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THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

2011: Peak Coal.

Unread postby XOVERX » Thu 05 Aug 2010, 19:29:08

A current article appearing on a blog sponsored by the University of Texas at Austin sets forth a date of 2011 for the "peaking" of coal production. The article is located here: http://www.utexas.edu/news/2010/07/26/engineering_patzek_coal/comment-page-1/#comment-3513

While the main thrust of the article argues for tweaking climate modeling computers, the reason the climate modeling computers should be tweaked is that coal production will "peak" in 2011, according to research published by Professor Tad Patzek, Chair of the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department at UT at Austin:

Based on widely accepted studies predicting coal production will peak and decline after 2011, Patzek warns climate change predictions should be revised to account for this inevitable peak and decline. His research appears in the internationally peer-reviewed journal, Energy, The International Journal.
...
Credible forecasts of coal production, by contrast, predict a 50 percent reduction over the next 50 years.


Professor Patzek will never be accused of being a champion of current IPCC climate models, claiming they are based on "the common myth of 200-400 years of coal supply." The Professor and his associate go on to say that IPCC "policy considerations . . . appear to be unconstrained by geophysics."

What these Professors seem to fail to grasp is the magnitude of coal peaking in 2011 viz-a-viz the energy needs of an exponentially growing worldwide population, and the energy growth required to fuel market capitalism. Insufficient energy inputs into the economy mean inevitable economic decline, perhaps collapse, and the world's population will necessarily suffer painful dislocations.

Intending the following comments toward climate modelers, I ask the reader, instead, to consider the ramifications of the comments with respect to future energy production models:

"Governments worldwide are basing their policy decisions on the uninterrupted increase of coal and oil production worldwide," says Patzek. "These policy decisions will be inherently in error, and will lead to expensive and false technological solutions."


The problem with "peak oil" is exactly the problem with "peak coal" -- The "easy" coal is gone:

The paper provides a physical model of historical and future production of coal worldwide. The model demonstrates that despite enormous coal deposits globally, coal production rates will decline because the deposits show increasing inaccessibility and decreasing coal seam thickness, according to the research.


For me at least, the idea of coal "peaking" in 2011 is quite startling. I don't think I've ever seen a date so close for coal. I've always thought coal would peak sometime between 2035-2050.

If Professor Patzek is correct about "peak coal," then if humans are going to invent a way out of the oncoming energy crisis, I'm thinking we better get started pretty doggone soon now.

But like climate deniers, energy deniers will block intensive efforts to develop alternative energy sources into the foreseeable future. On this, I hope I am incorrect.
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Re: Study Concludes “Peak Coal” Will Occur Close to 2011

Unread postby The_Virginian » Mon 09 Aug 2010, 16:31:14

WorldWIDE supply may peak, the US has more coal ( even in less energy dense forms) than any one.

http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/052504_coal_peak.html

So 2030 or so for the US of A.

Others will deplete the uranium instead. 8O
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Re: Study Concludes “Peak Coal” Will Occur Close to 2011

Unread postby eastbay » Mon 09 Aug 2010, 21:27:51

EIA has excellent charts and data about worldwide coal production.

Coal, like oil, is a fungible commodity. When the net production of all producer nations combined peaks, we've reached peak coal for all. The only way for a single nation to avoid the wrath of global peaking is to anger the others by prohibiting or at least greatly limiting export.
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Re: Study Concludes “Peak Coal” Will Occur Close to 2011

Unread postby Xenophobe » Mon 09 Aug 2010, 22:09:08

The_Virginian wrote:WorldWIDE supply may peak, the US has more coal ( even in less energy dense forms) than any one.

http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/052504_coal_peak.html

So 2030 or so for the US of A.

Others will deplete the uranium instead. 8O


The first sentence of that reference.

"As many people with even a casual interest in energy now know, natural gas supplies in the United States are very tight and will most likely become worse due to mature gas reservoirs no longer being able to meet demand."

With the above referenced statement in mind, and the 6 years of historical record which have taken place since it was written, it would seem that a more credible source is necessary to make the point.
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Re: Study Concludes “Peak Coal” Will Occur Close to 2011

Unread postby dolanbaker » Tue 10 Aug 2010, 04:05:19

eastbay wrote:EIA has excellent charts and data about worldwide coal production.

Coal, like oil, is a fungible commodity. When the net production of all producer nations combined peaks, we've reached peak coal for all. The only way for a single nation to avoid the wrath of global peaking is to anger the others by prohibiting or at least greatly limiting export.


Limiting export would be the easiest route as all a country needs to do is not expand mining beyond what is needed for domestic consumption. By doing so, they can't be accussed of "hoarding", they could risk invasion if a stronger neighbour demands a share.
Ronald Coase, Nobel Economic Sciences, said in 1991 “If we torture the data long enough, it will confess.”
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Re: Study Concludes “Peak Coal” Will Occur Close to 2011

Unread postby The_Virginian » Tue 10 Aug 2010, 21:13:23

" Using the recoverable reserves as an estimate of what is realistically available for production will yield a coal output of around 1400 Mt by 2030 through the rest of the century. This would require a massive development of the coal reserves in Montana, as they are the largest undeveloped reserves remaining for future exploitation. Unless this happens, US coal production could reach a peak around 2030."

http://www.tsl.uu.se/uhdsg/Publications/USA_Coal.pdf

Mikael Höök, Kjell Aleklett...are they credible enough? :wink:

Keep in mind the 2030 view for US coal peaking is the PESSIMISTIC view that production will not be ramped up in some states due to political and property issues.


"Montana already exports around 40% of all electricity produced locally from coal and there are challenges with increasing the amount of new coal-fired power plants (Montana Department of Environmental Quality, 2008). To summarize, expansion of coal production in Montana is, at this time, not very likely. The recoverable reserves are large enough to keep coal production from the Appalachian Basin virtually constant until 2050, when decline will occur. Increased production from the Interior area, chiefly Illinois, will be able to diminish, but not fully compensate, declining production of the Appalachian Basin. The western area contains huge reserves of subbituminous coal and will account for the largest part of future U.S. coal production (Figure 15)."


Ten years from now I see much more serious concerns from nations feeding their own, than I do whether they will be willing to "tick off" others by NOT EXPORTING energy.

Heck how much energy does the US export in any case?

Answer?

45.667 million short tons in 2008.

http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/country/country_energy_data.cfm?fips=US

In contrast Australia exported 277.991 million short tons.

I think the US will be left alone if it decides to end exports of coal. [smilie=cachas.gif]
[urlhttp://www.youtube.com/watchv=Ai4te4daLZs&feature=related[/url] "My soul longs for the candle and the spices. If only you would pour me a cup of wine for Havdalah...My heart yearning, I shall lift up my eyes to g-d, who provides for my needs day and night."
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Re: Study Concludes “Peak Coal” Will Occur Close to 2011

Unread postby Xenophobe » Tue 10 Aug 2010, 21:46:23

The_Virginian wrote:http://www.tsl.uu.se/uhdsg/Publications/USA_Coal.pdf

Mikael Höök, Kjell Aleklett...are they credible enough? :wink:


Well, it depends on how we judge credibility. Hook and Aleklett write quite a few papers on oil production and rates, usually limiting themselves to a fraction of the oilfields available in the publicly available databases, and certainly don't have any experience in the practical aspects of oil, gas or coal work that I can determine. One is a student. One is his professor who happens to run ASPO. You wouldn't happen to know if prior to teaching, Aleklett did anything of note related to oil, gas or coal exploration, development or assessment would you? IMHO their work appears to be designed in part to create policy points rather than a scientific investigation of the issues. I've noticed that whenever something done by CERA shows up in the literature, the rebuttal position is often presented by Aleklett.

An obvious comment which strikes me immediately is that they use the databases of Melici (USGS) but I did not see a corresponding reference to the actual resource sizes provided by the same organization? For example, they reference the entire recoverable estimates for the US as some 290,000 (Mt?), whereas the coal resource estimated by the coal experts referenced here:

http://pubs.usgs.gov/bul/b2189/

show a resource base twice as large as that for the Rockies alone (Table 4, Page 11).

I didn't have time to completely investigate the Hook/Aleklett report, but I saw no mention of the conversion between these two categories. Considering the sheer size of this conversion through time, any work which wants to speculate on production rates, availability or shortages, must consider this type of conversion to be considered credible. IMHO of course.

Perhaps I am being too severe in my examination of the basics of their report? Certainly it is well referenced and much better than your previous reference, but it must be viewed in light of its authors, both in terms of their experience, intent, past writings and any methodology flaws which distract from answering the critical question at hand.

The Virginian wrote:Keep in mind the 2030 view for US coal peaking is the PESSIMISTIC view that production will not be ramped up in some states due to political and property issues.


I don't know if peaking is the appropriate term for any limited resource anymore in light of what has happened with oil in the past 5 years. The question now appears to revolve more around how long a plateau can be sustained, if the same rules of production even apply to coal like they do to oil, which is not itself a given.
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Re: Study Concludes “Peak Coal” Will Occur Close to 2011

Unread postby eastbay » Tue 10 Aug 2010, 22:00:47

Interestingly, we now have two equally credible and reputable sources telling us quite different anticipated outcomes regarding when peak coal will occur. Either way it's finite and the end is very near, so to speak. Like in our kids lifetimes 'near'.
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Re: Study Concludes “Peak Coal” Will Occur Close to 2011

Unread postby The_Virginian » Wed 11 Aug 2010, 04:31:36

Eastbay, Xenophobe,


My intent is to show that the USA is in the best position regarding coal reserves.

The date of peak energy form coal may have already passed us in 1998. But the date of total peak in terms of volume wont likely be until at least 2030 or so.

Maybe later.

YES, coal is finite, in human terms. And it will likely reach it's useful limits in our lifetimes.
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National Geographic:Mining the Truth on Coal Supplies

Unread postby HoldenLS1 » Wed 08 Sep 2010, 22:50:27

Economic Costs

If true, this could have a vast impact on the world economy.

Coal-fired power plants supply 40 percent of the world's electricity, and energy for two-thirds of the world's steel production.

"If we are right," Patzek's study said, "major restructuring and shrinking of the global economy will follow."

Many countries are counting on coal to continue powering their economies for decades to come.


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/09/100908-energy-peak-coal/

Be a very interesting few years with peak oil and peak coal as well 8O
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Re: National Geographic:Mining the Truth on Coal Supplies

Unread postby Plantagenet » Wed 08 Sep 2010, 23:03:02

The United States is the Saudi Arabia of coal”
--President Barack Obama
---------------
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We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq
---Barack Obama (2011)
Unfortunately, the Fed can't print oil
---Ben Bernanke (2011)
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Study: Peak Coal soon

Unread postby wisconsin_cur » Sat 11 Sep 2010, 02:16:18

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/09/100908-energy-peak-coal/

No matter how bad coal might be for the planet, the conventional wisdom is that there is so much of it underground that the world’s leading fuel for electricity will continue to dominate the energy scene unless global action is taken on climate change.

But what if conventional wisdom is wrong?

A new study seeks to shake up the assumption that use of coal, the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, is bound to continue its inexorable rise. In fact, the authors predict that world coal production may reach its peak as early as next year, and then begin a permanent decline.


Emphasis Mine

Now wouldn't that just be something?
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Re: Study: Peak Coal soon

Unread postby dolanbaker » Sat 11 Sep 2010, 05:49:31

One thing that caught my eye on that report was the comparison of the bell curve to UK coal production and stating that they matched well, what was not mentioned was the fact that many UK mines were shut as a result of government policy in the 1980s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK_miners' ... %80%931985 )

The UK Miners' Strike was a major industrial action affecting the British coal industry. It was a defining moment in British industrial relations, and its defeat significantly weakened the British trades union movement. It was also seen as a major political and ideological victory for Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party.

The strike became a symbolic struggle, since the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was if not the strongest then one of the strongest in the country, viewed by many, including Conservatives in power, as having brought down the Heath government in its 1974 strike. The strike ended with the miners' defeat and the Thatcher government able to consolidate its free market programme. The political power of the NUM was broken permanently. The dispute exposed deep divisions in British society and caused considerable bitterness, especially in Northern England and in Wales. Ten deaths resulted from events around the strike: six pickets, three teenagers searching for coal, and a taxi driver taking a non-striking miner to work.

Ronald Coase, Nobel Economic Sciences, said in 1991 “If we torture the data long enough, it will confess.”
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National Geographic On Peak Coal

Unread postby mattduke » Sat 11 Sep 2010, 09:20:16

No matter how bad coal might be for the planet, the conventional wisdom is that there is so much of it underground that the world’s leading fuel for electricity will continue to dominate the energy scene unless global action is taken on climate change.


But what if conventional wisdom is wrong?

A new study seeks to shake up the assumption that use of coal, the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, is bound to continue its inexorable rise. In fact, the authors predict that world coal production may reach its peak as early as next year, and then begin a permanent decline.

The study, led by Tad Patzek, chairman of the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, and published in the August issue of Energy, predicts that by mid-century, the world's coal mining will supply only half as much energy as today.

The idea that the world will face "peak coal" as soon as 2011 flies in the face of most earlier estimates and analysis.


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... peak-coal/
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Coal: The Miracle Cure for Overpopulation

Unread postby bratticus » Sat 28 May 2011, 17:48:41

Cancer Now Leading Cause of Death in China
Janet Larsen / Earth Policy Institute / May 25, 2011


Cancer is now the leading cause of death in China. Chinese Ministry of Health data implicate cancer in close to a quarter of all deaths countrywide. As is common with many countries as they industrialize, the usual plagues of poverty—infectious diseases and high infant mortality—have given way to diseases more often associated with affluence, such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

While this might be expected in China’s richer cities, where bicycles are fast being traded in for cars and meat consumption is climbing, it also holds true in rural areas. In fact, reports from the countryside reveal a dangerous epidemic of “cancer villages” linked to pollution from some of the very industries propelling China’s explosive economy. By pursuing economic growth above all else, China is sacrificing the health of its people, ultimately risking future prosperity.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in China. Deaths from this typically fatal disease have shot up nearly fivefold since the 1970s. ... Dirty air is associated with not only a number of cancers, but also heart disease, stroke, and respiratory disease, which together account for over 80 percent of deaths countrywide. According to the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the burning of coal is responsible for 70 percent of the emissions of soot that clouds out the sun in so much of China; 85 percent of sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain and smog; and 67 percent of nitrogen oxide, a precursor to harmful ground level ozone. Coal burning is also a major emitter of carcinogens and mercury, a potent neurotoxin. Coal ash, which contains radioactive material and heavy metals, including chromium, arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury, is China’s number one source of solid industrial waste. The toxic ash that is not otherwise used in infrastructure or manufacturing is stored in impoundments, where it can be caught by air currents or leach contaminants into the groundwater.

... More than 450 “cancer villages” have emerged across China in recent years, according to an analysis by geographer Lee Liu published in Environment magazine in 2010.

... Liu notes that in some extreme cases, like in Huangmengying Village in Henan Province, “the death rate is higher than the birth rate and is rising rapidly,” and not because of population aging. In this particular village, which gets blackened water from a tributary of the notoriously polluted Huai River, some 80 percent of the village’s young people are chronically ill.


Coal Is Linked to Cancer in China Province
By SINDYA N. BHANOO / NYT / Jan 11, 2010


Nonsmoking women in an area of China’s Yunnan province die of lung cancer at a rate 20 times that of their counterparts in other regions of the country — and higher than anywhere else in the world.

A group of scientists now say they have a possible explanation: the burning of coal formed during volcanic eruptions hundreds of millions of years ago.

Coal in that part of China contains high concentrations of silica, a suspected carcinogen, the scientists reported in a recent edition of the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Like others in rural China, the families of Xuanwei County use coal for heat and for cooking. As the coal burns, particles of silica are released with the vapor and inhaled. Women, who do the cooking, face the greatest exposure.

“There is more silica in this coal than in 99.9 percent of all the samples we analyzed,” said an author of the study, Robert B. Finkelman, a professor of geology at the University of Texas at Dallas.


China Demand For Coking Coal Expected To Increase By 180 Mn Tonnes
Capital Market / May 27, 2011


China's demand for coking coal is expected to increase by 180 million tonnes by 2015, local media agency Shanghai Security reported, citing unspecified government authorities. ...


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Oh, yeah, like a beach like that is really living or something.

Malthus didn't wish death on anyone, he just pointed out what would happen when population exceeded food supply.

How twisted is it to think a warning is a threat.
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Re: Coal: The Miracle Cure for Overpopulation

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sat 28 May 2011, 19:33:57

:roll: A bit disingenuous isn't it to discuss lung cancer deaths without mentioning the rate of tobacco smoking. But if you have a point you want to make there is no need to quantify your facts.
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Coal Lobby Warns Wind Farms May Blow Earth Off Orbit

Unread postby cualcrees » Thu 30 Jun 2011, 14:15:53

Excellent!
Panelists debate whether the U.S. is doing enough to heed the warnings of coal industry scientists who say turbines could blow the Earth right into the sun.
http://www.theonion.com/video/in-the-know-coal-lobby-warns-wind-farms-may-blow-e,20876/

:lol:
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Re: Coal Lobby Warns Wind Farms May Blow Earth Off Orbit

Unread postby dolanbaker » Thu 30 Jun 2011, 14:27:52

Surely, the cows farting west will have the opposite affect. :P
Ronald Coase, Nobel Economic Sciences, said in 1991 “If we torture the data long enough, it will confess.”
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Re: Coal Lobby Warns Wind Farms May Blow Earth Off Orbit

Unread postby Fishman » Thu 30 Jun 2011, 15:23:52

All in humor.
For some real humor here's Democrat worried the island of Guam will tip over.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNZczIgVXjg
And who could miss that great comment by our brilliant president about the 57 states he's visited?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpGH02DtIws
Obama, the FUBAR presidency's second term
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Re: National Geographic On Peak Coal

Unread postby Blicker » Tue 11 Oct 2011, 06:35:49

I certainly hope so. If we are past peak oil and that near peak coal, there may yet be hope for the biosphere...maybe anyway.
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