Cool clean coal – just add refrigeration

From the University of Oregon a wacky idea to refrigerate smokestacks.

Cooled coal emissions would clean air and lower health and climate-change costs

EUGENE, Ore. — (Aug. 27, 2012) — Refrigerating coal-plant emissions would reduce levels of dangerous chemicals that pour into the air — including carbon dioxide by more than 90 percent — at a cost of 25 percent efficiency, according to a simple math-driven formula designed by a team of University of Oregon physicists.

The computations for such a system, prepared on an electronic spreadsheet, appeared in Physical Review E, a journal of the American Physical Society.

In a separate, unpublished and preliminary economic analysis, the scientists argue that the “energy penalty” would raise electricity costs by about a quarter but also reap huge societal benefits through subsequent reductions of health-care and climate-change costs associated with burning coal. An energy penalty is the reduction of electricity available for sale to consumers if plants used the same amounts of coal to maintain electrical output while using a cryogenic cleanup.

“The cryogenic treatment of flue gasses from pulverized coal plant is possible, and I think affordable, especially with respect to the total societal costs of burning coal,” said UO physicist Russell J. Donnelly, whose research team was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy for the work detailed in the published journal article.

“In the U.S., we have about 1,400 electric-generating unit powered by coal, operated at about 600 power plants,” Donnelly said. That energy, he added, is sold at about 5.6 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to a 2006 Congressional Budget Office estimate. “The estimated health costs of burning coal in the U.S. are in the range of $150 billion to $380 billion, including 18,000-46,000 premature deaths, 540,000 asthma attacks, 13,000 emergency room visits and two million missed work or school days each year.”

In their separate economic analysis, Donnelly and UO research assistant Robert E. Hershberger, also a co-author on the journal paper, estimate that implementing large-scale cryogenic systems into coal-fired plants would reduce overall costs to society by 38 percent through the sharp reduction of associated health-care and climate-change costs. Not in the equation, Donnelly said, are the front-end health-care costs involved in coal extraction through mining.

The cryogenic concept is not new. Donnelly experimented briefly in the 1960s with a paper mill in Springfield, Ore., to successfully remove odor-causing gasses filling the area around the plant using cryogenics. Subsequently the National Science Foundation funded a major study to capture sulfur dioxide emissions — a contributor to acid rain — from coal burning plants. The grant included a detailed engineering study by the Bechtel Corp. of San Francisco.

The Bechtel study showed that the cryogenic process would work very well, but noted that large quantities of carbon dioxide also would be condensed, a consequence that raised no concerns in 1978. “Today we recognize that carbon dioxide emissions are a leading contributor to climate-warming factors attributed to humans,” Donnelly said.

Out came his previously published work on this concept, followed by a rigorous two-year project to recheck and update his thermodynamic calculations and compose “a spreadsheet-accessible” formula for potential use by industry. His earlier work on the cryogenic treatment of coal-plant emissions and natural gas sources had sparked widespread interest internationally.

While the required cooling machinery would be large — potentially the size of a football stadium — the cost for construction or retrofitting likely would not be dramatically larger than present systems that include scrubbers, which would no longer be necessary, Donnelly said. The new journal article does not address construction costs or the disposal of the captured pollutants, the latter of which would be dependent on engineering and perhaps geological considerations.

According to the Physical Review E paper, carbon dioxide would be captured in its solid phase, then warmed and compressed into a gas that could be moved by pipeline at near ambient temperatures to dedicated storage facilities that could be hundreds of miles away. Other chemicals such as sulfur dioxide, some nitrogen oxides and mercury also would be condensed and safely removed from the exhaust stream of the plants.

Last December the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued new mercury and air toxic standards (MATS), calling for the trapping of 41 percent of sulfur dioxide and 90 percent of mercury emissions. A cryogenic system would do better based on the conservatively produced computations by Donnelly’s team — capturing at least 98 percent of sulfur dioxide, virtually 100 percent of mercury and, in addition, 90 percent of carbon dioxide.

“This forward-thinking formula and the preliminary analysis by these researchers offer some exciting possibilities for the electric power industry that could ultimately benefit human health and the environment,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, UO vice president for research and innovation. “Scientists at the University of Oregon are continuing to develop new ideas and advanced materials to foster a sustainable future for our planet and its people.”

###

Co-authors with Donnelly and Hershberger on the journal article were: Charles E. Swanson, who earned his doctorate in physics from the UO and served as postdoctoral researcher under Donnelly; John W. Elzey, a former research associate in Donnelly’s Cryogenic Helium Turbulence Lab and now a scientist at GoNano Technologies in Moscow, Idaho; and John Pfotenhauer, who earned his doctorate at the UO and now is in the mechanical engineering department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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122 Responses to Cool clean coal – just add refrigeration

  1. michaeljmcfadden says:

    “The estimated health costs of burning coal in the U.S. are in the range of $150 billion to $380 billion, including 18,000-46,000 premature deaths, 540,000 asthma attacks, 13,000 emergency room visits and two million missed work or school days each year.”

    These guys were born in the wrong century. They would have been hits back during the debates over how many angels could dance on the head of a pin! They would have come up with variable numbers for dancing jazz vs. ballet, fat angels vs. thin angels,

    – MJM

  2. jsbrodhead says:

    Starve the trees to save the planet[!]

  3. Kurt in Switzerland says:

    Heck, if it costs the same as conventional scrubbers, why not give it a try?

    Kurt in Switzerland

  4. michaeljmcfadden says:

    ::sigh:: I’d missed this on first reading: “According to the Physical Review E paper, carbon dioxide would be captured in its solid phase, then warmed and compressed into a gas that could be moved by pipeline at near ambient temperatures to dedicated storage facilities that could be hundreds of miles away”

    “Dedicated storage facilities” ? Would these be at Yucca Flats? What will they eventually DO with all that deadly carbon dioxide?? Use it to make seltzer water to create highballs to get the angels drunk for their pin dancing??? After all, it’s worse than plutonium you realize. Plutonium has a half-life. We can store it up for a little while and then it becomes safe and we can let it out. But carbon dioxide will retain its deadliness for all of eternity!

    SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!

  5. Chris G says:

    Not included are the costs or an energy balance for that matter. Don’t want to give out too much information….that must be for the second grant funding.

  6. Matthew Carver says:

    This could never work, the only proven way to reduce emissions and therefore save the planet is by taking money from people or groups we don’t like and giving it to people or groups we do like.

  7. The coal plant pollution – asthma linkage doesn’t stand up. Asthma incidence is highest in countries that have the lowest levels of pollutants from burning coal/oil, and changes in the incidence over the last 40 years are negatively correlated with these pollutants.

    The UK has the highest incidence of asthma in the world. This happened during a period when coal consumption fell by more than 60%, pollution reduction measures mandated and domestic burning of coal virtually eliminated.

  8. Andy Dawson says:

    The obvious question begged by this is, is the “25% reduction in efficiency” 25 percentage points, or a proportionate reduction?

    If it’s the former, for a fairly typical modern coal plant that’ll be going from 45% or so thermally efficient, to 20%. If it’s the latter it’s going from 45% to 34%.

    Either one’s pretty crippling in economic terms.

    Also, I’d take the “no more expensive than scrubbers” claim with a pinch of salt. The planned (and now canelled) project for Longannet in Scotland was coming in at approximately £1.5 – 2Bn to deliver decarbonisation sufficient to offset 300 of the plant’s 2000 MW. That was to have used an amine-based cycle, which should be considerably more effective than a cryogenic system

  9. Truthseeker says:

    “Refrigerating coal-plant emissions would reduce levels of dangerous chemicals that pour into the air — including carbon dioxide by more than 90 percent”

    Since when does an odourless, colourless and harmless gas that is required to feed all plant life on this planet become a “dangerous chemical”? Stupidity from the start and then it gets worse.

  10. Bloke down the pub says:

    Not in the equation, Donnelly said, are the front-end health-care costs involved in coal extraction through mining.
    So as the process is 25% less efficient it will require the mining of more coal that will lead to more health costs for the miners. But that serves them right for being involved in filling up the death trains.

  11. Jimbo says:

    The problem with a lot of many overly zealous environmentalists is that a) they often underestimate mankind’s ability to get ourselves out of a problem and b) underestimate the Earth’s resource / resilience potential. This is why I think they keep getting their doom and gloom predictions wrong including CAGW.

    We were wrong on peak oil. There’s enough to fry us all – Guardian 2 July 2012
    ………………………….
    Peak oil hasn’t happened, and it’s unlikely to happen for a very long time.

    A report by the oil executive Leonardo Maugeri, published by Harvard University, provides compelling evidence that a new oil boom has begun. The constraints on oil supply over the past 10 years appear to have had more to do with money than geology. The low prices before 2003 had discouraged investors from developing difficult fields. The high prices of the past few years have changed that.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/02/peak-oil-we-we-wrong

  12. dearieme says:

    Physicists playing at being engineers often provide lots of entertainment.

  13. Neville. says:

    Pielke Jr has a story at his blog that looks at the possibility of recycling co2 into liquid methanol.
    This is taking place in Iceland where a joint Iceland USA venture is in progress.
    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/recycling-carbon-dioxide-in-iceland.html

  14. Olaf Koenders says:

    Yet more expensive and completely unnecessary hocus-pocus from the.. umm.. “scientific” community. Brought to you by your friendly taxpayer.

  15. Martin Clark says:

    Uh-oh. More of the same …
    “Today we recognize that carbon dioxide emissions are a leading contributor to climate-warming factors attributed to humans,”
    Even if CO2 was a problem, 25% loss of efficiency seems a bit much, along with football fields of gear, pipelines to god-knows where carrying the dreaded CO2 …
    Why not go for 15 – 30% CO2 reduction and INCREASED efficiency?
    http://joannenova.com.au/2011/08/lower-co2-emissions-by-wait-for-it-building-new-coal-plants/
    CSIRO was one of the agencies pioneering the development of efficient plants. Now you never hear of this work.
    Sulfur dioxide removal followed fairly rapidly after soot removal way back, so not that hard to do?
    As a 5-year old living across the road from a coal-fired gas works, I can confirm that they were removing and stock-piling sulfur in 1953. (“Mum ‘n Dad – wot’s that yellow stuff over there …)
    I seem to recall (from WUWT) that:
    “The estimated health costs of burning coal in the U.S. are in the range of $150 billion to $380 billion, including 18,000-46,000 premature deaths, 540,000 asthma attacks, 13,000 emergency room visits and two million missed work or school days each year.”
    Is a bit exaggerated ?
    http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/is-coal-dirty.pdf

  16. Allan MacRae says:

    I know the global warming claims are BS.

    I suspect the mortality claims are also BS.

    A 25% reduction in energy efficiency is a very high price to pay for BS.

    You can get all the BS you want for free – see any global warming alarmist for details.
    ________________

    “The Law of Warmist BS”

    You can save yourselves a lot of time, and generally be correct, by simply assuming that EVERY SCARY PREDICTION the global warming alarmists express is FALSE.

    “Axiom 1 of the Law of Warmist BS”

    Global warming alarmists don’t make predictions anymore – they just make projections.

  17. Climate change costs are built on model output not real time observation.
    Cryogenics is a different animal to simple refrigeration. It is far more costly in energy and what is to be done with all that solid CO2, dry ice, which will accumulate and start to warm and turn gaseous unless kept cold, another energy sapping job.
    Mad cap idea on top of mad cap idea just because models ”prove” AGW climate change. Complete madness unless this suggestion is part of a grant mining operation which turns it into a complete scam.

  18. H.R. says:

    “The estimated health costs of burning coal in the U.S. are in the range of $150 billion to $380 billion, including 18,000-46,000 premature deaths, 540,000 asthma attacks, 13,000 emergency room visits and two million missed work or school days each year.”

    I’d be amazed if anyone could link any of the negative effects listed above directly to any individual and show it was caused by a specific coal plant’s exhaust.

    BTW, Asthma is a very serious affliction but I have never been able to understand its steady increase in the U.S. all the while harmful coal and auto emissions – and throw in cigarette smoke exposure – have been steadily decreasing. Someone is barking up the wrong tree.

  19. Jonathan Smith says:

    Take the genuine pollution out but leave the CO2, the plants need it!

  20. DEEBEE says:

    “The estimated health costs of burning coal in the U.S. are in the range of $150 billion to $380 billion, including 18,000-46,000 premature deaths, 540,000 asthma attacks, 13,000 emergency room visits and two million missed work or school days each year.”
    =======================================
    Before spreadsheeting anything else these numbers should be given a once or twice over and debunked for junk.

  21. DEEBEE says:

    “Today we recognize that carbon dioxide emissions are a leading contributor to climate-warming factors attributed to humans,”
    ====================
    The universal key to peer-review success.

  22. Jeff says:

    Hmmm…..has anyone told the Chinese about this? I imagine their usage of coal-fired plants
    (and the associated heat/dust/chemical/whatever output) dwarfs ours….

  23. Mark Nutley says:

    And the CO2 can be sold on to anyone with a greenhouse, pretty cool really.

  24. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Bituminous coal, as would be burned in a steam electric plant, runs around 60-80% carbon, figure 70% or 0.7.

    Atomic weight of carbon is 12, oxygen is 16, for CO₂ that’s a mass multiplier of (12+16+16)/12 = 3 2/3.

    And 90% of the CO₂ is captured, 0.9.

    So burn 1 tonne of bituminous, you have 0.7*(3 2/3)*0.9 = 2.3 tonnes of dry ice to haul away. And while bituminous can be hauled in by rail with open coal cars, the dry ice would have to go out in insulated cars, if you don’t mind open air venting of the CO₂ while the dry ice warms up during shipping. If that’s a problem, then refrigerated transport is needed.

    Also “bulk density” of bituminous is 833 kg/m³. Density of dry ice is about 1.5 g/cm³ * 1kg/1000g * (100cm/m)³ = 1500 kg/m³. So 1 tonne bituminous to about 2.3*833/1500 = 1.3 times the volume.

    So more volume and more weight to haul away, in heavier rail cars or other forms of heavier transport.

    Problem is, that would be a safe and relatively cheap way to deal with the captured CO₂, and there are ready markets for dry ice. Instead the plans are to warm it up, convert to highly pressurized gas, and send it out over a dedicated pipeline network to “dedicated storage facilities” somewhere.

    There’s enough trouble getting pipelines built for crude oil and oil products, which could contaminate soil and water if they leak. Likewise natural gas pipelines are frowned upon, with leaks resulting in explosions and fires.

    But pressurized CO₂ pipelines, where leaks could send silent invisible waves of death flowing downhill over unsuspecting people and animals? Yeah, that’ll sure be popular.

    And what “dedicated storage facilities” could they be referring to, other than underground storage?

    Also, for such a large commercial refrigeration setup, the refrigerant of choice would be ammonia. So you go from a nice safe steam electric plant, which at worst could have a steam-based explosion that wouldn’t hurt anything off the plant grounds, to needing a full hazmat warning system with alerts in case of an ammonia leak, ready to evacuate anyone nearby as far away as needed.

    Ah, progress.

  25. Bob says:

    You get doctorates in physics and mechanical engineering for this? They are going to capture (pumping?) a 1500F exhaust and control the inlet air to the boiler, chill it to dry ice, liquify the dry ice and do a fractional distillation, then pump it somewhere for “storage” and this is going to cost no more than a normal scrubber? The benefits are curing dread diseases caused by no-seeum particulate and that isotope of mercury (Hg(coal)) that have not been actually diagnosed as the cause to all these diseases. I think they have a few minor design problems. I thought major universities had more rigorous standards. At least they did when I left 37 years ago. Must be big grant money.

  26. Robert of Ottawa says:

    Bogus costs …

    “The estimated health costs of burning coal in the U.S. are in the range of $150 billion to $380 billion, including 18,000-46,000 premature deaths, 540,000 asthma attacks, 13,000 emergency room visits and two million missed work or school days each year.”

    Show us the bodies.

  27. keith at hastings uk says:

    Much cheaper to gradually retire the coal plants and move to fracked gas?
    As for asthma, lots in the UK but very little coal is burnt. Possibly oversensitive immune responses following excessive cleanliness for kids ie don’t eat dirt anymore, or play outside with minimal supervision, evrything squeaky clean, so their immune systems get nothing to bite on as they grow up?

  28. starzmom says:

    So just one question. Once you cool the flue gas to pull out the CO2 as a solid (that means below freezing) and other pollutants, exactly how do you get the now clean flue gas out of the plant, and where does it go? Presently, at least some plants have to reheat the cleaned flue gas (after it passes through scrubbers and NOX catalysts) to get to warm enough to go up a smokestack. Are we going to emit at ground level with big fans?

  29. Bill Irvine says:

    Once all the world’s stock of Oxygen is stowed safely away in CO2 repositories there will be no more problems. Just do not mention Lake Nyos.

  30. Sasha says:

    “…Refrigerating coal-plant emissions would reduce levels of dangerous chemicals that pour into the air — including carbon dioxide…”

    Carbon dioxide is not a “dangerous chemical” – it is a life-giving trace gas, otherwise known as plant food, without which most organisms on this planet would be dead.

  31. RockyRoad says:

    Acolytes that advocate such nonsense should be required to live in a carbon-free environment until they come to their senses. Or if they don’t, the alternative will automatically take care of the “problem”.

    My gosh, where has sanity gone? (For the sake of full disclosure, I lived in Oregon once and the lack of logic by many people there was painfully manifest.)

  32. Kevin Kilty says:

    It’s nice they experimented on paper mills, where the odor-causing chemicals are complex molecules that condense at relatively high temperature. But condensing CO2 requires low temperature, and that brings all sorts of irreversibilities into play. Then, we have the age-old problem of where to put the CO2 anyway, which is the crux of the current “solutions”. I guess I’ll have to go read the paper, but until someone figures out what to do with the CO2 none of this matters at all. A 25% penalty on output power is bad enough, what is the additional cost of installed equipment?

  33. Coach Springer says:

    The benefits are immeasurable. Literally, as Joe Biden once said. Not to mention the “rigorous” analysis of the cost to replace scrubbers with freezers.

    As for “front-end healthcare costs” of mining coal, the thinking suggests that maybe we shouldn’t have any activities that are risky or”dirty, like making steel, farming, construction, manufacturing, driving, eating lettuce, or mining for and buildng wind turbines. Life is risk, and the risks of coal mining have become and will continue to be more manageable and a relatively miniscule consideration. The risk free ivory tower is a combination of aberration and illusion.

    Yes, we have enough coal to afford the loss of 25% efficiency. But why throw 25% away? While making me put a smart meter on my house so they can turn my power down? Pay more for less and restrict access? Putting EPA priorities based on junkscience at the top is thinking at a 90 degree angle to what should be a straight line between production and consumption. We can do better.

  34. PRD says:

    I work for a major coal burning utility. My opinions are my own.

    That done …

    If this were implemented I to a new plant, the parasitical load of 25% would not be much different than the cumulative parasitical load of precipitators (fly ash removed by static charge) or a bag house (filters for fly ash), mercury controls, scrubbers for H2SO4, ammonia for NOx control, over fire air, and so on and so forth.

    We see “stack rain” if the plume gets too wet anyway and is cooling too fast near the plant before the moisture evaporates. That is cured by keeping the stack temp above saturation temperature or internal design to spin out moisture by G forces.

    The first issue I see is keeping the condensing surfaces clean enough for the system to work for the 40 yr lifespan of a typical coal plant.

    No worries. If November goes to the (D) – Indonesia this won’t even get a chance to be demonstrated.

  35. Lack of logic is a major problem. Take but one small example. Children playing truant because of poorly-linked proximity to plant effluent. For Gawd’s sake, if a kid wants to play hookey,she or he will invent one excuse after another until one works. It’s childish to include data of such uncertainty into a serious paper.

    Then, there’s the final crunch argument. Engineers and economists have looked at this liquefaction solution for decades. If it was viable, it would be standard operating procedure by now. I hate these papers that seek special privilege by invoking the unproven god of the greenhouse gas.

  36. JJ says:

    Kurt in Switzerland says:

    Heck, if it costs the same as conventional scrubbers, why not give it a try?

    It doesn’t cost the same as conventional scrubbers. It is hideously more expensive.

    Their ‘cost analysis’ which suggests they would be the same only looked at the cost of the equipment, not the cost of running it. That cost includes raising the fuel cost for the plant by 25% (enormous) and does not include the costs associated with disposing of the CO2 and other flue gasses once they are condensed (enormous X enormous + onerous). And the ‘benefits’ exist mostly in the imaginations of the people pushing this ‘solution’ to a problem that does not exist.

    But you took away from this article that the cost would be the same, as was intended. Such is the way of propaganda.

  37. Ty says:

    “BTW, Asthma is a very serious affliction but I have never been able to understand its steady increase in the U.S. all the while harmful coal and auto emissions – and throw in cigarette smoke exposure – have been steadily decreasing. Someone is barking up the wrong tree.”

    I looked into this a few years back and while there was nothing definitive, the speculation was that the rise in asthma may be related to the energy-efficiency-izing of homes. This has resulted in a much slower air exchange rate and combined with the chemicals used to manufacture carpet, drapes, upholstery…etc, has resulted in a steady increase in indoor air pollution at the same time we are reducing outdoor air pollution.

  38. higley7 says:

    “health-care and climate-change costs associated with burning coal”

    SInce these do not exist with our current stack gases—they are already adequately treated, cooling etc. is a waste of time, energy and money.

    “estimated health costs of burning coal in the U.S. are in the range of $150 billion to $380 billion, including 18,000-46,000 premature deaths, 540,000 asthma attacks, 13,000 emergency room visits and two million missed work or school days each year”

    These are estimates because they are arbitrary attributions made up from thin air. The WHO operates the same way. They cobble up some numbers during a coffee break and them pretend that they are based on some real world data, which they are not.

    Our stack gases are fine. To follow the new requirements of the EPA is stupid. Their new regulations are designed to wither make electricity as expensive as their green sources or to shut down coal all together.

    And CO2 is plant food. We need ALL that we can get. There is no down side to CO2. Greenhouse gases per se do not exist and certainly do not drive climate. That’s junk science.

  39. dave ward says:

    “The new journal article does not address construction costs or the disposal of the captured pollutants

    There’s always a catch…

  40. higley7 says:

    CO2 capture and storage is one of the DUMBEST ideas ever proposed!

  41. barryjo says:

    “Electronic spreadsheet”. Is that similar to a computer model?

  42. WillR says:

    I have been told (personally) by a real climate scientist that people who use spreadsheets to try to analyze climate related problems are a laughingstock “in the trade”. So I am not even going to read this article.

    If it were not for similar emails in the Climategate series I would not take him seriously — but there you have it… What can I say?

  43. anarchist hate machine says:

    Yes there is a litany of problems with this idea, but at least these people are not so anti human…at least trying to keep the power going and the lights on.

  44. ericgrimsrud says:

    The plan says,

    “carbon dioxide would be captured in its solid phase, then warmed and compressed into a gas that could be moved by pipeline at near ambient temperatures to dedicated storage facilities that could be hundreds of miles away.”

    OK, then what? Consider when one changes C (coal) to CO2, one then has more than three times the original coal mass to store forever. One coal power plant typicallys consumes about two 2-mile-long train-loads of coal per day. That would mean the equivalent of about 7 such trains per day hauling the waste away in a pipeline – to then be stored somewhere forever. Now multiply this by the number of coal fired plants in the world – I don’t think so!!

  45. Girma says:

    The AGW house of cards, as shown in the chart below, was built by smoothing all the oscillations in GMST before 1970s and leaving the warming phase of this oscillation since then untouched and calling it man-made.

    IPCC Chart => http://bit.ly/OaemsT

    As shown in the chart above, the models don’t represent the observed global cooling from 1880s to 1910s and the global warming from 1910s to 1940s. As IPCC models don’t agree with the known past, they have ZERO chance of predicting the unknown future.

  46. Mark says:

    Kurt in Switzerland says:

    Heck, if it costs the same as conventional scrubbers, why not give it a try?

    A regular scrubber changes the gasses you want to remove into something stable. In the case of acid gasses such as SO2 and CO2 an alkali is used.
    What is mostly CO2 “snow” has to be kept cool to prevent it turning back into gas.

  47. wolfman says:

    The healthcare costs, real or imagined, are a major reason for the regulatory nightmare facing coal fired electricity. The reduction from 44% to 35% efficiency in generation would increase costs to perhaps 8 cents per kwhr, vs 20+ cents for wind and solar. The economics would vastly favor the proposed process versus tilting at windmills or using solar for large-scale power generation. I don’t know how good the studies really may be, but it appears to be far more realistic than wasting trillions on current “green” solutions; and the reliability of supply should not be discounted as a major economic issue.

    Conversion of power plants to natural gas will undoubtedly continue to be a major factor, but retaining coal as an alternative is a good way to ensure energy supplies and maintain an important industry. We may soon be facing a major electrical shortage, and current policies are going to shutter scores of coal plants. It seems to me that the idea is worth further study to see if the technology and economic assumptions hold up.

  48. bacullen says:

    25% efficiency penalty? raise electricity costs by a quarter? huh? per/kWh, MBTU, month?
    Looks like more GI/GO models all the way down.

  49. Mark says:

    Mark Nutley says:

    And the CO2 can be sold on to anyone with a greenhouse, pretty cool really.

    Probably easier to build greenhouses on site. Then a simple pipe will do the job. No need to freeze or bottle the gas.

  50. Hoser says:

    Just saw a crazy movie 4:44. It’s a lefty-luny enviro whack movie, their suicidal wet-dream. It exposes their twisted psychology. It’s much worse than the 10:10 commercial.

    At 1:24, you get a clue – Al Gore. Yep, turns out Uncle Al was right, it was – get this – the ozone layer. The whole world ends at 4:44 am EST, within a few seconds.

    I’d like to make the movie 4:45, where all these goofballs like Gore are exposed as frauds. Their enviro-mania is a religion to them. The movie makes that clear too. We might call it the Church of Whack (COW).

  51. Roberto says:

    Fascinating. On this line of thought, you could presumably run regular atmosphere though the same process and reduce our CO2 as desired. And cryogenics for your car engine, and cryogenics for your gas water heater, and … But what you would do with the stuff, I have no idea. Keep it stored at cryogenic temperatures? Sure, that sounds OK.

  52. Steve Thatcher says:

    keith at hastings uk says:
    August 28, 2012 at 4:18 am

    Much cheaper to gradually retire the coal plants and move to fracked gas?
    As for asthma, lots in the UK but very little coal is burnt. Possibly oversensitive immune responses following excessive cleanliness for kids ie don’t eat dirt anymore, or play outside with minimal supervision, evrything squeaky clean, so their immune systems get nothing to bite on as they grow up?
    *********************************************************************************************
    Please don’t fall for the kids eating dirt story. As an asthmatic, there is no way I was deprived of my dirt when I was a kid . I laugh out loud when I hear this brought out time and again.
    Other places where asthma prevalence is high are New Zealand and Australia. Which is a surprise to many as it is such a healthy outdoor lifestyle. If interested, check out Buteyko as a way of controlling asthma, it reduced my need for inhalers and pills etc. and it is especially useful for children. I could provide links, but would prefer you do your own research so I am not accused of self interest.

    Hygiene hypothesis
    The hygiene hypothesis suggests that exposure to infections, particularly in early life, stimulates the immune system to activate T-helper-1 cells, which are associated with antiviral immunity. It proposes that activation of T-helper-1 cells protects against asthma. The information provided by the ISAAC study suggests this may be a local theory, because very high rates of asthma have been observed in developing countries that have low standards of hygiene [5]. For example, in Latin America gastrointestinal parasite infestations and acute viral infections in infancy are common but do not protect against asthma. In fact, some of these countries have as high a prevalence of asthma as in the UK.

    exce[r]pt above from a report at Liverpool University Alder Hey children’s hospital.

  53. Ron Richey says:

    Eugene…….Lived here since 1960. I have learned one truth here in 50 years, never believe the liberals (98%) at the U of O. They are, shall we say, a little off course. And the Paper Plant never stopped stinking. …..and still stinks today – much like the University Climate Science Department.

  54. Roberto says:

    Just think about the advertising potential. “Better living through cryogenics”

  55. patrioticduo says:

    University of Oregon “physicists” – please go over to the engineering dept. and learn something about the real world. Please I beg of you, before you do yourselves some real harm. And whatever you do, don’t start experimenting with anything until you have the engineers go over your “designs” – ah – spreadsheets.

  56. Mark says:

    kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    But pressurized CO₂ pipelines, where leaks could send silent invisible waves of death flowing downhill over unsuspecting people and animals? Yeah, that’ll sure be popular.

    I’m sure the people around Lake Nyos can explain why this is a really bad thing.
    The only kind of vehicle suitable for escape would be an electric one…

    Also, for such a large commercial refrigeration setup, the refrigerant of choice would be ammonia. So you go from a nice safe steam electric plant, which at worst could have a steam-based explosion that wouldn’t hurt anything off the plant grounds, to needing a full hazmat warning system with alerts in case of an ammonia leak, ready to evacuate anyone nearby as far away as needed.

    Also in the case of a carbon dioxide leak. Together with breathing apparatus for plant workers and the training to use it.
    Anyway safety valves for high pressure steam have been around for over 300 years. Thus someone would have had to mess up the plant badly to get a steam explosion.

  57. I hear Kari Norgaard prattling in the background.

  58. Peter says:

    Obviously, he is going after an increase in grant money, his primary objective.

  59. G. Karst says:

    It is all about the drive to scarcity, which will further the social revolution. Our scientists and engineers used to receive prizes and awards for increasing efficiency and production output. In our new improved Orwellian world order, they will receive awards for decreasing efficiency and increased artificial scarcity. I fear for our children but it has nothing to do with CO2. GK

  60. choey2 says:

    The kooks just never stop coming…

  61. Pamela Gray says:

    The statistics to question in this research, and that are highly germaine to the cost/benefits calculations, are the health issues they list. My hunch is that these numbers are waaayyy over blown. They may have looked into the health issues related to mining coal as well as burning coal. But even then, I want to see the data on this list of health costs.

  62. Alvin says:

    Burning carbon at incorrect (low) temperatures creates carbon monoxide. Why would they advocate this?

  63. DayHay says:

    The ONLY business that can take a 25% hit in efficiency and survive is government.

  64. Andrew Lyon says:

    Here in OK, and other places, we use compressed liquid C02 to aid in the recovery of oil. Specifically, in the facility I work in, we move the liquid C02, which is a byproduct of a fertilizer plant, via 145 mile long pipeline at a pressure of around 1500 psi, then inject that C02 into the oil bearing formations (around 7000 ft. here) using what we call injection wells. The C02 serves basically as a detergent to loosen and flush the oil out of the formation, and also to charge the field (keep pressure up) then it is recovered via producing wells which employ electric submersible pumps (ESP). Then the produced oil, natural gas (which now contains C02 in a gas state), and water is separated at several above ground facilities. The gas, which is 88% C02, has combined with the usable natural gas and is sent to a gas processing facility, where I work. We take that gas and strip the C02 from “the good stuff” and re-inject the C02 down hole. The methanes, propanes, and all the other -anes are further processed for sales. We move about 25 million cubic feet (mmscfd) of C02 each day, and have been since 1992 without any major release of C02 and without injury. We take in roughly 20-25 cubic feet of C02 everyday, 365 days a year, and none of it ever sees the light of day again. My point is that not only can the byproduct C02 be disposed of safely, it can be put to use very effectively. So, at least in my neck of the woods, the only people actually significantly reducing CO2 from entering the atmosphere is the evil oil and gas industry. If my calculations are correct, my little plant in the tiny town of Lindsay, OK keeps right about 43 million lbs. or 21,500 tons of C02 from entering the atmosphere. Just FYI.

  65. ferdberple says:

    WillR says:
    August 28, 2012 at 6:20 am
    I have been told (personally) by a real climate scientist that people who use spreadsheets to try to analyze climate related problems are a laughingstock “in the trade”.
    =========
    How true. We learned from Jones in the Climategate emails that real climate scientists don’t know how to use spreadsheets. Advanced tools like spreadsheets are reserved for those folks that need accuracy in their work. Climate science doesn’t rely on “accuracy”, it relies on “believability”.

    Any marketing expert can tell you that when applying for money it is much more important that the numbers are believable than they are accurate. Any engineer can tell you that when building something it is much more important that the numbers are accurate than they are believable.

    This is the inherent difference between cliamte science, which only needs to be believable, and engineering which needs to be accurate.

    Those that can: do. Those that can’t: consult. Those that can’t consult: teach. Those that can’t teach become climate scientists.

  66. howarth says:

    The coal fired electrical plant in St. John, Arizona was retrofitted with scrubbers in compliance with the new EPA regulations. Its a nice clean plant that supplies energy to Arizona and California. It also supplies nice clean jobs to the people of St. John who run the plant. The coal is mined locally that also keeps people employed( in this case I believe it come from mines on the Navajo Indian reservation. ) Completely sustainable energy. But the federal government is going to shut it down anyway. Its not about how clean the coal burns. It the energy it produces they hate. Affordable energy is key to prosperity. This government seems to have a problem with prosperity. So even if they succeeded in this crazy CO2 capturing scheme, it still wouldn’t be good enough for the anti coal fanatics.

  67. Dr. Bob says:

    I find the discussion on toxicology below interesting. Extrapolation of high dose animal toxicology data to humans is fraught with problems. Most data is so shaky as to be unusable. Yet it is still done as if it is 100% accurate. Lovelace Respriatory Institute showed conclusively that diesel exhaust exposure at low levels does not cause histological response in lab rats. However, diesel exhaust particulate matter painted on lung tissure causes high response. So the high dose response is extrapolated to low levels is if it is vaild.

    http://butane.chem.uiuc.edu/pshapley/Environmental/L37/3.html
    C. Risk Assessment – the Traditional Approach
    The computation of risk to human health for a given substance requires several assumptions related not only to sources of exposure and route of ingestion, but also to how mathematical modeling is applied to animal toxicity data, and how effects of biomass and body surface area should be assessed. Somewhat systematic approaches have been formalized. Dose-response data obtained from animal experiments are extrapolated, using various mathematical assumptions, to expected exposure levels to produce a (hopefully) quantitative assessment of risk. Currently, this type of risk assessment has been used largely to predict the likelihood of developing or dying from cancer.

    A major unresolved issue in risk assessment is the most appropriate method of extrapolating short-term, high-dose, positive toxicity data to the much lower exposure levels to which people will be exposed. The issue is whether toxic compounds have a lower threshold of activity, a concentration below which harmful effects do not occur. For some types of hazardous compounds, such as carcinogens, it has been considered prudent to assume that there is no threshold, and to assume that a plot of the dose-hazard relationship goes straight through the origin; any measurable dose is assumed to carry with it some risk. Other kinds of toxicity data, however, often indicate a lower limit below which no physiological effects are observed. In these cases, the dose-response curve has a “hockey-stick” profile. Complications occur when dose-response data for animals are highly curvilinear, as they often are.

    Another major concern is the extent to which animal toxicity data can, or should be, translated to humans, given the large differences in anatomy, physiology, and metabolism, and therefore susceptibility, of various animal species to toxicants. Furthermore, animal data are not always reproducible due to variances in experimental design and in the numbers of animals tested.

    In the past, the assumption has been made that people should be considered at least as susceptible as the most susceptible animal species. Where a concentration is available in these experiments in which no observed effect is noted, a “safety” or “uncertainty” factor is then applied to the data to calculate acceptable (reduced) concentrations or intake levels to which humans can be assumed to be safely exposed. For example, one suggestion was that a safety factor of 10 be applied when there were valid results from studies of long-term ingestion by humans and no indications of carcinogenicity; a factor of 100 was recommended when no valid human data existed but there were valid studies of long-term effects on animals; and so on.

    In any event, for carcinogenesis the assumption has usually been made that a “safe” level of human exposure is that in which the total lifetime exposure of a person to a compound should produce one chance in a million for developing cancer. This is essentially how drinking-water standards (for lead concentrations, e.g.) are calculated. Occasionally, however, operational or political concerns have overridden this type of computation. An example of this is the current drinking-water standard for trihalomethanes. If the traditional extrapolation method with safety factors were to be applied to the data, concentrations in the range of 1-10 ppm would be obtained; however, since such levels are not achievable with common disinfection technology, a higher standard of 100 ppm is currently on the books.

  68. The wealth-eating monster has to be fed, or it will turn really angry!
    CO2 is plant food, not a dangerous pollutant.
    A 25% cost in efficiency? Justified? And then storing CO2?
    Trees are the way to store CO2, then petroleum (Mother Nature’s way).

  69. JG says:

    The thermodynamics of the the CO2-H2O-N2 relatively low-temperature (80C) effluent from a thermal steam plant is well know. N2 plays little role since it does not undergo a phase change. The CO2 and H2O phase diagrams(P,T) are well understood. Although not necessarily the exact mechanism proposed by the authors, the pressure, P, of the effluent can be increase by a compressor (adiabatically) to 100 atmospheres (ATM) which requires mechanical energy input. The high-T compressed effluent can then be cooled by extracting the thermal energy (either to cooling towers or to generate electricity via known low-T processes; this can recover some of the mechanical energy input). If you look at the phase diagram for the system you will realize that at first the H2O condenses out from the gaseous effluent as the temperature drops to ~250 C – remember the pressure remains constant – and be extracted. As the temperature drops further to about 60 C the CO2 condenses out, either as a liquid (or a solid if you go to higher P) depending upon where in the P-T phase diagram the system resides. At a P= 30 ATM and T= 25C the system can work quite well. The liquid H2O and CO2 are subtracted form the system while the still-gaseous N2 (etc) is vented to the air. There is nothing magical about this. It is all physics – call thermodynamics – and is taught in undergraduate physics classes. Whether this makes environmental, economic or business sense is another matter. But at least argue using some facts and knowledge.

  70. PRD says:

    Yeah, in retrospect, the parasitic load of 25% exceeds that of current pollution control equipment in a fully loaded coal plant.

    I was distracted when posting earlier. 8 to 10 percent is real world and that includes all of the auxilliary power needs.

    CO2 capture and deepwell storage is a “30 pound tick on a 10 pound dog” as has been found out by two major generators on the planet (one in the US and one in Germany). Try >30% of a plants generation used capturing the CO2 and injecting it and that scales with the capacity of the power plant.

    Refrigeration: while neat in concept… if it really took 25% then that is far too expensive. If it could simply be stopped at causing the condensation of water on the various nuclei available in the stack gas and deepwell injecting what comes down…. now we’re talking. But cryo? Only the TVA would build it…

    …with our taxdollars.

  71. ferdberple says:

    Andrew Lyon says:
    August 28, 2012 at 8:11 am
    So, at least in my neck of the woods, the only people actually significantly reducing CO2 from entering the atmosphere is the evil oil and gas industry. If my calculations are correct, my little plant in the tiny town of Lindsay, OK keeps right about 43 million lbs. or 21,500 tons of C02 from entering the atmosphere.
    =========
    Which is why the oil industry wants a price on carbon. It drives their main competitor coal out of the market, and it pays them to inject CO2 for oil recovery.

    Anyone that believes that Big Oil is against a price on carbon hasn’t checked the facts. The biggest beneficiary from a carbon tax or cap and trade will be the oil industry. If you think oil prices are high now, see what happens when coal is no longer available as a fuel source.

    Do the math. Thermal coal in the US is as low as $20/ton. The same energy equivalent as 2 barrels of oil, with a price of roughly $200.

  72. JimG132 says:

    How cool would the exhaust have to be? Ignoring CO2 for now and thinking only of particulates in the exhaust, I would imagine that a plant based near a lake or ocean could have its smoke stack run under that body of water long enough for the gases to cool and the particles to precipitate out. Am I out to lunch on this?

  73. dp says:

    A 25% reduction in output will require replacing that with more generators thus reducing the efficiency further. Wind and solar could be added but those require subsidies and auxiliary full-time backup, reducing efficiency further yet. It would be most efficient if they just turned off 25% of the generators and built the needed replacements.

  74. ferdberple says:

    howarth says:
    August 28, 2012 at 8:16 am
    Completely sustainable energy. But the federal government is going to shut it down anyway. Its not about how clean the coal burns. It the energy it produces they hate. Affordable energy is key to prosperity. This government seems to have a problem with prosperity.
    ======
    If you are rich, you are only rich so long as everyone else is poor. If everyone else is also rich, then you are as poor as everyone else.

    This logic is what drives those at the top to deprive everyone else. It isn’t enough that they are rich, they need everyone else to remain poor.

  75. Colin Porter says:

    A 25% reduction in efficiency means a 33% increase in fuel consumption to achieve the same net energy output coupled with a 33% increase in coal burning capacity. Another slight of hand by the warmist fraternity!

  76. cdquarles says:

    For those who asked about asthma, it is an inflammatory disease (as is cardiovascular disease… just keep that in mind). The speculation that I remember about the increasing incidence of asthma is that as infectious disease deaths dropped, the survivor effects and that the immune system isn’t getting primed to fight those old pathogens means the immune system is getting primed against itself more. Sure it was and is easier to blame pollution but, until you show me the actual concentrations of actual chemicals measured in actual people, I will remain skeptical of pollution being a problem after 1980. You could freeze the emission standards to those in 1992 and you would not be able to tell the difference in terms of clinical disease, outside of smoking or directly breathing smoke from cooking using wood, dung, or other solids.

  77. Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:

    What are they smoking up there??

    This is so insanely idiotic I cannot believe anyone even tried to peddle it as a useful idea.
    The energy losses at each step of this imaginary process would eat up the entire output of the plant. You would be better off burning money to get heat.

    Larry

  78. Gail Combs says:

    According to the Physical Review E paper, carbon dioxide would be captured in its solid phase, then warmed and compressed into a gas that could be moved by pipeline at near ambient temperatures to dedicated storage facilities that could be hundreds of miles away

    How come no one ever mentions the fact that a leak/rupture is a death sentence for anyone, human or animal in the area of the storage facilities.

    …In 1986, a tremendous explosion of CO2 from the lake Nyos, West of Cameroon, killed more than 1700 people and livestock up to 25 km away. The dissolved CO2 is seeping from springs beneath the lake and is trapped in deep water by the high hydrostatic pressure. If the CO2 saturation level is reached, bubbles appear and draw a rich mixture of gas and water up… http://mhalb.pagesperso-orange.fr/nyos/nyos.htm

    I rather let the plant life take care of the CO2.
    “Save a tree, burn coal”

  79. Steve C says:

    “Today we recognize that carbon dioxide emissions are a leading contributor to climate-warming factors attributed to humans,” Donnelly said.

    But no mention of the fact that all these “climate-warming factors attributed (mostly for propaganda purposes, of course – SC) to humans” added together are still way down on the ‘noise’ of natural climatic variability. Sigh. ND – SOS.

  80. David Larsen says:

    Very similar to what Alstrom and Wisconsin Electric did at Pleasant Prairie units 1 and 2. They used super chilled ammonia and got similiar responses a few years ago. Good timing, good applications and good response to shut the green weenies up. Go for it.

  81. oeman50 says:

    The big technical problem in crygenically cooling the exhaust of an unscrubbed coal boiler is the condensation of acids, primarily sulfuric from the SO3 and water in the flue gas. It eventually eats the hell out of anything it touches, even exotic metal alloys. That is why boilers are designed to run just above the acid dew point. Boiler operators would love to operate below the water dew point so all of the heat of evaporation could be recovered, but it is just too expensive. Wet scrubbers have the same problem in the area where the hot flue gas mixes with cooler scrubber water and quenches the gas. Natural gas plants do not have the acids, however, and they do run below the water dew point, making them highly efficient. So your heat exchange surfaces will have to kept clean (H/T, PRD), corrosion free and then you will have to remove the solidified water ice and CO2 in some fashion from the surfaces in way that keeps the frozen solids from insulating them. Better consult some engineers before you spend a bundle on something that becomes swiss cheese in a couple of years.

  82. A. Teddy says:

    Problem Solved
    It’s really quite ingenious, what they didn’t tell us is they sell the CO2 to the oil companies for their fracking operations. That’s because they’d be the only ones who could afford to pay for the stuff.

  83. mib8 says:

    In the late 1960s the environmental hysterics demanded that we move from coal to oil… right before the OPEC embargo.

    We already had “bag filters” capable of removing sub-micron diameter particles. Lime “scrubbers” were already being deployed to neutralize acids. Natural gas “jet engine” peaking units were in use.

    But no such measures will ever placate the environmental whackoes, because what they really hate is human activity.

  84. Chuck Nolan says:

    Matthew Carver says:
    August 28, 2012 at 12:32 am
    This could never work, the only proven way to reduce emissions and therefore save the planet is by taking money from people or groups we don’t like and giving it to people or groups we do like.
    ——————–
    Wrong Matt.
    They do take money from people they don’t like but, they give it to people who don’t like us.
    cn

  85. chris y says:

    A 2005 report discussed economics and efficiencies for the lowest cost CO2 removal technologies. Cryogenics is considered too energy-intensive and costly. The numbers are better than what can be expected for a cryogenic solution.

    http://www.undeerc.org/PCOR/newsandpubs/pdf/CarbonSeparationCapture.pdf

    For CO2 capture in a typical lignite-fired power plant, with either Amine process or Oxygen combustion to remove CO2:

    -the net thermal efficiency drops from 33% to 23.5% or 21.2%.
    -cost of producing electricity increases from 2 to 2.5 or 3.3 cents/kWhr.
    -CO2 capture cost is $23.20 or $31.6 per ton CO2.
    -Carbon capture cost is $85.15 or $116 per ton Carbon.
    -Capture costs are driven by construction costs, and those costs have gone way up since 2005.

    Cryogenic separation of gases has been around a very long time, even for CO2. There are no technology hurdles. The important issues are economic (capital outlay and O&M costs, as discussed in other posts above).

    In other words, there is no interesting physics, but lots of challenging engineering problems.

  86. DavidG says:

    michaeljmcfadden says:
    August 28, 2012 at 12:28 am
    ” What will they eventually DO with all that deadly carbon dioxide?? Use it to make seltzer water to create highballs to get the angels drunk for their pin dancing??? After all, it’s worse than plutonium you realize. Plutonium has a half-life. We can store it up for a little while and then it becomes safe and we can let it out. But carbon dioxide will retain its deadliness for all of eternity!

    –Well Michael, you should call yourself Chicken Little, for this unscientific nonsense and hysteria.
    Carbon more deadly than plutonium?? Where did you go to school? Bizzarro World? It’s past time you and the other hysterics did some reading and learned what science is before you start screaming what Richard Feynman called ‘not even wrong’ nonsense. Carbon is an essential trace gas, without which you wouldn’t be sitting at your laptop spewing hot air.

  87. tadchem says:

    Taking the “heat” out of the generator exhausts (cryogenically, even!), according to the Laws of Thermodynamics, will require far more energy that the generators can produce. Thus one would need another generator to power the refrigerator, which would need another refrigerator for *its* exhausts, and so ad infinitum.

  88. Doug Huffman says:

    In re disposal of captured (and concentrated) pollutants; what about the ~1 ppm radioactive nuclides, or is it 1 ppb? To a Greenie, a ton of radioactive material will be an insurmountable obstacle.

    Dilution is the solution to pollution caused by concentration of naturally occurring materials.

  89. Andrew Lyon says:

    Ferdberple, the wierd thing is that we pay ALOT of money to buy the C02 that we inject. Seems wierd to pay out the wazoo for something so useless. We do, however come out ahead since it allows us to continue to extract oil from the formation. You’d think the “warmistas” would cut us some slack for getting rid of the C02 for them, and in turn, create very very little C02 with our very efficient and clean processes, but we are still very heavily regulated by OSHA, DOT, BLM, and the EPA. This is an old field, and 20 or so years ago it was nearly dead. By flooding it with C02 and water, the field was revived and allowed our oil gas industry as well as our community to continue to thrive. I don’t intend to debate you over big oil wanting a carbon tax, but since transporting and storing C02 was brought up, I thought I’d provide a working example of exactly how it can be done. I also wanted to illustrate that If someone wanted to capture and condense C02 from plant emissions, it can be actually used for other purposes effectively and safely rather than just stored. But, I wouldn’t advocate that unless Big Brother left us no choice. Just trying to turn a huge negative into positive down the line. Also, we’re not really “big oil” either. We’re one of the little guys that comes in and gets what the big boys left behind when the fields are no longer worth their effort. The custodians of Big Oil, if you will. For a healthy profit of course ;)

  90. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    @Robert of Ottawa
    “The estimated health costs of burning coal in the U.S. are in the range of $150 billion to $380 billion, including 18,000-46,000 premature deaths, 540,000 asthma attacks, 13,000 emergency room visits and two million missed work or school days each year.”

    >Show us the bodies.

    +++++++

    Didn’t you see the hundreds of bodies lined up each year at the Toronto morgue killed by the emissions from the Nanticoke coal fired power plant? Wasn’t it claimed that 1600 deaths per year were attributable to that one distant plant? Probably not – what with all that smoke drifting over the Centre of the Universe.

    Now what about those 18,000 definitely dead and (46,000 – 18,000) = 28,000 who are possibly/maybe/not sure they are dead? Is that where they get all those people for the ‘living dead’ movies that infect my TV these days? They all look like they have been breathing coal smoke but some spoiler told me that as make-up.

    No wonder I can’t get service at the emergency ward of an Ontario hospital! They are too busy dealing with a million asthma attacks from that damned coal plant. They should ban asthma and turn up the aircon. We’ll all feel better.

    I note that the Germans plan to have enough electricity for their hospitals. Twenty-three new coal-fired plants. Impressive.

    /sarc where appropriate

  91. Michael J. Dunn says:

    With available chemical processes, approximately, 5 to 6 pounds of carbon (i.e., coked coal) + 8 pounds of methane (natural gas) = 13 to 14 pounds of nearly any liquid hydrocarbon you desire. The coking process allows essentially complete control of non-carbon volatiles and heavy contaminants. And if you can’t get methane, you can make it by other reactions, using carbon and water as feedstocks. The problem has nothing to do with chemical power generation. It has everything to do with climatological Lysenkoism.

  92. Jesse G. says:

    Tell any coal-fired plant operator that you can reduce the amount of CO2, SOx, and NOx in emissions and their first questions are: 1) What is the capital cost, 2) what is the maintenance cost, and 3) what is the parasitic load. If the technology is going to have a 25% impact on efficiency combined with high capital and/or maintenance costs, the operator will send you on your way. Coal gasification can already do what this cryogenic cleanup is proposing. Unfortunately, coal gasification comes at a high capital cost and a high parasitic cost due to the need for oxygen and the need to compress CO2 for pipeline transportation.

  93. more soylent green! says:

    Obvious answer — build coal-fired plants at the bottom of glaciers, pump the exhaust into the base.

    /sarc (well, duh)

  94. michaeljmcfadden says:

    DavidG, you wrote, “–Well Michael, you should call yourself Chicken Little, for this unscientific nonsense and hysteria. Carbon more deadly than plutonium?? Where did you go to school? Bizzarro World? It’s past time you and the other hysterics did some reading and learned what science is before you start screaming what Richard Feynman called ‘not even wrong’ nonsense. Carbon is an essential trace gas, without which you wouldn’t be sitting at your laptop spewing hot air.”

    David, I was being HIGHLY sarcastic/satirical in my posting to make the point (note the angels tap-dancing on the pinhead.) I’m pretty well-known around the net on blogs/newsboards dealing with second- and third-hand smoke nonsense for taking the craziness that underlies the hysteria and exposing it more clearly for BEING craziness. See http://www.Antibrains.com for background. In this case I was poking fun at the idea that they were taking carbon dioxide and treating it as if it WERE something like plutonium — something that needed to be stored safely away in “dedicated storage facilities” because of its “deadliness.”

    Heh, of course I shouldn’t overlook the possibility that you yourself were being sarcastic/satirical in your response of treating the nonsense about the nonsense as though it were serious. In which case, please take my seemingly serious response here as simply being “thirdhand nonsense” — more deadly than oxygen! (Which actually I believe may kill you rather dead in a day or so if it’s all you have to breathe… Maybe we need storage facilities for that as well?)

    And then of course, there’s always the small possibility that this entire thread has been based upon a story/study that in itself was nothing more than a mis-timed April Fools joke and the original author/researchers are sitting back in their chairs laughing their heads off that we’ve all taken them seriously!

    – MJM

  95. JJ says:

    dave ward says:

    “The new journal article does not address construction costs or the disposal of the captured pollutants”

    There’s always a catch…

    And typically more than one. Note that they say:

    “Not in the equation, Donnelly said, are the front-end health-care costs involved in coal extraction through mining.”

    So, they claim a ‘health care benefit to society’ based on imaginary impacts of diffused stack gasses, but conveniently don’t count the very real and quatifyable health impacts to society of having to mine and transport 33% more coal for the same energy output.

    Greenie math: every case of asthma counts against coal, no case of black lung does.

  96. TomE says:

    This is from the University of Oregon and the only reality about that place is the football team. Since their ex coach draws a $500,000/year PERS retirement it lessons the reality of football also.

  97. kretchetov says:

    “The estimated health costs of burning coal in the U.S. are in the range of $150 billion to $380 billion, including 18,000-46,000 premature deaths, 540,000 asthma attacks, 13,000 emergency room visits and two million missed work or school days each year.”

    And what are the health BENEFITS of using electricity created by burning coal? It doubles your life expectancy, and makes it far more pleasant, among other things.

  98. James Hein says:

    Some speculation on the rise of Asthma.

    I was taught some time back that one strong link to asthma was stress and associated emotional influences. I was in a position to watch change in a Western nation versus an Asian nation over 20 years. In the Western nation asthma rose and in the Asian one it didn’t. In the Asian nation the education system, parental attitudes, play patterns and the legal system barely changed. In the Western nation the education system changed, parental attitudes changes, play patterns changed and the legal system changed into one where personal responsibility was abdicated in favour of blaming others. ADHD suddenly appeared (but not in psychological texts) and parents started apportioning all manner of issues on society to be solved by taking a pill.

    Based on this I offer the following theory. Cases of asthma have been rising due to a increases in manufactured “stress” along with lots of “it’s not your fault it’s ” and the tendency to treat any emotional issue (in the West) as a condition that can be handled with a pill or in this case an inhaler.

    It might be an interesting one for some budding PHD student to take on perhaps.

  99. barryjo says:

    @ tadchem: 10:52Am
    “Ad infinitum????
    Ad nauseumn.

  100. Loren Wilson says:

    You won’t just condense the CO2, you’ll also freeze out all the water from the combustion process as well. This will approximately double your refrigeration load, further reducing efficiency. Wet CO2 can’t be pumped through a pipeline, it’ll rust it out.

  101. jsbrodhead says:

    If all that work can be effected with only a 25% loss in efficiency, why can’t my car get 500 miles per gallon?

  102. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    dearieme says:
    August 28, 2012 at 1:35 am
    Physicists playing at being engineers often provide lots of entertainment.

    ….not nearly as much fun as engineers playing at being physicists!! I swear, some of the PEs I work with can’t seem to understand….water flows DOWN!!

    BTW, give me all of that CO2 for my algae process. Our research at the UIUC shows we can make biodiesel for about $0.70 per US gallon.

  103. Zeke says:

    “Last December the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued new mercury and air toxic standards (MATS), calling for the trapping of 41 percent of sulfur dioxide and 90 percent of mercury emissions.”

    Excuse me. It is the exclusive right of Congress to put our lives, property and liberty at risk with legislation like this.

  104. Chris Hecker says:

    In a cold climate, one could build a heat exchanger type mechanism that warms surrounding buildings by taking some heat (and some soot, which causes more problems than the CO2) out of the exhaust. Or heat a bunch of greenhouses with CO2-enriched air. We might make that work.

    But a 25 decrease in efficiency is a bad idea. If nothing else, the extra coal requires energy spent to mine and transport to the power plant. Add up all the costs, we might actually end up with more CO2 in the air, more wasted coal, and more expensive energy, from this scheme.

    It seems that in most green power schemes, the only ones to benefit are the manufacturers of the so-called “green” equipment. We need to be vigilant in separating the few promising ideas from the greenwashing.

  105. Zeke says:

    “[Donnely and Hershberger] estimate that implementing large-scale cryogenic systems into coal-fired plants would reduce overall costs to society by 38 percent through the sharp reduction of associated health-care and climate-change costs.”

    And after that, they will have such great savings, and such great numbers reporting, that they can export the excess power to other countries, mostly in July and August and during the months of November – March!

  106. DaveS says:

    barryjo says:
    August 28, 2012 at 6:19 am
    “Electronic spreadsheet”. Is that similar to a computer model?

    ‘Prof’ Phil Jones, at least, will be impressed by their use of such cutting-edge technology.

  107. JJ says:

    CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    I swear, some of the PEs I work with can’t seem to understand….water flows DOWN!!

    Except when it doesn’t.

  108. KevinM says:

    You guys are all just unimaginative complainers. We build vertical pipes and pump the cryo-CO2 into space, outside the atmosphere. And since evaporation is a cooling process, the pipes will act as air conditioning to cure the earth’s fever. Problem(s) solved.

  109. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From JJ on August 29, 2012 at 8:33 am:

    CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    I swear, some of the PEs I work with can’t seem to understand….water flows DOWN!!

    Except when it doesn’t.

    Yup. Here at the parent’s old house, I take a shower and the toilet bowl level goes higher. Clean the hair and scum off the small drain grate and let a standing inch start draining, the water will burble up into the bowl. I plunge the toilet, and when it lets go and flushes down the “water” surges up a bit into the bathroom sink.

    Since this obviously violates the laws of physics, as water must flow down, obviously the house must be haunted. What else could it be?

  110. richardM says:

    From a business and economic perspective, taking 25 percent of generation capability off line, with future demand signals all increasing means that you have to replace this 25 percent and going forward, factoring that into every megawatt of increased demand. (Not to mention the difficulty and expense in permitting a coal fired power plant) Someone above, using the precautionary principle as a guide thinks it a good idea to try…..wow. Electricity rates will necessarily sky rocket by at least that 25%. Until you prove something is an issue, this is an incredibly expensive and wasteful thought exercise.

  111. Erny72 says:

    Seriously, how long before we all stop listening to these numpties?

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper and societiallylylyly better for these habitually indignant ecotards to just buy some tree saplings and plant them somewhere?
    The champions of using carcinogens to capture carbon (dioxide) from exhaust emissions only admit to a 15% increase to the energy bill of the afflicted industrial process, so how do these p.l.on.k.e.r.s expect to attract funding for refrigerating exhaust at a cost of 25%?

  112. David Larsen says:

    I have also thought that we could turn the stacks laterally and use the carbon dioxide and heat to warm giant greenhouses. Just filter the exiting materials from the stack. You could probably grow wonderous amounts of vegetables during winter months. Use the heat and CO2 for good purposes. Filter the emissions from the top of the stack.

  113. mrmethane says:

    Kadaka: Old house plumbing and post-modern climate scientists – same cause.

  114. Aussie Luke Warm says:

    Ideas like this which are driven by a phantom problem and which would increase the price of electricity considerably are even worse if your country is the only lemming who goes down that road. Boy, am I sure glad I live in Australia…OH WAIT!

  115. george e smith says:

    “””””…..Neville. says:

    August 28, 2012 at 1:55 am

    Pielke Jr has a story at his blog that looks at the possibility of recycling co2 into liquid methanol.
    This is taking place in Iceland where a joint Iceland USA venture is in progress.
    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/recycling-carbon-dioxide-in-iceland.html…..”””””

    Sounds great to me. I wonder if it is competitive with recycling H2O into methanol.

    If we work it right, we could have a closed system containing just water and dry ice, turning them into methanol which we can burn to replenish the H2O and CO2 feedstocks.

  116. george e smith says:

    “””””…..According to the Physical Review E paper, carbon dioxide would be captured in its solid phase, then warmed and compressed into a gas that could be moved by pipeline at near ambient temperatures to dedicated storage facilities that could be hundreds of miles away……”””””

    Now isn’t that just precious; so we mine dry ice by simply shovelling it up off the ground at Vostok Station, in Antarctica, and we ship it in refrigerated cryoships to Australia, where they have plenty of coal; which we can burn to warm up the dry ice to room temperature, so we can then pump it at high pressure, under the ocean to Yucky Mountain Nevada, which I believe is available. Pumping it down into the mountain (they call that ‘fracking’), will bring up enough oil and natural gas to pay for the whole operation.

    I just knew that carbon dioxide snow would become a commercial commodity one day.

    Good on Ya Oregon; you and old Brownie from Nyew Orleens; would make a great team !

  117. bwdave says:

    kadaka asked:

    Since this obviously violates the laws of physics, as water must flow down, obviously the house must be haunted. What else could it be?

    Sounds like a blocked vent.

  118. bwdave says:

    David Larsen said:

    I have also thought that we could turn the stacks laterally and use the carbon dioxide and heat to warm giant greenhouses. Just filter the exiting materials from the stack. You could probably grow wonderous amounts of vegetables during winter months. Use the heat and CO2 for good purposes. Filter the emissions from the top of the stack.

    I believe they have been doing this in Finland since the ’80s or so. Picture a really long greenhouse with a conveyor belt and hydroponics. Plant seeds at one end, pick vegetables at the other.

  119. JJ says:

    george e smith says:

    Pielke Jr has a story at his blog that looks at the possibility of recycling co2 into liquid methanol.

    It isn’t really recycling. It is a complex method of wasting energy.

    Sounds great to me. I wonder if it is competitive with recycling H2O into methanol.

    The process referred to uses H20, and copius amounts of energy, along with Co2 to produce methanol.

    If we work it right, we could have a closed system containing just water and dry ice, turning them into methanol which we can burn to replenish the H2O and CO2 feedstocks.

    Nope. It would need to be an open system, where you pump in more energy than you hope to take out. See Laws of Thermodynamics, #1.

  120. Jack G. Hanks says:

    michaeljmcfadden wrote:

    > After all, it’s worse than plutonium you realize. Plutonium has a half-life. We can store it up for
    > a little while and then it becomes safe and we can let it out. But carbon dioxide will retain its
    > deadliness for all of eternity!
    >
    > SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!

    If only there were some way to compress the carbon dioxide and all of those toxic materials into a solid form that could then be buried. Little black lumps of material that could be stored under mountaintops. Drat! Nothing’s coming to mind.

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