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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Global warming and climate change news

Friday, December 18, 2015

Coal industry modeling is just plain wrong

The Coal Lobby and Climate Change - A Story of Corporate Greed, Arrogance and Stupidity

Reducing carbon dioxide emissions with high efficiency power stations using coal-derived fuel was a simple, affordable solution to climate change concerns. The coal lobby walked away from this solution because it reduces the demand for coal. The result of this arrogant, greedy and stupid approach is a collapse in the value of coal mining corporations with billions of dollars wiped off shareholders' funds.

Peabody Energy, May 2008 -

May 2008 "Coal use expected to accelerate over next several decades"

August, 2012 -

"Cheap" Coal

"Electricity from the new Prairie State coal-fired power plant now costs between 40 and 100 percent more than Peabody Energy originally promised, raising electric bills for 2.5 million ratepayers and costing hundreds of Midwestern towns millions of dollars apiece.
...spearheaded in 2012 by Peabody Energy, [the Prairie State coal plant] has saddled more than 200 Midwest communities with electricity costs that are unaffordable and that stand to hinder their economies for the next 30 years. Subpoenas have been pending for some time at the SEC and the case is being pressed in two lawsuits on the matter. At issue are Peabody’s wildly optimistic projections and estimations that sold Prairie State as a source of cheap electricity to towns and cities now being crushed by the deal."


November, 2014 - 

"Peabody Energy has been regularly closing higher-cost coal mines in order to remain profitable (profit/ton). After a few unfavorable years, the overall coal market outlook is positive, due to expected price increase, demand increase, and efficiency increase. However, the rapid decline of the market size will position few firms able to compete, as growth in other markets such as renewable energy and natural gas continues to surge. This trend is clearly demonstrated in the chart below."

November 2014 "History of energyconsumption in the US (1776-2012)"

April, 2015 - 

"Investors in Peabody Energy have lost over $16 billion of their stock value since the end of 2010, as the stock price has plunged from $64 per share to $4.50 per share. The company reports it has cut over 20% of its work force, and more layoffs seem likely as the company seeks ways to cut costs."


November, 2015 -

"After a long investigation by the New York State attorney general, Peabody Energy says it’s going to do a better job of how it discloses the many financial risks it faces around climate change.
In its next filing to the S.E.C., Peabody agreed to a fuller disclosure of the risks as well as projections by the International Energy Agency of lower global coal demand in the future, should stronger regulatory action be taken around the world. The risks noted will include unfavorable lending trends for financing coal-fueled power plants overseas as well as divestment campaigns targeting the investment community, “which could significantly affect demand for our products or our securities.”"


ABC censors report "Apprentice in coma after collapsing during unprecedented Adelaide December heat"

The heading of the article below with the url "" has been changed to:
"Adelaide apprentice in hospital after suffering from heat stress; union calls for tighter regulations"

The opening paragraph also has been changed from this original value recovered from a search engine cache:
"An apprentice remains in a coma after collapsing on a work site and a second has been taken to hospital during the worst December heatwave on record in Adelaide." [The original value recovered from a cached copy is shown below.]
"A 17-year-old apprentice is in a critical condition in an Adelaide hospital after collapsing due to heat-related stress on a worksite, a construction union representative has said." [From the copy currently displayed on the ABC News web site.]

The original text can be found embedded within another ABC News web site article "SA heatwave: Extreme fire danger warnings for four districts as bushfire risk increases" Updated -
"An apprentice remains in a coma after collapsing on a work site and a second building worker has been taken to hospital because of the heat." [Below the sub-heading "Two building workers affected by heat".]

SA heatwave: Apprentice in coma after collapsing during unprecedented Adelaide December heat

An apprentice remains in a coma after collapsing on a work site and a second has been taken to hospital during the worst December heatwave on record in Adelaide.
Travis Mellor, 17, was into just his third day of work when he was rushed unconscious to hospital in an ambulance due to a heat stroke.
He is believed to have just started a carpentry apprenticeship and was working on an eastern suburbs building site.
On Friday, a second worker on an Adelaide building site was admitted to hospital but authorities later said his condition was not life threatening.
SafeWork SA is investigating both incidents and the Master Builders' Association is urging builders to ensure they are working in a safe environment given the extreme conditions.
Adelaide's burst of heat officially became a heatwave, according to Bureau of Meteorology forecasters, just before 2:00pm when the city's maximum officially exceeded 40 degrees Celsius for a third consecutive day.
The mercury hit 40.8C, but it was as much as 10 degrees cooler at times along Adelaide's coastal suburbs because of a sea breeze.
A change is expected to sweep across South Australia at the weekend, with another brief burst of heat tipped for Adelaide next week.
The weather bureau has forecast 39C for Christmas Eve, but a partly cloudy Christmas Day in Adelaide with a high of 29C.

Adelaide forecast:

  • Saturday - Very hot, partly cloudy, 44C
  • Sunday - Morning shower or two, 26C
  • Monday - Partly cloudy, 27C
  • Christmas Day - partly cloudy, 29C
SA Health said 62 people across the state had gone to a hospital for heat-related illnesses in the 24 hours since 8:00am on Thursday, and 21 of those were admitted.
Some 31 people have been admitted to hospital because of heat-related issues since Wednesday when temperatures reached 41C.
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) state secretary Aaron Cartledge said Mr Mellor was drifting in and out of coma and his family feared he could face long-term health issues.
"He's facing a real battle at the moment, some serious medical issues that are facing him, things like issues with his kidneys at the moment," he said.
"He also looks like he's got a lung infection."
The CFMEU said heatstroke was a serious condition that could cause lifelong injuries.
It said there had been cases of paralysis in Queensland workers as a result of heat stroke.
Mr Cartledge said employers needed to understand their obligations not to put workers at risk in extreme heat.
"It is utter negligence that his employer did not make a decision to stop work when the temperature had reached 41.5 degrees," he said.
"Travis is still a child, who had no idea of the danger of toiling in those kinds of conditions."
Master Builders' Association chief executive Ian Markos said the safety of workers must be a top priority.
"Heat stress is a safety issue so the main message we're saying is that there obviously is a responsibility for all employers to make sure they're working in a safe environment," he said.
Adelaide's temperature reached 42.9C on Thursday afternoon and dropped to 23C overnight, although Coober Pedy and Woomera, in the state's north, both experienced a much hotter minimum of 29C.
BoM's definition of a heatwave for Adelaide is five consecutive days with maximum temperatures at or above 35C or three consecutive days at or above 40C.
Adelaide has never before recorded a run of four days above 40C in December, with Saturday tipped to peak at 43C before a change on Sunday is expected to reduce maximums to 27C.
South Australia BoM acting regional director John Nairn yesterday said it was a sign of climate change.
Mark Anolak from Bureau of Meteorology said SA was is in the grip of a nasty front.
"Currently the high over the Tasman Sea is really stationary and that's resulting in hot, dry northerly winds across South Australia."

Extra ambulance crews put on shift

SA Ambulance paramedic Graeme Rayson said extra staff had been put on to help those affected by the heat and to make sure ambulance officers themselves were safe.
"Some of the people have been working for a number of days," he said.
"They're probably starting to feel the heat as much as the public are and we need to make sure that we look after our teams as well as the community."
Five districts are in total fire bans, with severe danger ratings declared for the Mount Lofty Ranges, Murraylands, Riverland, Mid-North and Flinders districts.
"Luckily enough there's not too much wind around," Mr Anolak said.
"There is a little bit of wind around and enough to produce severe fire danger ratings ... Tomorrow with the temperature rising again, I imagine we'll certainly have some fire bans."
Thoroughbred Racing SA (TRSA) has cancelled Saturday's race meet at Morphettville due to the hot weather but tonight's Twilight Races will go ahead as planned.
"As with every race day, the health and safety of participants is our number one priority and we have therefore decided it is the best interests of the horses, jockeys and our staff to cancel tomorrow's racing," TRSA chief executive Jim Watters said.
The Country Fire Service (CFS) and Local Government Association have appealed to property owners in bushfire prone areas around the state to ensure that their blocks were cleared.
LGA president Dave Burgess said 10 per cent of properties surveyed as part of the councils' bushfire prevention strategies were not complying with bushfire safety standards and infringement notices had been issued.
"The councils will go out and inspect those properties again and if people still aren't complying then they will be issued fines," he said.
Fire prevention officers have been inspecting properties in all council districts since October.
If a property owner is found to not be complying they can be issued with an expiation notice of $315.
The State Emergency Service (SES) also warned people to be aware branches could fall without warning from trees which were stressed by the extreme weather.
Its personnel have already dealt with a number of callouts, including at Tea Tree Gully in Adelaide's north-east suburbs.
A mild change is expected to reach western parts of SA on Saturday and areas further east on Sunday.
First posted 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Coal lobby tries hard to hide its own reports

Coal Can Do That

Dr. Frank Clemente

February 14, 2009

Coal-to-Gas is Off-the-Shelf Energy Solution

The Question: “How can we obtain enough NG at affordable prices to (1) power over 400,000 MW of NG based generation capacity, (2) heat tens of millions of homes and buildings, (3) meet the needs of manufacturing and agriculture, and (4) make ethanol, fertilizer and other energy related products?
The Answer: We can’t.
Enter substitute natural gas (SNG), the product of coal gasification, an established technology that has been around for a century and currently in use throughout the world. SNG facilities can now be made “carbon storage ready” to take advantage of emerging technologies in CO2 capture, leading the way to a virtually emission free use of coal. The captured CO2 can then be stored indefinitely or more productively, be utilized to recover “stranded” oil in depleted fields throughout the nation. Texas alone, for example, has over 35 billion barrels of potentially recoverable oil using CO2 injection.
In addition, SNG technology:
  • Produces pipeline quality NG equivalents that can be used to fuel power plants, heat homes and manufacture a wide range of goods.
  • Removes 95% of the mercury and virtually 100% of the sulfur. Further, the captured sulfur can be used to make fertilizer and the ash from combustion of coal can be used to make roads and related infrastructure.
  • Provides fuel for the hundreds of NG dependent power plants we imprudently built over the past decade based on erroneous predictions of NG price and production. In short, prices have escalated and production has stagnated leaving many NG power plants too expensive to operate.
  • Boost the economy of local communities and provide well paying jobs. A planned SNG 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.
SNG is a prime example of how off the shelf clean coal conversion technologies can improve our quality of life and fully unlock the socioeconomic value of our greatest energy resource – coal. And the ability to remove just about all the sulfur will open up new vistas for use of coal resources in many states. Missouri, for example, has substantial coal resources that are relatively high in sulfur. SNG will open the door to these resources and significantly benefit economic growth in such states.

Coal Can Do That

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Energy storage and storing a decrease in entropy

1/ Power an air compressor with 13.38 kWh of electric energy to produce heating for a household's daily hot water consumption. The electric energy is converted to heat energy at about 60°C to produce 270 litres of hot water at 55°C and compressed air cooled to 25°C and 8 atmospheres.
See the spreadsheet below for calculations of thermal energy needed to supply 270 litres of hot water per day for a household or business.

2/ The compressed air produced at 25°C and 8 atmospheres (absolute) pressure may be used for driving compressed-air tools.
See the spreadsheet "AirCompressor" for the calculation of the energy used by the compressor and the volume of air it compresses.
Constant-Pressure Compressed Air Accumulator

3/ The compressed air instead may be used in a solar-air turbine to deliver 24.55 kWh at 100% thermal efficiency by compressing it adiabatically to 32 atmospheres before heating it further with an external thermal energy source at constant pressure then expanding it adiabatically before finally outputting it at 25°C and 1 atmosphere pressure.
See the spreadsheet "AirHeatEngine" for the calculation of the conversion of heat energy to 24.55 kWh electrical energy at 100% conversion efficiency with the compressed air that was produced while providing a household or businesses daily hot water requirements.

Note that while the conversion of thermal energy to electrical energy can achieve an efficiency of 100%, the total efficiency takes into account the 13.38 kWh consumed to produce the compressed air. The overall efficiency for this model is (24.55 - 13.38) / 24.55 = 45.5%.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cutting Edge 24/7 Solar Technology

AORA - Solar Energy Local Power Arizona State University

Arizona State University Research Partnership With Cutting Edge 24/7 Solar Technology

Arizona State University and AORA Solar NA announce a collaboration that will begin the development of a hybrid concentrated solar system on the Tempe campus that employs a Solar Tulip to concentrate the sun's energy, turning it into electricity.

Tempe, AZ - March 13, 2014

Solar generated electricity, which can suffer from intermittency issues and related impacts on the grid, is about to blossom at Arizona State University. Work will now begin on the development of a hybrid concentrated solar system, following a contract signing with ASU and AORA to provide research expertise in order to enhance the efficiency of this unique technology.

AORA Solar NA, has agreed to install the first ever Solar Tulip hybrid generating facility in the United States on university land, and ASU faculty, research staff, and students will work hand in hand with AORA to enhance the system. This project includes the installation of a hybrid concentrated solar power plant that employs a Solar Tulip to concentrate the sun’s energy, turning it into electricity. The system produces power 24/7, moving seamlessly from solar to natural gas or biogas and is also promising because it uses little to no water while producing a high quality thermal output in addition to power.

AORA Solar NA, a U.S. company, will work with a multi-disciplinary ASU team to research options to increase efficiency, improve reliability, utilize the exhaust heat and decrease the cost of this Israeli developed technology. AORA will construct the demonstration power plant, which includes a tower (approximately 100 feet high) appropriately called the Solar Tulip, on undeveloped land near the Karsten Golf Course in Tempe. The technology includes a collection of mirrors to concentrate the sun’s rays to heat compressed air to more than 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and drive a gas turbine. The rated output of the Tulip system is 100 kilowatts of electricity and an additional 170 kilowatts of thermal energy, about enough energy to power between 60-80 homes.

At night, or when overcast, the Tulip can use a wide range of fuels to heat the air and is thereby able to produce power and heat round the clock. The system is modular in design, allowing for multiple Tulips to work together, enabling the technology to match growing electric demand requirements. The relatively small footprint makes this system a potentially perfect complement to housing developments, or industrial parks, and offers an option to enhance grid stability in the presence of transient renewable generation.

“ASU is a natural partner for us, not only because of its sunny location, but because of the university’s dedication to innovation and sustainability,” said Zev Rosenzweig, CEO of AORA Solar. “We are excited to make our debut here in the United States with this innovative technology where we will continue to grow and develop the Tulip into a system that cities and industries around the world use to generate continuous energy with renewable resources. ASU’s breadth of research capability will undoubtedly allow us to increase output, and reduce overall costs which will bring us to commercial viability. Our confidence in this project is enhanced with the participation of Project Director, Ellen Stechel, who has spearheaded the concept from the beginning, along with her colleagues Gary Dirks, William Brandt and the ASU LightWorks team.”    

AORA Solar is currently operating two additional research facilities, one located in a solar research park in Almeria, Spain, and the original unit in Israel. These systems can be controlled remotely via computer, a unique capability that provides innovative options for possibilities in the U.S. and indeed around the world, including developing countries.

The ASU/AORA collaborative relationship will not only bring ASU closer to its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025, but it will also benefit students and researchers across multiple fields of study.

“This is another instance in which ASU has brought in cutting edge technology that its students can learn from and help perfect,” said Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan, senior vice president of Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development at ASU. “With this collaboration, the university has established a commitment to integrate students, faculty, and staff into research on the Solar Tulip design to bring 24-hour solar/renewable technology to commercialization.”

“The AORA/ASU collaboration provides a multitude of possibilities looking forward,” said Gary Dirks, director of ASU LightWorks. “It is a perfect example of industry and academia coming together and leveraging their unique strengths to create collaborative projects that propel new and viable technology into our energy future. The Solar Tulip has enormous potential both at ASU and beyond.”

AORA Solar has contracted with GreenFuel Technologies, a Phoenix-based General Contractor specializing in environmental energy projects to construct the research plant at the ASU campus. Groundbreaking is expected to occur in April, with the anticipated operation date to be sometime in the late September/early October time frame. AORA Solar and ASU look forward to welcoming university peers along with the public to a ribbon-cutting event at the Tulip’s completion.

“We are pleased to host the Solar Tulip at the ASU Tempe campus,” said John Riley, sustainability operations officer at ASU. “It is a visually iconic piece of technology, helping to illustrate the way ASU is a destination place for state-of-the-art research and facilities.”

This collaboration was advanced by Arizona State University LightWorks, a research initiative that unites resources and researchers across ASU to confront global energy challenges. The LightWorks team provided the vision of required research, identified the multiple research windows in which AORA will participate and is intimately involved in moving the project from concept to fruition. With a proven track record of swiftly and strategically partnering with a diverse set of institutions, LightWorks continues to help overcome challenges in the fields of solar power, sustainable fuels, and energy policy. To learn more about ASU LightWorks, visit

Solar 24/7 collaboration was advanced by Arizona State University LightWorks

Left to right: Gary Dirks, director of ASU LightWorks, Zev Rosenzweig, CEO of AORA Solar and John Riley, associate vice president of university business services and sustainability operations officer.

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About AORA
AORA, a renewable energy pioneer, is a leading developer of applied ultra-high temperature concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies. AORA’s modular solar power generation solutions are comprised of very small modular units (100kWe / 170kW heat) that can be linked together into centrally controlled power plants, customized to client demand. When the amount of sunlight is not sufficient, the system can operate on almost any alternative fuel source, thereby guaranteeing an uninterrupted power supply, 24hr/day. To learn more about AORA Solar, please visit