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PeakOil is You

PeakOil is You

Coal to Liquid Fuels (merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

LC R&D

Unread postby EnviroEngr » Sat 03 Jul 2004, 13:46:11

ooohh. 8O

Now I didn't know those things. New leads to explore. Thanks! :!:
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Unread postby Guest » Sat 03 Jul 2004, 22:34:27

JayHMorrison wrote:
Anonymous wrote: So we could replace about 80% of our driving fuels or about 3 billion barrels by doubling our current nuclear from 100gw to 200gw.


You don't even need to do that. Most re-charging of plug-in hybrid vehicles would occur at night. They do not turn off power plants at night. All of that capacity is available and currently is cheaper. If a large % of the population was charging their vehicle at night, that would actually be a much more efficient use of power plants assets.


and where do we come up with the additional fuel to do so?
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Unread postby JayHMorrison » Sat 03 Jul 2004, 23:19:28

Anonymous wrote:
JayHMorrison wrote:
Anonymous wrote: So we could replace about 80% of our driving fuels or about 3 billion barrels by doubling our current nuclear from 100gw to 200gw.


You don't even need to do that. Most re-charging of plug-in hybrid vehicles would occur at night. They do not turn off power plants at night. All of that capacity is available and currently is cheaper. If a large % of the population was charging their vehicle at night, that would actually be a much more efficient use of power plants assets.


and where do we come up with the additional fuel to do so?


Nuclear is on all the time as base load. Even at night. Same amount of uranium is used all the time. So charging your plug-in hybrid vehicle at night doesn't use any extra fuel. Most utilities charge less at night because they have so much power that is being wasted during those hours.

Wind is even better. It will run all night without any extra fuel costs.

Coal is a very cheap base load fuel. $35 to $45 per ton. We can run on that for 200 years.

Nuclear and coal are already about 70% of US electric power. Wind will likely fill the gap as natural gas supplies decline. With the way wind is growing it will likely be providing a significant portion of our power well before natural gas peaks. Wind is running well ahead of all projects made in past years.

I really see no problem with the PHEV concept and charging at night. Most of the studies done anticipate that a 20 to 60 mile range from pure battery is possible with current battery technology. They just need to alter the ratios of battery to engine (more battery, less engine) and make the battery rechargeable.

It is already being done in California with current cars. Total cost is about $1,000 more than the current hybrids that are for sale.

http://www.calcars.org/vehicles.html
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Unread postby small_steps » Sat 03 Jul 2004, 23:57:37

JayHMorrison wrote:Nuclear is on all the time as base load. Even at night. Same amount of uranium is used all the time. So charging your plug-in hybrid vehicle at night doesn't use any extra fuel. Most utilities charge less at night because they have so much power that is being wasted during those hours.

And it is already spoken for, peaking is done by plants that can tolerate load transients, these are NG fired, not coal or nuclear, at least from what I have seen.
You seem to be trying to forget physics, if your source is steady, and the load is decreased, the generator increases speed, and loses sync with the rest of the grid, then trips off. remember how long it took to restore power to the north east after last summers blackout (baseload plants do not do well under transient conditions)

JayHMorrison wrote:Wind is even better. It will run all night without any extra fuel costs.

Agreed, fuel costs for wind are quite minimal!, scaling of wind is somewhat of a problem (in regards to integration with the rest of the grid) but the problem is getting enough to make a significant difference.

JayHMorrison wrote:Coal is a very cheap base load fuel. $35 to $45 per ton. We can run on that for 200 years.

At current consumption rates. What about increased generation as gas peaks, for the coal to syn gas projects?
At current rates of increasing consumption, it lasts about 95 more years, Hubbert will arrive in how long?

JayHMorrison wrote:Nuclear and coal are already about 70% of US electric power. Wind will likely fill the gap as natural gas supplies decline. With the way wind is growing it will likely be providing a significant portion of our power well before natural gas peaks. Wind is running well ahead of all projects made in past years.

Except NG, and Wind is at a standstill since the gov let the PTC expire, but wind is currently competitive with the cost of fuel for NG fired plants, and with regard to the near future, will be cheaper than the cost of NG. So wind can and will grow, but the question is:
Can it grow fast enough?


JayHMorrison wrote:I really see no problem with the PHEV concept and charging at night. Most of the studies done anticipate that a 20 to 60 mile range from pure battery is possible with current battery technology. They just need to alter the ratios of battery to engine (more battery, less engine) and make the battery rechargeable.

Yes, the trend will go toward smaller and smaller engines, with the torque capability (thus acceleration) of the machines being a figure of merit.
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Unread postby JayHMorrison » Sun 04 Jul 2004, 10:23:40

small_steps wrote:Except NG, and Wind is at a standstill since the gov let the PTC expire, but wind is currently competitive with the cost of fuel for NG fired plants, and with regard to the near future, will be cheaper than the cost of NG. So wind can and will grow, but the question is:
Can it grow fast enough?


Check out page 16 of this link. It has a graph that shows how fast wind is growing compared to all projections. In 2004 we have already reached the worldwide wind MW goal that the IEA estimated for 2020.

The IEA made that estimate in 1998 of 45 GW (45,000 MW) by 2020.
The target was reached 16 years early. Largely on just the output of Germany and Denmark. The sheer potential of wind is just staggering.

http://www.rechsteiner-basel.ch/pub/29/Ten%20steps.pdf
(see page 16 for the relevant graph)
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Unread postby Guest » Sun 04 Jul 2004, 10:32:18

I wrote a nice post estimating that if you were to replace 3 billion barrels of oil with their energy (to wheels) equivalent it would require doubling the nuclear capacity in this coutnry from 100,000MW to 200,000MW. It didn't go through though.

Of course the recharging would still be a little lumpy so this additional 100,000MW demand wouldn't be even.

Basically 3 billion barrels * 42 gallons * 36 kwh/gallon * 1/6 (efficiency of engine) = 800 billion kwh. It would take 100,000MW steady to provide this.
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Unread postby Guest » Sun 04 Jul 2004, 10:37:12

Also, about wind energy. It's great that it's expanding, but the problem with it is that it's intermittent. If wind is concentrated mostly in the Mid-West, where it'd probably be cheapest to build, what do you do in summertime when the wind dies down? You need backup power and that backup power is expensive. Most of the cost of a coal or nuclear plant is not in the fuel, it's in the plant. Gas plants are cheaper capacity wise and more expensive fuel wise...so they'd be a better choice, that is if gas weren't running out.

This is why people often say wind will only be at most 20% of production.
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Unread postby small_steps » Sun 04 Jul 2004, 11:01:53

Anonymous wrote:Also, about wind energy. It's great that it's expanding, but the problem with it is that it's intermittent. If wind is concentrated mostly in the Mid-West, where it'd probably be cheapest to build, what do you do in summertime when the wind dies down? You need backup power and that backup power is expensive. Most of the cost of a coal or nuclear plant is not in the fuel, it's in the plant. Gas plants are cheaper capacity wise and more expensive fuel wise...so they'd be a better choice, that is if gas weren't running out.

We have already went on a NG fired plant building binge (95% of plants built w/in last 5 years have been NG fired) so the "backup" is already in place.

Anonymous wrote:This is why people often say wind will only be at most 20% of production.

I've seen numbers that suggest that very little (aditional) investment is required for updating the grid for wind energy supplying up to 20% of the electrical energy used. After that percentage, many new lines and upgrades are required.
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Unread postby small_steps » Sun 04 Jul 2004, 13:04:32

Anonymous wrote:
JayHMorrison wrote:Wind is even better. It will run all night without any extra fuel costs.


It's lucky that the wind blows reliably 100% of the time. If it was intermittent we'd really be in trouble.


In regards to the future, I'll take any energy that may be available, how about you?
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Back to the topic at hand

Unread postby DoctorDoom » Fri 16 Jul 2004, 17:50:15

I thought the main process was called the Fischer-Tropsch process. It's in large-scale use in only one place in the world, the Sasol plant in South Africa.

Here is some information on the chemistry:

http://chemed.chem.purdue.edu/genchem/t ... /coal.html

I haven't been able to find industrial numbers - I'd love to know the "actuals" from Sasol, i.e. how much coal goes in, where does the hydrogen come from, how much oil-equivalent is produced, and what by-products are produced.

Also of interest would be the break-even costs; I could swear that above $25/barrel, this process becomes competitive with crude oil.
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Unread postby EnviroEngr » Sun 18 Jul 2004, 13:43:15

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Sasol technology for synthetic oil

Unread postby Guest » Wed 22 Sep 2004, 14:11:57

If you look at the NY Stock Exchange, Sasol, the South African synthetic oil producer, (symbol - SSL) has done very well, rpoughly a doouble over 12 months.

What is the prevailing opinion on this technology? It uses coal, and there is an abundance of coal.
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Unread postby backstop » Wed 22 Sep 2004, 14:50:59

Guest- the critical cost of Sasol's coal > liquid fuels technology, with its greatly raised emissions of greenhouse gasses per unit of energy delivered, is an acceleration of the already exponential increase of weather damages, as evidenced in the Charlie - Frances - Ivan sequence.

The latter is today quoted as a major contributory factor in rising oil prices.

This type of disruption cost, together with escalating damage insurance costs, together with the removal of insurance-cover from assets thus terminating their value as collateral, indicate that attempts at maintaining energy supply growth by means that accelerate climate destabilization will be wholly counter-productive. They would advance the global collapse of economic growth.

Therefore, I'd think about, say, taking a sabbatical before putting a penny into Sasol.

regards,

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Unread postby backstop » Wed 22 Sep 2004, 15:01:54

PS - the above post is open to being misread.

I suggest that the Charlie - Frances - Ivan sequence is one evidence of the exponential increase in global climate destabilization.

I don't suggest that this sequence is due to Sasol's activities to date. Sasol is of course responsible for only a minute fraction of the 33% excess atmospheric carbon that is causing global warming.

regards,

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Coal to liquids

Unread postby DoctorDoom » Wed 22 Sep 2004, 15:52:26

Environmental concerns haven't slowed the use of fossil fuels so far, and I'm betting it still won't. Expect that as oil supplies tighten, we pass through a "denial" stage (that's where we are now!), then through a conservation stage (almost there - hybrid cars are becoming very popular), and then to a "solution' stage where you will see coal-to-liquid technology start to become popular.
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Unread postby backstop » Wed 22 Sep 2004, 16:10:18

Doctor Doom - I think you're maybe mistaken on a number of points.

1/. Climate Destabilization is not "an issue of Environmental concern" it is an active and intensifying threat to economic growth, as well as to food supplies, amazon rainforest dieback, etc.

2/. We are well past the denial stage - even the US gov.t has now acknowledged to the US senate that global warming over the last 50 years has been primarily anthropogenic. (I'd agree that the pitifully ignorant US public (like mushrooms, kept in the dark and fed on well rooted dung) still have a lot to learn in this regard).

3/. 'Conservation' has been a global activity for decades - its one of the best sales points for new products - See Jevon's Paradox thread for details.

4/. As my post above tries to make clear, Sasol is in no way a solution to the 'problematique'; it is rather an exacerbation of it. As such, it is very much a hang-over of the 'Denial' stage.

regards,

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Unread postby Permanently_Baffled » Wed 22 Sep 2004, 16:16:33

While I agree with Backstop, the only way you could justify the use of coal to liquid technology(IMO) is to use it to start implementing renewable systems of energy.

There is no point using this technology for business as usual as although we have 300 years of coal at current consumption, if you start using it for transport it will only last 60-80 years.(plus the enormous amount of environmental damage) We could find that this technology is the last chance to help establish some renewable energy before it really is back to the caves! :lol: 8O

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Unread postby backstop » Wed 22 Sep 2004, 19:28:52

PB - I'm having difficulty following what you mean.

If, say, £5Bn is invested in expanding coal production and developing Sasol plants for coal > liquid fuels, those funds wouldn't be going into sustainable Biofuels' establishment and conversion plants.

I've seen no data showing Sasol yield to be cost competitive with diesel in stationary usage, while Mitsubishi is already claiming this for their methanol product.

So at what point would investing in Sasol to allow us then to move to biofuels be an efficient strategy meteorologically or financially ?

Am I missing something here ?

regards,

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Denial

Unread postby DoctorDoom » Wed 22 Sep 2004, 19:44:02

We are still in denial re. peak oil - I did not mean to imply that we were in denial on global warming although, as a society, we still are because we are behaving as if it's a minor, long-term problem rather than a potentially catastrophic problem requiring immediate action.

I disagree that we have done anything like what the conservation phase will require - I still see plenty of gas-guzzling SUVs on the road. I disagree that global warming concerns will keep us from tapping into coal for long - you can bet that when the choice is between starvation and coal, people will chose coal and to hell with the planet. Re. exhaustion of coal supplies in 60-80 years, yep, I ran those calculations in another thread here several months ago.

I don't view coal-to-liquids technolog as necessarily a bad thing - I think it'll be one part of a patchwork solution to declining oil production, and preferable to mass starvation and some of the other doomsday experiences that others are predicting.
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Unread postby backstop » Wed 22 Sep 2004, 20:37:20

DoctorDoom - sorry, my response was at cross-purposes with your meaning.

One thing I don't follow is your expectation of a choice between starvation and Sasol fuels (at which point I well agree Sasol would get done).

At what point would you expect that choice to be faced, given that global biofuels' potential is capable, if not of maintaining energy supply growth, at least of supplying a substantial proportion of present transport fuels ?

To maintain SUVs under present US priorities, then yes I could well see this choice of Sasol being faced, but surely post-peak they'll very likely be an early casualty both of the need to save oil and of the need to minimize greenhouse gasses ?

regards

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