Donate Bitcoin

Donate Paypal


PeakOil is You

PeakOil is You

Coal to Liquid Fuels (merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Coal to liquid idea....

Unread postby dorlomin » Thu 15 Dec 2011, 13:50:47

seahorse3 wrote:SASOL is a South African company turning coal to fuel developed during Apartheid. Not sure what method they use, but they are publicly traded. So, it can and is being done.
Fischer Topp IIRC.
User avatar
dorlomin
Fusion
Fusion
 
Posts: 5193
Joined: Sun 05 Aug 2007, 02:00:00

Re: Coal to liquid idea....

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Thu 15 Dec 2011, 14:52:39

more important is the potential for GTL in North America. Sasol has signed a couple of agreements in North America and Australia to use their technology in order to convert natural gas from shales to diesel equivalent liquids.
User avatar
rockdoc123
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 5338
Joined: Mon 16 May 2005, 02:00:00

Re: Coal to liquid idea....

Unread postby AirlinePilot » Thu 15 Dec 2011, 14:59:56

The part of his idea I have an issue with is he is saying we can replace ALL gasoline and diesel usage with product supplied by CTL from F/T process with the heat generated by the thorium reactors. I am doubting his numbers in that he says all we need is 120% of current coal production to do that.

Is that plausible? SASOL says it gets roughly 1.25 bbls of oil for every short ton it burns in F/T.

By my simple calculation, even if we used ALL the coal we currently produce and burn for electricity for LFTR's/ F/T we still only get about 2.8mbpd of oil. IMHO that isnt enough to offset imports, nor is it practical to ramp coal production from where it currently is to do such a thing.
User avatar
AirlinePilot
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 4354
Joined: Tue 05 Apr 2005, 02:00:00
Location: South of Atlanta

Re: Coal to liquid idea....

Unread postby JRP3 » Thu 15 Dec 2011, 20:12:27

If we have LFTR's it will be more efficient to simply charge EV's than to use the energy to create liquid fuels to be burned in inefficient ICE's. Same is true of biomass and natural gas, use them to generate power for EV's.
User avatar
JRP3
Intermediate Crude
Intermediate Crude
 
Posts: 768
Joined: Mon 23 Oct 2006, 02:00:00

Re: Coal to liquid idea....

Unread postby sparky » Fri 16 Dec 2011, 00:22:17

.@ Seahorse2
Sasol used the Fischer–Tropsch process , it was developped in the 20ies used extensively during WW2 ,
parcticularly to fuel the nazi war effort and most recently in Apartheid embargoed South africa
It make sense if one has plenty of coal and little oil
sythetic oil is desirable since it's the most efficient form of transport fuel ever
if one consider energy density ,robustness, range ,maintenance and maturity of the technology

Like all bright ideas , some reality check is required

The economics are far from flash and the polution rather horrendous but it work fine
The critical factor is a high price difference between crude carbon and coal carbon
also one should consider the grade of coal , greasy rich grades like the Permian from Queensland are the best
lean , poor brown coal is not quite useless but close
User avatar
sparky
Fission
Fission
 
Posts: 3265
Joined: Mon 09 Apr 2007, 02:00:00
Location: Sydney , OZ

Re: Coal to liquid idea....

Unread postby AirlinePilot » Fri 16 Dec 2011, 01:26:12

This is the plan...his reply to me in an e-mail today....

Im really interested in what folks here think and why or why not it will work.


It's simple really.

There's 13 times as much energy in coal (in the form of the thorium in it) as there is available from burning the coal.

If we made ALL of our diesel and gasoline (leaving jet, aromatics, tars, etc alone) out of coal, we'd use about 120% of the amount we currently use. Nearly all of what we use today is consumed for electrical power generation, so we'll use 120% of current.

But -- if we do this, we use ZERO coal for electricity. Remember that there is 13x as much energy (thermal) in the coal in the form of Thorium as you get from burning it. So conservatively in terms of BTUs

1x coal = separation of the carbon for feed into Fischer-Tropsch.
1x coal = direct energy output for electrical generation
1x coal (again) = energy input to the Fischer-Tropsch process (overstated by at least 50%, but remember, I'm being conservative)

And we have 5, 6, 7x as much or more (thermal) energy remaining to use for other things (e.g. more electrical power.)

Fischer-Tropsch requires about a 350C temperature in process heat. The LFTR runs at 650C in the primary loop. You therefore use direct process heat (avoiding the loss of double-conversion to electricity and then back to thermal energy) for the Fischer-Tropsch process.

What do you wind up with:

1. ZERO petroleum imports (and ZERO CO2 released from petroleum imports)

2. ZERO use of coal for electrical generation (and zero CO2 released from making electrical power) I would argue for shutting down peaking plants run on natural gas as well, removing THAT CO2 source as well, but let's assume we don't for cost reasons.

3. The COAL we formerly burned gets turned into diesel and gasoline. CO2 is released from that process when the gas and diesel is burned, effectively the same amount we released from power plants before (but now out the tailpipes of cars instead of power plant smokestacks)

This results in:

1. 20% increase in coal consumption from present. We have ~500ish years of proven and economically-recoverable reserves. At 1% population growth and no conservation improvements we have more than 200 years of reserves without finding more. In truth we probably have 500 years before price starts to ramp uncontrollably. That's ok, however (see below.)

2. CO2 production drops by about half of what it was before for the combined oil and coal. That is roughly a 25% decrease in CO2 production net-net across the entire nation - permanently. (I do not believe in man-caused global warming but if you do this is a good reason to support this path.)

3. An end to coal-fired power plants and the cancers they cause as most of the cancers are caused by the thorium that is in the coal (it's slightly radioactive); all radioactive chemical isotopes will be effectively removed when the carbon is separated out of coal, and since we will use none of it in "neat" form any more other than for steel production and similar processes (coking coal is a different substance in terms of quality anyway) the incidence of airborne radioisotopes -- along with mercury -- will drop materially.

4. If/when we haven't found a better replacement in 200 years we can get more thorium virtually anywhere (we have thousands of years of easily-recoverable deposits in the crust of the United States) and we can also get the carbon for Fischer-Tropsch from the atmosphere (it's more expensive to condense it out than it is to use coal, but that's a price issue, not a technical capability issue.)

There is no reasonable alternative to liquid hydrocarbons for personal transportation. This path is neither pie-in-the-sky or mathematically challenged. It works -- on the chemistry, on the nuclear side, on the resource extraction rate and on the math.
User avatar
AirlinePilot
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 4354
Joined: Tue 05 Apr 2005, 02:00:00
Location: South of Atlanta

Re: Coal to liquid idea....

Unread postby MD » Fri 16 Dec 2011, 06:07:59

AirlinePilot wrote:...
There's 13 times as much energy in coal (in the form of the thorium in it) as there is available from burning the coal...


I'm having a hard time overcoming my skepticism on this one.
Stop filling dumpsters, as much as you possibly can, and everything will get better.

Just think it through.
It's not hard to do.
User avatar
MD
COB
COB
 
Posts: 4819
Joined: Mon 02 May 2005, 02:00:00
Location: On the ball

Re: Coal to liquid idea....

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 16 Dec 2011, 06:21:49

AP, I will go you one better.
Read through http://peakoil.com/forums/co2-h2o-energy-synthetic-fuel-t57236.html which I put up a couple years ago. Using your Thorium reactors and completely skipping the coal part of the process you can have carbon free electricity coupled with carbon neutral transportation. Thorium is massively abundant and a LFTR can also burn nuclear waste from existing reactors so in practice there is no reason to even mine any power mineral for centuries as we burn up the accumulated wastes from the first 50 years of the nuclear era.
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
User avatar
Tanada
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 13825
Joined: Thu 28 Apr 2005, 02:00:00
Location: South West shore Lake Erie, OH, USA

Re: Coal to liquid idea....

Unread postby JRP3 » Fri 16 Dec 2011, 08:35:27

AirlinePilot wrote:

There is no reasonable alternative to liquid hydrocarbons for personal transportation. This path is neither pie-in-the-sky or mathematically challenged.

Those of us driving electric vehicles every day realize how false that statement is. There is plenty of Thorium available without mining more coal, which we should be curtailing, not increasing. Coal mining itself is highly destructive and polluting.
User avatar
JRP3
Intermediate Crude
Intermediate Crude
 
Posts: 768
Joined: Mon 23 Oct 2006, 02:00:00

Re: Coal to liquid idea....

Unread postby peripato » Fri 16 Dec 2011, 08:42:50

MD wrote:
AirlinePilot wrote:...
There's 13 times as much energy in coal (in the form of the thorium in it) as there is available from burning the coal...


I'm having a hard time overcoming my skepticism on this one.

I'd have to agree. There are many reports that pour water all over the CTL idea, mainly due to the high monetary, time and environmental cost. But mainly because CTL has never existed in commercial quantity, nor seems ever likely too. Not to say some governments mightn't be crazy enough to try it on a grand scale, given half the chance. Mercifully in that case, for the sake of future generations and the other species, we can only surmise that, on the balance of probabilities, by the time that happened, the world economy will have collapsed before yet another leg of the fossil fuel suicide machine gathered any pace.
"Don’t panic, Wall St. is safe!"
User avatar
peripato
Light Sweet Crude
Light Sweet Crude
 
Posts: 1327
Joined: Tue 03 May 2005, 02:00:00
Location: Reality

Re: Coal to liquid idea....

Unread postby AirlinePilot » Fri 16 Dec 2011, 13:10:40

JRP3 wrote:
AirlinePilot wrote:

There is no reasonable alternative to liquid hydrocarbons for personal transportation. This path is neither pie-in-the-sky or mathematically challenged.

Those of us driving electric vehicles every day realize how false that statement is. There is plenty of Thorium available without mining more coal, which we should be curtailing, not increasing. Coal mining itself is highly destructive and polluting.


Thats not MY quote, its from the original e-mail sent to me by Mr Denninger.

I acknowledge the futility of the increased coal mining, I just wanted some refutation by folks who may be more knowledgeable about coal and the feasibility of his plan. I have a problem with his conversions. I do not think he is understanding the amounts of oil we can get from his increase of 120% current coal production. It only goes a small way to reducing imports. His original premise is that it "solves" the oil import problem.
User avatar
AirlinePilot
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 4354
Joined: Tue 05 Apr 2005, 02:00:00
Location: South of Atlanta

Re: Coal to liquid idea....

Unread postby misterno » Sat 31 Dec 2011, 10:47:20

My question is even Hitler used this technology in its planes 55 years ago

So if this is an old tehcnology and a proven and viable one, so howcome nobody ever bothered with it till now?

Maybe it costs more expensive then gasoline/diesel?

Or too much pollution?

Any ideas?
User avatar
misterno
Intermediate Crude
Intermediate Crude
 
Posts: 836
Joined: Wed 07 Mar 2007, 03:00:00
Location: Somewhere super boring

Re: Coal to liquid idea....

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Sat 31 Dec 2011, 11:13:58

Basicly because oil distillation is a one way process at least to begin with. It is simply heated and condensed at a variety of precise temperatures. GTL involves firstly compression then catalyzation then separation redistillation. Probably 3 times the E input per unit out. This ignores the thorium aspect which others here are more qualified than I to debate.
SeaGypsy
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 8948
Joined: Wed 04 Feb 2009, 03:00:00

Re: Coal to liquid idea....

Unread postby TheDude » Sat 31 Dec 2011, 13:00:44

Excellent report: Producing Liquid Fuels from Coal: Prospects and Policy Issues | RAND. In his book Blackout Heinberg documented a whole slew of Chinese CTL projects, almost all of which have been shelved, not only due to cost considerations but also from needing massive added inputs of water.

Nazis and SA have turned to CTL mostly out of duress. The Nazis utilized slave labor, btw; Sasol's main plant is one of the largest pollution point sources on the planet. Nazis took about 12 years to hit a peak of 144 kb/d in 1944. RAND report goes over all kinds of approaches to liquefying coal, all of which are far more likely to be implemented than some exotic scheme involving currently drawing board means of splitting atoms. Thorium has been utilized as a catalyst or the like in some Indian fission plants, and that's it. It isn't a 1:1 substitute for uranium as of yet, and might never be. Uranium is still too widely accessible and will dominate this market for the foreseeable future.
Cogito, ergo non satis bibivi
And let me tell you something: I dig your work.
User avatar
TheDude
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 4896
Joined: Thu 06 Apr 2006, 02:00:00
Location: 3 miles NW of Champoeg, Republic of Cascadia

Re: Coal to liquid idea....

Unread postby prajeshbhat » Mon 09 Jan 2012, 04:17:09

There is no way the process of artificially converting solid coal to liquid is an alternative to naturally free flowing crude oil. If it was, it would have been developed and exploited a long time ago. But it may be an alternative to tar sands, shale gas/oil and all these other crude oil wannabes. It will only be tried once crude oil supply is cut off partially or completely.

Thorium is useless unless there is a very large and highly organized functioning civilization with an economy that is capable of (profitably) developing, operating and maintaining large Nuclear power plants. It remains to be seen whether civilizations like this will continue to function a few decades from now. Oil shortages may destroy the societies ability to function "normally", meaning perpetually growing without causing significant large scale deadly conflicts.

There is no reason to believe this will never happen again

Image
prajeshbhat
Heavy Crude
Heavy Crude
 
Posts: 346
Joined: Tue 17 May 2011, 01:44:33

Synthetic Fuel Could Eliminate U.S. Need for Crude Oil

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 05 Dec 2012, 22:59:59

Synthetic Fuel Could Eliminate U.S. Need for Crude Oil

The United States could eliminate the need for crude oil by using a combination of coal, natural gas and non-food crops to make synthetic fuel, a team of Princeton researchers has found.

Besides economic and national security benefits, the plan has potential environmental advantages. Because plants absorb carbon dioxide to grow, the United States could cut vehicle greenhouse emissions by as much as 50 percent in the next several decades using non-food crops to create liquid fuels, the researchers said.

Synthetic fuels would be an easy fit for the transportation system because they could be used directly in automobile engines and are almost identical to fuels refined from crude oil. That sets them apart from currently available biofuels, such as ethanol, which have to be mixed with gas or require special engines.



Accomplishing this would not be easy or quick, Floudas said. A realistic approach would call for a gradual implementation of synthetic fuel technology, and Floudas estimated it would take 30 to 40 years for the United States to fully adopt synthetic fuel. It also would not be cheap. He estimates the price tag at roughly $1.1 trillion for the entire system.

The research makes up an important part of a white paper recently produced by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the nation's largest chemical engineering association. In the paper, the chemical engineers call for a greater integration of energy sources and urge policymakers to consider chemical conversion processes as a potential method to produce cleaner and cheaper fuels.

"Right now we are going down so many energy paths," said June Wispelwey, the institute's director and a 1981 Princeton alumna. "There are ways for the system to be more integrated and much more efficient."


"The main reason we wrote the paper was to get the planning agencies -- the national academies, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Defense Department -- thinking about this," Weekman said. He added that it was important that the agencies consider "this key link of using chemical processes to produce conventional fuels."

In the Princeton research, Floudas' team found that synthetic fuel plants could produce gasoline, diesel and aviation fuels at competitive prices, depending on the price of crude oil and the type of feedstock used to create the synthetic fuel. About two-thirds of crude oil consumed by the United States is used for transportation fuel, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA said the United States imports about 45 percent of its annual crude oil consumption.

"Even including the capital costs, synthetic fuels can still be profitable," said Richard Baliban, a chemical and biological engineering graduate student who graduated in 2012 and was the lead author on several of the team's papers. "As long as crude oil is between $60 and $100 per barrel, these processes are competitive depending on the feedstock," he said.

The core of the plan is a technique that uses heat and chemistry to create gasoline and other liquid fuels from high-carbon feedstock ranging from coal to switchgrass, a native North American grass common to the Great Plains. The method, called the Fischer-Tropsch process, was developed in Germany in the 1920s as a way to convert coal to liquid fuels.


sciencedaily
Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe. H. G. Wells.
Fatih Birol's motto: leave oil before it leaves us.
User avatar
Graeme
Master
Master
 
Posts: 13257
Joined: Fri 04 Mar 2005, 03:00:00
Location: New Zealand

Re: Synthetic Fuel Could Eliminate U.S. Need for Crude Oil

Unread postby Cloud9 » Thu 06 Dec 2012, 06:39:09

The Germans ran their war machine on synthetics. Production never met demand. Vehicles were abandoned on the battle field for lack of fuel.
User avatar
Cloud9
Fission
Fission
 
Posts: 2961
Joined: Wed 26 Jul 2006, 02:00:00

Re: Synthetic Fuel Could Eliminate U.S. Need for Crude Oil

Unread postby Beery1 » Thu 06 Dec 2012, 10:07:26

Cloud9 wrote:The Germans ran their war machine on synthetics. Production never met demand. Vehicles were abandoned on the battle field for lack of fuel.


Yeah, but we have boundless technology and minds unencumbered by stupid Nazi ideology on our side. We just need the power of the iPhone with an app, or maybe the iPad, or maybe a Roomba or a Segway. Something will pop up so that we can produce oil really quickly, we'll call it something like 'The Oilomatic' and it'll be fricken awesome! Then we'll bring back the Hummer and all will be right with the world again.
"I'm gonna have to ask you boys to stop raping our doctor."
Beery1
Intermediate Crude
Intermediate Crude
 
Posts: 692
Joined: Tue 17 Jan 2012, 20:31:15

Re: Synthetic Fuel Could Eliminate U.S. Need for Crude Oil

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Thu 06 Dec 2012, 11:46:49

So really 1.1 Trillion$?!? to ...cure... the USA's liquid fuels crisis.
SeaGypsy
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 8948
Joined: Wed 04 Feb 2009, 03:00:00

Re: Synthetic Fuel Could Eliminate U.S. Need for Crude Oil

Unread postby ian807 » Thu 06 Dec 2012, 12:38:45

As has been mentioned countless times before, ALL biofuels are merely inefficient solar energy collectors. They don't scale and won't ever scale without damaging the environment irreparably. They have their place. They're better than nothing. They're no panacea.

Next?
User avatar
ian807
Intermediate Crude
Intermediate Crude
 
Posts: 899
Joined: Mon 03 Nov 2008, 03:00:00

PreviousNext

Return to Energy Technology

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 19 guests