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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Action on climate change now agreed

The United States coal industry, the Environment Protection Agency (the EPA) and climate change sceptic Fred Singer have finally arrived at a consensus on energy generation technology that dramatically reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

The contested issue of what contribution carbon dioxide emissions make to climate change was important when climate change sceptics and deniers were paralyzed with fear that low emission energy generation would result in poverty and starvation. With that alarmist outcome put to rest, the heat has gone from the debate.

The crucial change is the long-awaited consensus on action that lowers carbon dioxide emissions. The question of whether this action will influence climate change or not is a different matter. As mentioned above, the heat and urgency has gone from this unresolved issue.

The following representatives in the climate change debate have each endorsed the same action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions of energy generation:

  • Dr S. Fred Singer - Climate Change Sceptic
  • The United States Coal Industry
  • The United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA)

Others have recognised the same action as an economical and profitable approach to reducing energy costs. The fact that carbon dioxide emissions are cut by up to 75 percent compared to coal-fired power generation is, for climate change deniers - an inconsequential side-effect. For others concerned by the risk of climate change - this is both an added bonus and a significant benefit:

S. Fred Singer, April 11, 2012

"Combined-cycle" gas power plants can reach efficiencies of 60% or more, compared to heat efficiencies of nuclear power plants of 35% or coal plants of 40%.

It gets even better than that. Gas-fired electricity generation is essentially non-polluting and user-friendly, and it can be placed in close proximity to wherever power is needed, making distributed generation economically feasible.

For example, a large apartment building of 1,000 units could use its own 10-megawatt power plant. But once installed, it becomes possible to consider co-generation, with the waste heat used for space heating, air-conditioning, hot water, laundry, and other process-heat applications -- and even desalination.

One can imagine energy efficiencies of as much as 80%, more than double what is achieved today. It would also simplify the problem of waste-heat disposal.

Cheap gas will encourage the petrochemical industry to invest $30 billion in new U.S. plants over the next five years, according to Chevron-Phillips Chemical Co. Plastics producers will get a double-boost -- from cheaper feedstock gas, the raw material for their product, and lower electricity costs. ...

So what needs to be done? The first step is to have a White House that strongly believes in the need for low-cost energy to promote economic growth, increase prosperity, and fight poverty. Electricity costs should "skyrocket" downward, not upward.

The United States Coal Industry

Coal-to-Gas is an Off-the-Shelf Energy Solution, by Frank Clemente.

Update 17 March 2014
The coal lobby has removed the web pages for "Coal Can Do That".
A cached copy of this article by Frank Clemente is available from Google - as it existed on 23 February 2014 - Coal-to-Gas is an Off-the-Shelf Energy Solution

Update 2 April 2014
The coal lobby has removed the cached copy of the web pages for "Coal Can Do That". You may still read a copy of the "Coal Can Do That" article "Coal-to-Gas is Off-the-Shelf Energy Solution" from February 2009 by Dr. Frank Clemente.

Substitute natural gas (SNG), the product of a coal-to-gas process, is an established technology that has been around for a century and is currently in use throughout the world.

Substitute natural gas technology produces pipeline quality natural gas equivalents that can be used to fuel power plants, heat homes and manufacture a wide range of goods.

It removes 95% of the mercury and virtually 100% of the sulfur. The captured sulfur can be used to make fertilizer.

It provides fuel for the hundreds of natural gas power plants, ...boosts the economy of local communities and provides well paying jobs. A planned Muhlenberg County substitute natural gas state-of-the-art facility in Kentucky, for example, will create 1,200 construction jobs for four years, 500 permanent jobs and pump over $100 million into the economy of host Muhlenberg County and surrounding communities.

The United States Environment Protection Agency (the EPA)

On Tuesday, March 27 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new performance standards limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The standard, which applies only to new power plants, limits CO2 emissions to 1,000 lbs (454 kilograms) per megawatt-hour (kg CO2/MWh).

The proposed rule is significant because it would be the first explicit limit on CO2 emissions in the United States. It effectively brings to an end new construction of conventional coal-fired power plants, which cannot meet the standard.

Typically, new coal plants generate about 1,800 lb (815 kg) CO2/MWh (or between 1,600 to 1,900 lb (725 to 860 kg) CO2/MWh). This means any new coal plants will have to adopt new technologies to reduce emissions, namely carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Natural gas plants, on the other hand, emit around 800-850 lb (360-385 kg) CO2/MWh, well within the standard.

In fact, the EPA based the emission limit on “the performance of widely used natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) technology” and predicts that NGCC will be the predominant choice in new fossil-fuel powered electricity generation.