Guest post by David Archibald
Ira Glickstein’s post promoting clean coal has prompted me to offer a few slides from a presentation I had prepared. One of the things that gets me about clean coal is that the same people who are urging restraint are quite happy to halve the life of our coal reserves.
My thesis is that the rising oil price will drive inter-fuel substitution to the highest value markets, which are those transport applications that require a high-density liquid fuel with good storage characteristics – essentially diesel and jet fuel. Coal will be substituted for oil into the transport fuels market. That in turn will make it too valuable to burn for power generation, in which nuclear will substitute for coal. I am a thorium nut as well as a coal-to-liquids (CTL) proponent. The nuclear industry has financed a lot of the AGW hysteria, as they saw this as the only way they could sell nuclear plants against coal. They needn’t have bothered. At the current oil price and above, coal is diesel that is waiting to go through a CTL plant. At US$120 per barrel, it becomes worthwhile to close existing coal-fired power generation and replace it with nuclear, taking the hit on the capital charge of the idled coal plant.
Some people call for US energy independence but have no practical idea of how that could be achieved. Others, strangely, rail against the concept. So, here follows a plan for US energy independence by 2020. The technology exists and it is costed and affordable.