Thursday, October 26, 2006
Well I'll be jiggered and rolled in bacon. Why I never heard of this before is enigmatic to me, unfathomable even. The article is nearly a year old. Apparently, in my own back yard, we are turning coal into oil.
- Earlier last month, Rendell announced a separate initiative to construct a $612 million power plant that not only will produce electricity, but also will convert some of the state's 250 million tons of waste coal into 40 million gallons of synthetic diesel fuel per year. The privately built project is being supported by a $47 million state tax credit, created by a 1999 bill to spur waste coal removal. The state and a consortium of private companies have committed to buying all of the plant's fuel for 10 years after it begins operating.
The process, called liquefaction, will help reduce the massive piles of mining leftovers that are polluting some 6,600 miles of streams and rivers, said William Rathbun, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
- Plans to build new power plants that would burn gasified coal were announced in Florida and Minnesota last year as part of President Bush's 10-year, $2 billion Clean Coal Power Initiative.
Environmentalists are skeptical about expanding the use of coal, which already provides more than half of the nation's electricity. While technologies to reduce pollutants at coal-fired power plants may improve the air quality, there are still impacts on streams and rivers from mining, said Antonia Herzog, a climate specialist with the Natural Resources Defense Council.[editor note: then let us build nuclear power plants instead, you putz.]
The auto fuel created from coal does not burn any more cleanly in cars and trucks, and the process of converting the coal into the liquid fuel creates additional greenhouse gases, she said.
Rendell said his approach is a practical one aimed at environmental protection and economic prosperity. "I agree with scientists that the climate issue is real and demands our immediate attention. But taking on this issue does not have to be at odds with promoting coal. New more efficient technology enables us to use our coal resources to propel our economy even as we ensure climate stability for the future," he said.
- The technology for converting coal to synthetic oil products has been around since the 1920s but is looking economically attractive once again with crude oil at $50 to $55 a barrel. Coal can be converted for a cost equivalent to about $35 per barrel, according to the National Mining Association. Forty percent of South Africa's transportation fuel comes from converting coal, and China is spending an estimated $6 billion on new coal-to-liquid fuel facilities, according to the mining association.
Technorati Tags:Gas | Oil | Coal | Energy