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Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:47 AM

A Global Coal Boom


China's Taichung power plant - the highest point source of CO2 in the world

"Coal’s share of the global energy mix continues to rise, and by 2017 coal will come close to surpassing oil as the world’s top energy source, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today as it released its annual Medium-Term Coal Market Report (MCMR).

Although the growth rate of coal slows from the breakneck pace of the last decade, global coal consumption by 2017 stands at 4.32 billion tonnes of oil equivalent (btoe), versus around 4.40 btoe for oil, based on IEA medium-term projections. The IEA expects that coal demand will increase in every region of the world except in the United States, where coal is being pushed out by natural gas.

“Thanks to abundant supplies and insatiable demand for power from emerging markets, coal met nearly half of the rise in global energy demand during the first decade of the 21st Century,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. 'This report sees that trend continuing. In fact, the world will burn around 1.2 billion more tonnes of coal per year by 2017 compared to today – equivalent to the current coal consumption of Russia and the United States combined. Coal’s share of the global energy mix continues to grow each year, and if no changes are made to current policies, coal will catch oil within a decade.' "

http://www.iea.org/newsroomandevents/pressreleases/2012/december/name,34441,en.html

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Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply A Global Coal Boom (Original post)
wtmusic Dec 2012 OP
limpyhobbler Dec 2012 #1
Locrian Dec 2012 #2
NoOneMan Dec 2012 #3
stuntcat Dec 2012 #4
GliderGuider Dec 2012 #5
AverageJoe90 Dec 2012 #6
GliderGuider Dec 2012 #7
Nihil Dec 2012 #8

Response to wtmusic (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 11:58 AM

1. U.S. Coal Exports On Pace To Hit All-Time High, Fueling Surge In Global Warming Pollution

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Response to wtmusic (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:03 PM

2. China

I was in China last September and the pollution was apocalyptic. I can't imagine how much worse it will get.

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Response to wtmusic (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:29 PM

3. This is perfect

 

Once all our windmills are in place, we can make a mint shipping every last ounce of coal to China. We can use the proceed to put up even more windmills!

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 03:51 PM

4. exactly what you said.

Right before I cried I laughed.. So thanks for the laugh I suppose!!

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Response to wtmusic (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 04:12 PM

5. And at the same time

CCS is a non-starter.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20770245
But in today's study, the IEA says that CCS is unlikely to make any impact in the next five years.

This pessimistic view was echoed in Brussels as the EU was unable to find a suitable carbon capture and storage project to fund, despite having set aside 275m euros (£224m) to kick start the technology.

A number of projects from different European countries including the UK had been in the running for a share of the money but all were forced to withdraw after they failed to secure necessary financial support from their home governments. This is despite the UK outlining a new effort to develop CCS earlier this year.

And even if there was somebody willing to try it, I just read this article that says the total volume required to store CO2 safely may have been underestimated by an order of magnitude...

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Clean_Coal#Problems_with_CCS
According to a peer-reviewed study published in the journal of Society of Petroleum Engineers, titled "Sequestering Carbon Dioxide in a Close Underground Volume" the authors argue that past calculations of CCS were widely off, rendering the technology impractical. Writing for Casper, Wyoming's Star-Tribune, report author Prof. Michael Economides explains,

Earlier published reports on the potential for sequestration fail to address the necessity of storing CO2 in a closed system. Our calculations suggest that the volume of liquid or supercritical CO2 to be disposed cannot exceed more than about 1 percent of pore space. This will require from 5 to 20 times more underground reservoir volume than has been envisioned by many, including federal government laboratories, and it renders geologic sequestration of CO2 a profoundly non-feasible option for the management of CO2 emissions.

Injection rates, based on displacement mechanisms from enhanced oil recovery experiences, assuming open aquifer conditions, are totally erroneous because they fail to reconcile the fundamental difference between steady state, where the injection rate is constant, and pseudo-steady state, where the injection rate will undergo exponential decline if the injection pressure exceeds an allowable value.

The implications of our work are profound. They show that models that assume a constant pressure outer boundary for reservoirs intended for CO2 sequestration are missing the critical point that the reservoir pressure will build up under injection at constant rate. Instead of the 1-4 percent of bulk volume storability factor indicated prominently in the literature, which is based on erroneous steady-state modeling, our finding is that CO2 can occupy no more than 1 percent of the pore volume and likely as much as 100 times less.

We related the volume of the reservoir that would be adequate to store CO2 with the need to sustain injectivity. The two are intimately connected. The United States has installed over 800 gigawatts (GW) of CO2 emitting coal and natural gas power plants. In applying this to a commercial power plant of just 500 MW, which by the way produces about 3 million tons per year relentlessly, the findings suggest that for a small number of wells the areal extent of the reservoir would be enormous, the size of a small U.S. state. Conversely, for more moderate size reservoirs, still the size of the U.S.'s largest, Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay reservoir, and with moderate permeability there would be a need for hundreds of wells. Neither of these bode well for geological CO2 sequestration and the work clearly suggests that it is not a practical means to provide any substantive reduction in CO2 emissions.

How fucked can one species be? OK, so it's a rhetorical question.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #5)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 07:00 PM

6. Hello GG. So, "Society of Petroleum Engineers", huh?

Why is my skepticism meter bouncing off the wall with the latter? Methinks there's something highly fishy there.....

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 07:43 PM

7. Yes, that paper has been critiqued

But everyone has a dog in the fight. One major critique I found came from the Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage research group. No possibility of a vested interest there, eh? Another is from the US DOE, though.

People seem to be focusing their criticism on two core assumptions of the Economides' research:

1.) Effective CO2 storage requires the presence of a hydrologically isolated, completely closed geologic structure; and
2.) Any other storage system is guaranteed to leak.

At first glance those look like completely reasonable assumptions, but hey, I'm not a geologist. As a global citizen I sure don't want CCS reservoirs leaking, though.

The most charitable message is that the issue is still complex and unresolved enough to get this kind of research published. CCS is still the dog that won't hunt.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 06:17 AM

8. Guess what else they gloss over?

Last edited Wed Dec 19, 2012, 07:26 AM - Edit history (1)

> Effective CO2 storage requires the presence of a hydrologically isolated,
> completely closed geologic structure

When you drill your shaft into such an ideal structure, it is no longer "completely closed"
and now falls into the same category as "any other storage system" - i.e., it is now
guaranteed to leak.

But panic not, this is "not a problem": unlike oil or the various toxic waste pollutants
already being pumped into aquifers across the country, at least CO2 is invisible and
so no-one will be able to prove that it is just another catastrophically suicidal scam
to part naive yet good-willed investors from their cash.

As always, the scum will grab the money and vanish behind legally-impenetrable walls
while the rest of the world rue their collective gullibility in being tricked yet again.


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