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THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby Apollo » Tue 22 Apr 2014, 03:53:17

Another projection for Coal to peak clearly this side of 2050:

After we take all of these factors into consideration, and make our assumptions about resource availability, production, consumption, price escalation, consumer behavior, government response, and so on.... we can (with some apprehension) calculate the date of Peak Coal. Between 2012 and 2035 annual coal production will increase by ~47 percent. Production begins to stall around 2030, and the curve flattens through the year of peak production - 2035. Thereafter it declines rather quickly because the remaining reserves are more difficult and costly to exploit.


Likely one more thing the IEA will get wrong.
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 22 Apr 2014, 07:17:48

"Thereafter it declines rather quickly because the remaining reserves are more difficult and costly to exploit." That makes sense since that exactly what we've seen happen with oil as it became "...more difficult and costly to exploit". Hmm...but oil is selling for record high yearly average price and we're consuming more then ever before in history. Oh yeah...the IEA logic is flawless. LOL.
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby kublikhan » Tue 22 Apr 2014, 12:34:48

ROCKMAN wrote:"Thereafter it declines rather quickly because the remaining reserves are more difficult and costly to exploit." That makes sense since that exactly what we've seen happen with oil as it became "...more difficult and costly to exploit". Hmm...but oil is selling for record high yearly average price and we're consuming more then ever before in history. Oh yeah...the IEA logic is flawless. LOL.
Do you mean energybiz? IEA agrees with your statement:

CO2 emissions and oil demand will continue to grow rapidly over the next 25 years. Extending this outlook beyond 2030 shows that these worrisome trends are likely to get worse. In the Baseline Scenario prepared for this study, CO2 emissions will be almost two and a half times the current level by 2050. Surging transport demand will continue to put pressure on oil supply. The carbon intensity of the world's economy will increase due to greater reliance on coal for power generation.

Fossil fuels still supply most of the world's energy in 2050. Demand for oil, coal (except in one scenario) and natural gas are all greater in 2050 than they are today. Investment in conventional energy sources will, therefore, remain essential.
IEA outlook to 2050
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 22 Apr 2014, 12:49:07

K – In case you missed my subtle sarcasm: the IEA is saying that coal mining will fall off because of the low quality that remains at that time. So we’re steam washing tar out of the ground in Canada and drilling expense well in the shales that decline before you can scratch you ass twice because these are high quality resources? BTW…that was more sarcasm. LOL.

The world ran very low on higher quality oil reservoirs and prices boomed which allowed us to chase the poorly quality stuff. So the IEA assumes that the world, which is becoming increasingly more dependent upon coal as other fossil fuels deplete, won’t pay more for coal (as they have just done so for oil 3 fold in the last 10 years) and thus those poorer quality coals won’t be mind.

To each his own. But I don’t think it a coincidence the word “assumption” starts with the letters “ass”. LOL.
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby kublikhan » Tue 22 Apr 2014, 13:01:56

Yeah I got your sarcasm but the original report was from a website called energybiz. As far as I know they are not part of the IEA. Last time I checked, the IEA was predicting growing coal consumption until at least 2050.
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 22 Apr 2014, 14:09:31

Thanks k. I just picked up the IEA from the previous post that seem to hang them with the prediction. "energybiz" eh? Right off the bat I don't care for the name.
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby Apollo » Wed 23 Apr 2014, 13:04:57

Likely one more thing the IEA will get wrong.


I stand by this. I do not see how the EIA forecasts can ever come to fruition. The post at EnergyBiz notes something really important: mined volumes of coal must increase just to keep the energy output stable. Increasing CO2 emissions from coal to 2.5 times what they are today will mean something like a fourfold increase in mined volumes. This can't possibly happen at present prices, and likely not at prices where coal remains the cheapest source of electricity.
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby kublikhan » Wed 23 Apr 2014, 15:06:13

Apollo wrote:I stand by this. I do not see how the EIA forecasts can ever come to fruition. The post at EnergyBiz notes something really important: mined volumes of coal must increase just to keep the energy output stable. Increasing CO2 emissions from coal to 2.5 times what they are today will mean something like a fourfold increase in mined volumes. This can't possibly happen at present prices, and likely not at prices where coal remains the cheapest source of electricity.
Not necessarily. Before making such a prediction, you also have to consider the efficiency of coal plants. The average efficiency of a coal-fired power plant is only 33%. Many of the older plants can be as low as 27%. New high efficiency plants can be 45% or higher. CHP plants can go up to 80-90%. By replacing the older plants with new efficient ones, you can dramatically cut back on both coal consumption and CO2 emissions, while keeping energy output stable or growing.

With an electrical efficiency of 45.95%, the Lünen hard-coal-fired power plant, located on the Datteln-Hamm Canal in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany, is Europe’s cleanest and most efficient. The owners currently expect the plant to operate for 7,000 full-load hours in 2014, which could save up to 1 million tons of CO2 compared to an older, less efficient coal-fired power plant.
...
This is indeed, a wonderful new power station. However, it is not Europe's most efficient coal plant. That honour belongs to Nordjyllandsværket in Aalborg, Denmark. Commissioned in 1998, it is 47% efficient in full condensing mode and utilizes 91% of the coal's energy in full CHP mode, delivering district heat to Aalborg during the winter.
Europe’s Most Efficient Coal Plant Comes Online

China has emerged in the past two years as the world's leading builder of more efficient, less polluting coal power plants, mastering the technology and driving down the cost. Western countries continue to rely heavily on coal-fired power plants built decades ago with outdated, inefficient technology that burn a lot of coal and emit considerable amounts of carbon dioxide. China has begun requiring power companies to retire an older, more polluting power plant for each new one they build.

With greater efficiency, a power plant burns less coal and emits less carbon dioxide for each unit of electricity it generates. Experts say the least efficient plants in China today convert 27 to 36 percent of the energy in coal into electricity. The most efficient plants achieve an efficiency as high as 44 percent, meaning they can cut global warming emissions by more than a third compared with the weakest plants.

After relying until recently on older technology, "China has since become the major world market for advanced coal-fired power plants with high-specification emission control systems," the International Energy Agency said in a report. China's improvements are starting to have an effect on climate models. In its latest annual report last November, the I.E.A. cut its forecast of the annual increase in Chinese emissions of global warming gases. "It's definitely changing the baseline, and that's being taken into account,"

China is making other efforts to reduce its global warming emissions. It has doubled its total wind energy capacity in each of the past four years, and is poised to pass the United States as soon as this year as the world's largest market for wind power equipment. China is building considerably more nuclear power plants than the rest of the world combined, and these do not emit carbon dioxide after they are built.

By adopting "ultra-supercritical" technology, which uses extremely hot steam to achieve the highest efficiency, and by building many identical power plants at the same time, China has cut costs dramatically through economies of scale. It now can cost a third less to build an ultra-supercritical power plant in China than to build a less efficient coal-fired plant in the United States.
China Outpaces USA on Clean Coal Plants
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Wed 23 Apr 2014, 15:35:35

kublikhan wrote:
With an electrical efficiency of 45.95%, the Lünen hard-coal-fired power plant, ...
Is hard coal necessary for high efficiency?
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Wed 23 Apr 2014, 15:54:06

K – Along those same lines what do you know about the efficiency of burning lignite? Given Texas is the largest consumer in the country this should be an important metric:

Texas mines produce two-thirds of the coal consumed in the state. Some 56 million tons of lignite are mined in Texas annually. The sixth and twelfth largest coal mines in America are located in Texas. The Martin Lake and Monticello mines, both owned by Texas Utilities Mining Co., together produce nearly 25 million tons of lignite per year.

Texas has more than 24 billion tons of lignite that can be recovered through conventional strip mining methods. At current rates of production, Texas' coal supply will last about 400 years. In addition, the state contains another 35 billion tons of coal in deep reserves. All told, the state's coal deposits contain the energy equivalent of more than 100 billion barrels of oil.

Coal consumption in Texas is rising faster than any other form of energy. By 2030, the state's coal consumption is expected to be about 180 million tons per year, twice as much as the state consumed in 1990. However, the state's appetite for coal has caused serious pollution problems around the state. Five of the top ten sources of air pollution in the state are coal-fired electric power plants. Studies have linked elevated selenium levels in a number of East Texas Lakes with nearby coal-fired power plants.
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby Tanada » Wed 23 Apr 2014, 17:37:23

ROCKMAN wrote:K – Along those same lines what do you know about the efficiency of burning lignite? Given Texas is the largest consumer in the country this should be an important metric:

Texas mines produce two-thirds of the coal consumed in the state. Some 56 million tons of lignite are mined in Texas annually. The sixth and twelfth largest coal mines in America are located in Texas. The Martin Lake and Monticello mines, both owned by Texas Utilities Mining Co., together produce nearly 25 million tons of lignite per year.

Texas has more than 24 billion tons of lignite that can be recovered through conventional strip mining methods. At current rates of production, Texas' coal supply will last about 400 years. In addition, the state contains another 35 billion tons of coal in deep reserves. All told, the state's coal deposits contain the energy equivalent of more than 100 billion barrels of oil.

Coal consumption in Texas is rising faster than any other form of energy. By 2030, the state's coal consumption is expected to be about 180 million tons per year, twice as much as the state consumed in 1990. However, the state's appetite for coal has caused serious pollution problems around the state. Five of the top ten sources of air pollution in the state are coal-fired electric power plants. Studies have linked elevated selenium levels in a number of East Texas Lakes with nearby coal-fired power plants.


The way I understand it hard and medium coal are the more energy dense and drier versions so shipping them long distances before burning them is worth the effort while lignite and peat are wet and lower in energy, so burning them near where they are mined makes a lot more economic sense than shipping them long distances.
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Wed 23 Apr 2014, 20:08:56

T - That's true. I know of at least one instance thy built a huge power plant right t the lignite strip mine about 3 hours west of Houston. But again it would seem to make efficiency even more important with such a relatively low Btu source. Been digging for efficiency of lignite burning but haven't found it yet.
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby kublikhan » Wed 23 Apr 2014, 23:29:12

Keith_McClary wrote:Is hard coal necessary for high efficiency?
No. You can improve efficiency with lignite.

"We are further developing our lignite coal power plants to emit less CO2 when creating energy," Schiffer told DW, adding that the company's facility in Grevenbroich-Neurath is regarded as the world's most efficient lignite coal power plant.

Its efficiency rate is 43 percent, which means the majority of energy that comes from burning coal is not used. This is because nearly half of the coal consists of water, which needs to be removed before it can be burned. By comparison, the efficiency rates of the most modern oil and gas power plants are about 33% and 55%, respectively.
Lignite still Germany's primary energy source

There are numerous ways to improve plant efficiency:
Despite the many innovative coal combustion technologies being developed, the only practical way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal is to get more energy out of each pound of coal -- to increase the efficiency. But the efficiency of typical coal plants has peaked at about 33 percent, limited mostly by their steam turbines. What doesn't become electricity becomes waste heat.

The first way to increase the efficiency of turning coal into electricity is to capture the waste heat. "Cogeneration," the generation of heat and power together, is a well-known technology, but is not always applied. One method of cogeneration is to use the waste heat to warm nearby buildings. Such "district heating" systems are common in northern Europe, but are rarely used in the US.

Another technology under development is the coal gasification combustion turbine (CGCT).This combined cycle is more efficient than steam turbines alone, with efficiencies approaching 50 percent. By gasifying the coal first, emissions are reduced as well.
How Coal Works

Age is a factor in efficiency as well:
According to EIA, approximately 73% of U.S. coal-fired power plants were age 30 years or older at the end of 2010. The efficiency of coal-fired power plants, in particular, decreases with age. While good maintenance practices can keep power plant efficiency high in the early years of life, as the plant ages, power plant performance and efficiency erode after about 25 to 30 years of operation, and substantial work may be required to keep the plant operating efficiently and economically. Much of this loss in efficiency is due to mechanical wear on a variety of components resulting in heat losses.
..
Under a scenario where generation from coal is constant at the 2008 level, increasing the average efficiency from 32.5% to 36% reduces U.S. GHG by 175 MMmt/year or 2.5% of total U.S. GHG emissions in 2008.
..
NETL conceded that the fleet efficiency target of 36% did not consider installing scrubbers (to control emissions of sulfur oxides) at facilities without such controls. If efficiency upgrades were done in conjunction with installing sulfur scrubbers on 165-250 GW of the fleet, the efficiency target would be reduced 0.5 to 1 percentage point.
..
In addition to the lower CO2 emissions rate per unit of heat input (lbs CO2/MMBtu), due to the inherent moisture in subbituminous and lignite coals, all else being equal a bituminous coal-fired boiler is more efficient than a corresponding boiler burning subbituminous or lignite coal.
Increasing the Efficiency of Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants

While adding scrubbers reduced efficiency slightly, adding CO2 capture and storage(CCS) reduced it significantly. I can see why so many say CCS is not economically viable.

CO2 capture and storage, once adopted, will impact significantly on the efficiency of both existing and future plants. At the current state of technology, units retrofitted with CO2 capture would suffer a decrease in efficiency of up to 12 percentage points, and consume perhaps 20% to 30% more fuel per unit of electricity supplied. While a concept of what constitutes “capture-ready” exists for new power plants, it may not be economic or technically viable to retrofit existing plants with CO2 capture, especially at smaller inefficient units.
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby kublikhan » Wed 23 Apr 2014, 23:34:36

ROCKMAN wrote:K – Along those same lines what do you know about the efficiency of burning lignite? Given Texas is the largest consumer in the country this should be an important metric
Looks like Texas lignite is about 2.5% less efficient than bituminous. Here's a simplified table. Full table is on page 11:
Table 2-3. PC Performance Estimates Reported as Net Plant Efficiency (100%)
Plant Type Bituminous Texas Lignite
subcritical 36.5 34.2
supercritical 37.7 35.4
ultra-supercritical 38.2 35.9
advanced ultra-supercritical 40.9 38.4
Coal-Fired Performance and Cost

The article below mentions a technology to use waste heat to first dry out the lignite. This resulted in efficiency improvements of up to 1.7%:
Efficiency Improvement Technology: Low-Rank Coal Drying
Reported Efficiency Increase: 0.1% to 1.7%

Subbituminous and lignite coals contain relatively large amounts of moisture (15% to 40%) compared to bituminous coal (less than 10%). A significant amount of the heat released during combustion of low-rank coals is used to evaporate this moisture, rather than generate steam for the turbine. As a result, boiler efficiency is typically lower for plants burning low-rank coal. The technologies include using waste heat from the flue gas and/or cooling water systems to dry low-rank coal prior to combustion.
Increasing the Efficiency of Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Thu 24 Apr 2014, 00:39:05

I't's not clear how "efficiency" is defined, exactly. There is this footnote on p. 8, but it is not clear which definition is used in the document (and other documents) :
Efficiency can be calculated using the higher heating value (HHV) or the lower heating value (LHV) determined for
the fuel. The HHV is the heating value directly determined by calorimetric measurement of the fuel in the laboratory.
The LHV is calculated using a formula to account for the moisture in the fuel (i.e., subtract the energy required to
vaporize the water in the coal and thus not available to produce steam) that is a smaller value than the HHV.
Consequently, the HHV efficiency for a given EGU is always lower than the corresponding LHV efficiency, because
the reported heat input is larger for the same output.
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby kublikhan » Thu 24 Apr 2014, 01:31:27

Keith_McClary wrote:I't's not clear how "efficiency" is defined, exactly. There is this footnote on p. 8, but it is not clear which definition is used in the document
In the documents, they often calculate efficiency using multiple different methods. They often state which method they used. For example:

A subcritical plant could achieve at best 40% efficiency (on an LHV basis), while a supercritical steam plant could potentially achieve an efficiency two points higher and emit 4% less CO2. Advancing the technology from a supercritical to an advanced ultra-supercritical CFPP could see an efficiency of 46% to 48%, which could mean as much as 18% to 22% less CO2 per MWh generated than an equivalent-sized subcritical PC unit.
Increasing the Efficiency of Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants

Meanwhile the table I posted for Rockman uses HHV:
Results from the performance estimate analyses, net plant heat rate and net plant efficiency, are summarized in Table 2-2 and Table 2-3 , below. Coal heating value, as used in the heat rate calculation, is the higher heating value (HHV), which accounts for all heat generated by combustion of the coal, including the heat of condensation of any water formed during the combustion process.
Coal-Fired Performance and Cost

If you are really interested in delving into the various methods of how efficiency is calculated, you might want to check out this report. It is 114 pages though and my eyes started glazing over after awhile:

This book explores how efficiency is measured and reported at coal-fired power plants. Practical guidelines are presented that allow the efficiency and
emissions of any plant to be reported on a common basis and compared against best practice. Through the findings and recommendations in this report, the Coal Industry Advisory Board has made a valuable contribution that will guide policy makers towards better regulation of coal-fired power plants. This report is published under the authority of the IEA Executive Director as part of the IEA role to advise G8 leaders on alternative energy scenarios and strategies.
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 24 Apr 2014, 07:42:21

k - Mucho thanks...great details. You're definitely the go-to here on this subject matter. I'll see if I can find more details on the efficiency of our plants.
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby Synapsid » Thu 24 Apr 2014, 11:23:27

kublikhan,

Are there any power plants in the US that use anthracite? The DOD used to but I don't know if they still do.
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby kublikhan » Thu 24 Apr 2014, 19:07:36

Anthracite is still mined today in Pennsylvania, the only place in the US still mining anthracite. It makes up a tiny percentage of US coal, .1%. However it is more expensive than other grades of coal. It is typically used where you need a higher quality coal and less soot such as metallurgy, water treatment, stoves/furnaces, etc. There's more info here if you were interested:
Anthracite Fact Sheet

Looks like there is still some Anthracite being used for power in the US, but it's a tiny fraction of the power from other grades of coal:
Pennsylvania is a major producer of anthracite in the US. Standard anthracite is used as a domestic fuel and in power generation. Higher grades of anthracite are used in the steel industry. Around 75% of the world's anthracite is mined in China.
Pennsylvanian anthracite coal production down in 2013

I liked this one, making a building out of Anthracite:
Image
A rare example of anthracite masonry; in West Virginia, USA
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Re: Coal to peak in 2 decades?

Unread postby Tanada » Thu 24 Apr 2014, 19:54:20

There used to be a traveling craftsman who came to my local county fair who sold plaques and small art objects hand carved out of pure Anthracite. Very visually striking, a natural glossy finish and apparently quite durable but I never got around to buying anything from him. A shame really, he was not a young man 20 years ago when I last saw him at the fair, I suspect he retired soon after that last occasion.
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