"Clean Coal" Has Prospered With Totalitarian Rule And Oil Shortage


Lincoln Memorial (1922) - Washington, DC; Henry Bacon, FAIA. Image credit:AIA Archiblog
History indicates that two conditions are required for "clean coal" to prosper: oil shortages and a rigid form of government. China is now clearly in the lead.

By 2010, China will have installed 29 [coal] gasification projects since 2004, compared with zero in the United States, according to the Gasification Technologies Council, a trade group based in Arlington, VA. Most of these Chinese projects turn coal into synthesis gas (or syngas)--a blend of carbon monoxide and hydrogen--to feed catalysts that synthesize chemicals and fuels.
Via:4Engr.com, The United States and China are both focusing on technologies to clean up coal power. While this story conveniently misses a few key points - take, for example, the fact that the syngas plants, operated with direct Chinese government incentives, manufactured excess amounts of melamine, off spec portions of which ended up contaminating human foods worldwide; and also take into account the fact that no one is saying what exactly is happening to the mercury or arsenic or lead being extracted from the syngas process (as they should be) - the basic point is clear. But lets amplify a bit.

The process of coal gasification was invented and perfected by the German Nazi regime, details of which are under investigation at Texas A&M;. The driving force at the time was a shortage of oil.

After WWII, clean coal technology prospered in South Africa. See the following excerpt from the Sasol (SA syngas firm) website for details.

It was realised then that, because South Africa did not have crude oil reserves, the country's balance of payments had to be protected against increasing crude oil imports. After many years of research and international negotiations, the South African Coal Oil and Gas Corporation was formed in 1950.

Then came China, with the USA the next target market.

Will the USA become the next place where "clean coal" prospers? If history is any guide, the power of democracy and of the free market are strong determinants.

Looking forward, however, coal-based liquid fuels, produced on a massive scale, are a predetermined element of the American future unless plug in hybrids and renewable sources of electricity come to dominate the transportation landscape over the next 30 years. A precondition of that surely must be a stronger understanding of climate risk with voters.

More on coal syngas.
Montana Governor Promotes Coal to Gasoline Conversion
Big Coal's Back Is Covered, Business-As-Usual Climate Scenario ...
America to the World: Drop Dead, We Have Coal.
Got Melamine? 53000 Chinese Children Did - In Their Milk
Oh..Great - Our Access To Coal Is Only Limited By Imagination ...

Tags: Alternative Energy | Clean Coal

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