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Clean Coal: The Myth Ends Today

We publish an astonishing amount of good news here at When I started this all up a year ago, good news was pretty hard to come by. But now it just flows in. The future's so bright, I've got to wear photovoltaic clothing.

But there are some dark spots. One in particular looks like it could undo a lot of the work done in the last few years. It's a dark spot that I've seen jaunting merrily across the screen on Grist and cialis from mexico TreeHugger, a smudge supported by Barack Obama and myriad congressional Democrats: Coal.

For the last few years energy independence and the buy cialis canada green movement have almost become synonymous. But coal threatens to break down that synergy. While recent forward progress that has been astonishing, coal is providing an opportunity for the United States to stagnate once again.

The technology to convert coal to liquid fuel has existed since the 1920s. If congress were to mandate and fund its implementation America would begin to slowly gain energy independence, Peabody Coal's net worth would increase tenfold to roughly $3.6 trillion, the Appalachian Mountains would be destroyed and U.S. carbon emissions would double. This is a bad idea.

Unfortunately, there's a bill working through congress right now that would give coal companies billions of dollars to help them build coal-to-liquid plants. It would guarantee coal companies government contracts, including a $40-billion, 25-year deal with the air force. Peabody coal is literally fighting for trillions of dollars here.

At the same time, there are also bills in congress that would cap CO2 emissions and make coal-to-liquid technologies instantly obsolete. But there's not a lot of money behind the carbon neutral lobby, while Coal has millions to spend on congress. The unfortunate truth is, this bill has a chance of next day levitra passing. For more in depth analysis, you can refer to the New York Times, as they've just done a marvelous write-up of the situation.

This could be bad news. This could be very bad news. We have been making some marvelous steps forward in the last few years. A large-scale conversion to liquid coal would a reversion, the exact opposite of what we need to be doing.

I invite everyone to check out, and to consider Illinois Senator Obama's position on "clean coal." Hillary may not be an EcoGeek, but at least she doesn't go around pretending like Coal can be good for the environment.

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Comments (30)Add Comment
written by JL, May 30, 2007


So Long...
written by Anna, May 30, 2007

jack handy
written by Grady Hillhouse, May 30, 2007

If we're serious about using coal to pow
written by Tom Konrad, May 30, 2007
... we should take another look at the line on the canadian pharmacy levitra prescription graph marked "electricity." The best way to acheive energy independence, if that is the goal, is plug-in hybrids, not coal-to-liquids.
Thanks Tom
written by Hank, May 30, 2007
Excellent point. It's so much more efficient to burn the coal in power plants and then store the power in batteries. WHY THE HECK DON'T WE DO THAT! It doesn't even require a new national infrastructure and the best site herbal viagra billions of dollars of processing plants...

Calm down
written by Lenny, May 30, 2007
Why the sarcasm Hank, I believe Tom was making a genuine comment and if you go back and look through your own blog you will find that you have written many articles about series hybrids and got particularly excited over the Chevy Volt less than two months ago.
Now in response to Tom, PHEVs are good but they still burn oil, a thing we wish to avoid. Now in the short run this is the best practical solution we have to private transport and PHEVs are compatible with long-distance travel which pure electric vehicles are not. I would define the short run as the generic cialis next day shipping next ten to fifteen years, with battery advancements at the ten-year point becoming sufficient to click now price of cialis in canada take trips of maybe 700 miles in a station wagon loaded for camping, and five extra years for these electric cars to become affordable to the mainstream.
I think this is a relatively hopeful outlook on things. Of course this has to be accompanied with a strong move towards renewable energy. But from what I've seen from half a year of intensive research for my senior year term paper, this move towards renewables is inevitable even on the terms of the free market.
written by Hank, May 30, 2007
I thought I was agreeing with Tom.
written by Lenny, May 30, 2007
And I thought I heard angry mobs coming to kill me with butterknives yesterday, I guess I was mistaken.
invsble mowntains!
written by Matt James, May 31, 2007

written by karson, May 31, 2007
i made 2 of them. boo coal!!!!!
written by karson, May 31, 2007
no! it didnt work.

sorry im not the best with programming languages. lets see if this works
Love Me
written by Suzanne, May 31, 2007

3.6 trillion?
written by Andy, May 31, 2007

Last Chance for Big Coal
written by Ron Fischer, May 31, 2007
The Bush Administration is the last one that might even consider stepping aside and letting this kind of wow look it female levitra legislation through. Its is all-or-nothing & last call for Big Coal.
written by Sarah, May 31, 2007
Of course, Appalachia is not the only place that will suffer with additional subsidies for the coal industry. Montana has the largest reserve bank of coal (I think that means coal in the ground) in the nation- 119.2 billion tons. Currently, we're the 6th highest producing state. Our own Gov. Schweitzer is dead wrong about clean coal. It is extremely expensive to build a coal-to-liquids plant, and when Montana could make diesel fuel from Montana grown grains instead, why would we even consider digging up the plains? I can understand the lure of using coal to produce electricity, especially if you can sequester the CO2. However, I think this is only a viable solution if its replacing dirty coal fired power plants, not building more. Another little factoid about Montana energy- we produce more than 2xs what we use. The rest of it gets shipped out of state to benefit Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

While I really like Obama and Schweitzer- both populists with great ideas in so many other venues- the whole coal thing is counter intuitive in the age of global warming.

Thanks for writing about it, Hank.
Nuke+Liquid Coal=Clean Power
written by obewan, May 31, 2007
The best plans for liquid coal advocate the look there viagra now online use of nuclear power at the refinery. If the water is recycled, and there are no carbon emmissions, and the land is carefully redeveloped, liquid coal would be an abundant clean replacement for our rapidly depleting oil supply. We only have around 30 years left, and billions of people will starve. Renewables don't cut it, and electric cars will have terrible carbon emmissions unless we use nukes to generic viagra pill charge them.
written by Jen, June 18, 2007
I can't speak for the rest of you, but I want a chance to see the mountains, not just see where they used to be.

This will be my first presidential election, and Obama definately does NOT have my vote.
Your energy chart
written by Kirstin Miller, December 28, 2007
Hello Hank, just came across your postings and wanted to say hello mainly because I'm from Missoula Montana. But also to point out that 1. electricity is not a fuel is what is generated by a fuel source and can be made from natural gas, nuclear, hydro, etc. 2. hydrogen is also not a fuel source, it must also be manufactured; 5. cellulosic ethanol is still a dream, it's not yet scalable and is far from being commercially viable; 6. the mad rush for corn and other ethanol sources is already driving up prices of food and other grains all over the world and bringing about the destruction of remaining forests of entire countries for fuel plantations. People are already going hungry due of the shift from food to fuel. People are already being forced to work like slaves in palm oil plantations. Everything you said about coal I agree with! It's a disaster in the making. Shell and BP are going after the tar sands of Canada, another disaster to online pharmacies add to the others. Many of us say it's high time to rebuild our civilization so that it can run off of clean renewables like solar and tramadol legality wind. These places would have to be largely walkable and accessed by the measure of the human being and not the car.
Mountains and coal
written by niceoldguy, February 13, 2008
Aren't you talking about two different things -- using coal and destroying mountains? Isn't the coal in the Illinois basin that Obama is talking about mostly under flatlands where mining and drilling is already common? It is not logical to frame the argument as mountains or coal. Surely we can have both if we are smart about it. And we can do it without killing people and getting killed in the Mideast.
Not the complete picture...
written by Chemist, October 22, 2008
Your graph is somewhat misleading. I pretty sure you fail to include in your chart the cost of producing those alternate fuels. For example, electricity, as someone else pointed out, requires generation, the vast majority of which in North America is done through the burning of coal. Or lets take H2 as another example, not a fuel but an energy storage device, requires generation, very little H2 exist in nature. So how do we generated it? Well at present the best source is burning natural gas which in turn generates vast amount of CO2 (one molecule of CO2 per 2 of H2). Oh but wait, corn ethanol you say... are you including the carbon footprint for the farming of coal and its conversion to ethanol. Corn is in fact one of the worst crops for the production of biofuel.

Furthermore, clean coal does not just refer to coal liquefaction, this is only one of the processes involved. In fact the majority of the research that is currently underway is how to clean the coal to minimize SOx and NOx gases as well has carbon sequestration strategies to minimize or even eliminate emissions.

Although I'm not a huge proponent of 'clean coal' I do see the merit in its development. It is by no means a lasting solution however, at present we possess no other technology that can produce our current power requirements, and those of developing nations such as India and buy kamagra China, except perhaps nuclear. The issue we must understand is that it will take decades to fully develop other forms of power and fuel generation, until then countries like India ad China will continue to viagra mail order burn coal for there power needs. If we, the wealthy western world, can provide them with the technology to minimize their impact, even for the short-term, then this is a good thing.
McCain Too
written by Dave, November 03, 2008
Directly from John McCain's to say the democrats are the levitra 100 supporters of this is quite misleading.

John McCain Will Commit $2 Billion Annually To Advancing Clean Coal Technologies. Coal produces the majority of our electricity today. Some believe that marketing viable clean coal technologies could be over 15 years away. John McCain believes that this is too long to wait, and we need to commit significant federal resources to the science, research and development that advance this critical technology. Once commercialized, the U.S. can then export these technologies to countries like China that are committed to using their coal - creating new American jobs and allowing the U.S. to play a greater role in the international green economy.
written by Joel, December 12, 2008
Check out Dakota Gasification. They are a coal to methane plane that sequesters approx. 8500 tons per day (almost all of theirs) CO2. I believe the Fischer Tropsch processs for coal to liquid is similar enough to say that you can sequester CO2 from that as well, so why not Coal to Liquid and sequester the CO2 (for enhanced oil recovery as DGC's is used for)?

Also, if you didn't want the liquid fuel, you could go from coal to natural gas and run a combined cycle electric generation plant and still capture the CO2.
Clean coal Companies
written by kennedy, December 15, 2008
There are more jobs from Coal producing countries.Rather than coal from other renewable energies like gas,wind and cheap levitra canada solar also can produce the electricity.
Clean Coal Technology is nothing but capturing and sequestration of CO2.
Follow the buy viagra low price
Clean coal Companies
written by kennedy, December 19, 2008
Clean coal technology, in which the carbon dioxide produced by burning the black stuff is captured and stored, is being heavily promoted as an answer to global warming by many in the power and coal mining industries.

There is a big deal to reduce co2 emissions and for carbon capture technology.

Follow the
Bush This, Bush That, Oh BushBungWhacked
written by igmuska, December 22, 2008
I remember just a few months ago, the enviros were going, he is not saying he supports destructive mining, he is not saying anything like that at BushBungWhacked
New Technology
written by Chad ONeal, December 23, 2008
There are some new technologies comming out extracting energy from coal WITHOUT burning it using new patented gasification technologies and new fluid beds. Coal isnt the problem its how we extract the energy from it. We burn it! Check out Bixby Energy Systems. An Unofficial web site is at and there is a forum as well.
Investment in coal to liquids
written by coal to liquids, January 08, 2009
The increase in oil price, growth in demand for liquid fuels, and energy security concerns is leading to the development of CTL industries in several countries around the world.

The low price of coal compared to other fuels is a major driver and has generated significant interest in CTL fuels worldwide.

CTL plant is cheaper to build than most other alternative fuel plants but more costly than a conventional oil refinery. The capital cost of CTL plants is expected to decrease through the ongoing development of technology.
What is Coal Liquefaction?
written by coal liquefaction, January 16, 2009
Coal liquefaction is the conversion of coal to produce synthetic fuels. To convert coal to synthetic fuels, a process has been developed that requires the coal to be in contact with a hydrogen environment at high temperatures and pressures.

The major objective of coal liquefaction is to produce synthetic oil to supplement the ordering levitra overnight delivery natural sources of petroleum. Liquid and solid products from coal can be used for fueling transportation vehicles, providing fuels for power generation, and yielding raw materials for chemicals. Coal-liquefaction plants will be expensive, but their products should be very competitive when world oil production declines.
Obama clean coal
written by obama clean coal, January 27, 2009
the Obama campaign provided this 2000 quote from McCain, who told a Senate committee witness for environmental group Sierra Club that "in a perfect world we would like to transition away from coal entirely.
written by rich, March 05, 2013
Can you please send me the scientific proof you have that supports Global Warming.
I have been looking for the data not the hear say evidence but no one seems to have it.
Can you help?

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