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NYT Op-Ed Defends IGCC

clean_coal

An interesting op-ed from yesterday’s New York Times discusses clean coal.  I encourage our readers to read the piece themselves, but for those who want the short version, here’s a summary:

1. FutureGen, a federal program to design a zero-emission clean coal power plant is not going to work for two main reasons:

  • Zero-emission clean coal technology doesn’t exist, and might take a really long time to get here
  • Huge, politically charged federal research projects like these have not historically accomplished anything
2, If the government is going to support some kind of clean coal, it should support IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle), for three reasons:
  • IGCC technology already exists
  • Once Washington passes a cap-and-trade law of some kind, the cost of carbon will make IGCC cost-competitive
  • To generate the same amount of electricity as regular coal plants, IGCC plants use only one third of site about tramadol the coal, which means they naturally cut GHG emissions by two thirds
An important take away message is that when people throw around the term “clean coal”, they may be referring to generic levitra from india different things.  Here we see two distinct technologies – one theoretical, nonexistent technology that promises zero emissions by sequestering all the carbon dioxide underground, and another, existing technology which squeezes more power out of less coal by gasifying it first (this also makes it easier to sequester the cheap 20 mg levitra CO2, but we’re not even getting into that now).

However, though I agree with the author that the government should be worrying about practical solutions rather than (in his words) pie-in-the-sky ideas, I think he overplays the benefits of IGCC.  True, the technology exists, but it’s extremely expensive.  Carbon legislation isn’t going to make it cheaper, it’s just going to make everything else really expensive too.  You can’t really expect every utility to pour money into a technology that, while proven, is still wet behind the ears.

But – and this is the author’s main point – the government can, and it should.

Via NYTimes
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Comments (9)Add Comment
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"clean coal"
written by Mark Gordon, June 30, 2009
The definition of "clean coal" has changed before. I'm old enough to remember when "clean coal" meant "sulfate captured at the smokestack so as not to contribute to acid rain."
0
...
written by Fred, June 30, 2009
Clean coal, would dirt be able to viagra generic on line be clean too
0
Cap and what is levitra professional Trade we have won't ...
written by Carl Hage, June 30, 2009
Why would any company even build an IGCC plant, unless bribed with taxpayer money (from taxed income). Well, we don't really know whether IGCC or some other technology (say solar PV and batteries) will be the viagra shop most efficient way to obtain (mostly) emission-free energy. The real problem is that until we include the cost of emission in the economic system, the solutions we come up with will be as efficient as the Soviet economy was. Instead of coming up with a controlled predictable price, we have "cap-and-trade" where we give credits to polluters who can trade so we try to meet the minimum reduction possible. It would be better to fix the price and have mandatory permanent increases if the CO2 reductions targets are not met. [If the target is just try! get viagra online exceeded, you don't cut the ordering levitra price.] Then investors could really plan, and business could optimize the solution.

We shouldn't be trying to pick one technology or another-- we should allow the economic system to optimize the solution, and fix the economic system so it includes the very real costs of dealing with a changing atmosphere.
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Doesn't matter how you burn it
written by Michael Miller, June 30, 2009
When you destroy a mountain and poison the landscape to only for you online cheap viagra get the coal out of the ground, it's already dirty. Our efforts to find sustainable sources of energy are better spent elsewhere.
0
...
written by solargroupies, July 01, 2009
I am not convinced IGCC is economically feasible until energy prices get much higher. Also we need to be thinking about how to conserve water that will soon be in short supply world-wide, not using it in enormous quantities to perpetuate dinosaur technology that continues to put carbon into the air.
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Missing the www.aagon.de point
written by Max, July 01, 2009
The real issue around FutureGen is that is meant to, for the first time, integrate each of recommended site levitra australia these proposed technologies in an integrated facility. There are already IGCC plants that run on natural gas; The oil industry injects plenty of CO2 underground; Coal gasification has been around for 100 years. Nobody has put all of these technologies into one integrated solution and the price tag is much too high for any private enterprise to risk. The data that emerges from this project, presuming it would be shared, would provide the private sector with enough information to cost of viagra begin to both retrofit current operations as well as build new, green-field sites. ...Or it will fail miserably; but at least we'll know.

The point is all of this is for the government to step up and see if this stuff will actually work at-scale such that private industry can begin to make investments. Look, the government got us to the moon; but they could never build a go-to-the-moon industry. The information that FutureGen will give us will let us create our own industry in the most sensible image. Somebody with deep pockets has to get the party started though. So here we are.

Onward and upward.
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Bad Math
written by John Martinez, July 01, 2009
According to the original OpEd piece, IGCC uses one-third LESS coal, not one third of the coal (which would be "2/3 LESS") Still cool, efficiency-wise, just not *as* cool.
0
...
written by Harry Jaeger, July 01, 2009
First of all, FutureGen is not new technology. It IS IGCC, plus CO2 capture - both of which are fully commercial technologies.

The same IGCC type of plant as is being proposed has been in operation for about 15 years in Indiana, Florida, Spain and the Netherlands. These plants use coal as the feedstock. There are also a number of IGCC plants that use refinery residues. So, IGCC technology is not new and buy cheap viagra online does not need demonstration by FutureGen.

The new plant being built by Duke Energy in Indiana will most likely use the same GE technology as may be selected for FutureGen. Duke Energy is viagra next day delivery proceeding with that plant without government support (unless it does receive tax credits that have been offered under the Energy Policy Act of propecia w/o perscription 2005).

Moreover, the CO2 capture process that will be used for FutureGen is a commercial process - not a new technology. The chemistry has been around for a long time, and the same CO2 capture process that is proposed will likely be used for FutureGen is the same as being used commercially in North Dakota at a plant that makes synthetic natural gas from coal. The CO2 is piped to Alberta, Canada where it is injected into old oil fields to www.chemistswithoutborders.org enhance production.

What IS new in FutureGen is the idea of combining an IGCC plant with CO2 removal, so that the fuel gas will be mostly hydrogen, rather than a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which is what is used in other IGCC plants.

All makers of large gas turbines that would be used for power generation in FutureGen say that they can burn high-hydrogen fuels in their current designs. So that technology is not a major issue either.

FutureGen, if it goes forward, will be just one of three similar plants being planned worldwide. There is one that is moving ahead in China, and it may be up and running before our FutureGen project gets through all of its studies. The Chinese also have lots of coal, and they are committed to cleaning up their coal-based power generation.

The other ultra-clean coal plant would be built in Australia. They have contracted with the Japanese company Mitsubishi to do the bestellen levitra engineering for the project and to supply the technology.

So FutureGen may be more political than it is sensible from a technology demonstration viewpoint. The Obama administration wants to show that we are doing something to move ahead with "clean coal" even though it effectively entails commercial processes and should take off on http://www.chopperssportsgrill.com/canadian-online-pharmacy-viagra its own if there is a market for it.

The truth is that IGCC does not come out the economic choice for coal-based generation unless there is pressure (i.e. a value) on CO2 removal. Since CO2 removal is much more economical with gasification involved, where is viagra cheap fast shipping can be removed from the synthetic fuel gas prior to combustion, IGCC with CO2 capture does come out to levitra available in india be the low-cost alternative (vs. pulverized coal plants with CO2 capture) and would be the choice of the marketplace.

Incidentally, if about 60% of the CO2 is removed from coal plant exhaust (whether from PC plants or IGCC) the carbon footprint of free shipping tramadol coal burning for power (i.e. lb CO2 per kilowatt-hour generated) becomes the same as for natural gas fired plants.

Removing 60% of the CO2 from an IGCC plant does not add all that much to plant cost, and is quite feasible.

From the latest information put out by FutureGen, the current plan is to use 60% CO2 capture as a first step to demonstrate "natural gas equivalence".

By the way, the factual content of that op-ed piece is so messed up that it clearly makes the case for having a technical editor screen all such pieces. The New York Times should be ashamed of itself for publishing it in that form.
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...
written by Mike Keller, July 04, 2009
There is a completely unexpected technology that dramatically reduces CO2 emissions, uses coal (IGCC technology) and a helium gas nuclear reactor. Is reasonably cost effective and does not need to sequester CO2 because greenhouse gas emissions are about the tramadol 10mg same as an advanced natural gas power plant (combined-cycle plant).

See www.hybridpwr.com

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