input Thermal Energy from Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST): 1500 Megawatts per hour
Output Electrical Energy: 600 Megawatts per hour
CO2 Emissions: 0 tonnes per hour
Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) Power Station Model
Figure 2: Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) Power Station Model

Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) Coal/Biomass Gasification (Option 3 - part 1)

Assuming this power station achieves 40% thermal efficiency, with zero CO2 emissions per Megawatt-hour:
Input Thermal Energy from Coal/Biomass: 1500 Megawatts per hour
Input Thermal Energy from Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST): 500 Megawatts per hour
Output Thermal Energy in Purified Syngas: 2000 Megawatts per hour (This is transferred to the Combined-Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power station below - where it is used the generate electricity)
CO2 Emissions: 0 tonnes per hour
Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) Coal/Biomass Gasifier
Figure 3: Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) Coal/Biomass Gasifier

Combined-Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) Power Station (Option 3 - part 2)

Assuming this power station achieves 60% thermal efficiency, with CO2 emissions of 0.4 tonnes per Megawatt-hour:
Input Thermal Energy from Syngas/Natural Gas: 2000 Megawatts per hour (This is transferred from the Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) Coal/Biomass Gasification plant above)
Output Electrical Energy: 1200 Megawatts per hour
CO2 Emissions: 480 tonnes per hour
Combined-Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) Power Station Model
Figure 4: Combined-Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) Power Station Model

For details of research on solar thermal gasification see this post on Concentrated Solar Thermal energy Meets Biomass CHP

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Coal industry plays chicken to protect revenues

Coal Industry a threat to economic development

The coal industry wastes time and money researching inefficient power generation.
- and is trying to forget an established technology in use throughout the world. This technology results in fewer toxic emissions, less CO2 emissions, the ability to use cheaper coal and more efficient power generation.

The "problem" is that LESS coal is needed to produce the same amount of power.

The coal industry is now trying to stop the use of low-cost coal and cheaper, cleaner energy from coal.
This post describes one such effort: Latest Buzz... Coal leads EPA regulations - and then opposes them.

Less coal per megawatt-hour (MWH) - Cheaper energy

The National Coal Council in December 2008 published a report Advanced Coal Technologies: Greater Efficiency and Lower CO2 Emissions
Increased efficiency of power generation is the most predictable and cost effective method for CO2 emissions reduction.

In an existing coal-based plant without CCS, increased efficiency is the only practical method for mitigating CO2 emissions now, and it will be important for future plants equipped with CCS in order to reduce the energy impacts and costs of CO2 capture.

Gasification-based technologies convert coal to a synthesis gas (syngas) consisting mainly of CO and H2.The syngas is cleaned to remove contaminants before it is used as a fuel in a gas turbine. The hot exhaust gas from the gas turbine is used to produce steam in a heat recovery steam generator for a steam turbine-electric generator.

This combination of a gas turbine and steam turbine cycles is called combined cycle power generation. Integrating the coal gasification and combined cycle technologies, IGCC provides the benefits of using low-cost coal with the high efficiency of combined cycle power generation. Higher efficiency results in lower emissions per unit of electricity generated.

IGCC technology is being demonstrated in two plants in the U.S., two in Europe, and one in Japan. Industry standard designs are based on the use of eastern bituminous coal, although IGCC plants can be designed for a wide range of coals.

CO2 emissions fall as efficiency increases. THIS MEANS LESS COAL PER MWH
CO2 emissions fall as efficiency increases.

More coal per megawatt-hour (MWH) - Expensive energy

On 20 December 2010 media reports disclosed:
“According to Peter Cook, chief executive of the Co-operative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies in Canberra, the research effort is swinging back in favour of capturing carbon emissions after the coal has been burned rather than trying to radically alter the coal itself before combustion. 'We are seeing that more conventional ways of making electricity are being looked at again for post-combustion capture,' Dr Cook said.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Abbott: The Man without a Plan

Extract of Lisa Wilkinson Interview with Tony Abbott, Today Show

5 November 2012
Tony Abbott - No Plan
No Plan

A good proposal by the Government to bring those energy prices down?

Well, this is a government which has presided over a massive increase in prices. Power prices are up 89 per cent since Kevin Rudd became Prime Minister and the carbon tax is now making a bad situation worse. I think if the Government was serious about bringing prices down, it wouldn't be lecturing the States about what they might do. It would be doing what it could do and that is getting rid of the carbon tax and that would instantly, on the Government's own figures, reduce prices by 10 per cent.

But the truth is that the carbon tax is only contributing a small amount to those price rises. It's only been in since July 1 and for these proposals that the Government is putting forward to work, it does need cooperation from state governments to deregulate power prices. Now, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has already said no. We're getting similar indications from the NSW Coalition Government. Is that because it's actually politically convenient to keep those prices high leading up to the Federal election and just keep blaming it on the carbon tax?

No one wants to see prices high. Everyone wants to see prices down. But the most practical thing the Commonwealth could do right now to get power prices down is to take off the carbon tax and, you know, the whole point of the carbon tax, Lisa, is to raise power prices. The point I keep making is every time your power bill goes up, the Prime Minister has a smile on her face because that is the carbon tax just doing its job.

Alright. Well, you've already promised that, should you be elected Prime Minister, you will get rid of that carbon tax.

That leaves you 79 per cent of those price rises you've got to play with. Can you guarantee that an Abbott government will bring energy prices down beyond taking off the carbon tax?

Well, that's a very, very good start. That is a very good start and we would have the ACCC out there making sure that businesses did not profiteer once the carbon tax was off.

Ok, but you still haven't answered my question. How much will you bring down energy prices beyond taking off the carbon tax?

Well, we will do vastly better than the Labor Party, Lisa, because there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead…

You're still not answering my question, Mr Abbott.

But, Lisa, I'm saying there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead and when I say that, I'm telling the truth.

So should I get from that that you don't actually have a plan on how to bring prices down beyond the carbon tax, beyond getting rid of the carbon tax, Mr Abbott?

That's a very, very good start, Lisa.

Ok, well, I'll have to take it that you don't have a plan. Unless you're going to put one forward, it doesn't look like you've got a plan, Mr Abbott.

Lisa, the plan starts with getting rid of the carbon tax.
Ok. Let's move on.

Update February 5, 2013

Tony Abbott's Plan - (No) Real Solutions
Tony Abbott's Plan - (No) Real Solutions