'Petro Coal' Touted by California Public Utilities Commissioner as Alternative Fuel Source

california refinery photo

photo: Shea Harazian via flickr

Bear with the fuzzy terminology: California Public Utilities Commissioner Michael Peevey is promoting a new CPUC feasibility study which would see an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle facility produce electricity by gasification of non-conventional fuel sources such as petroleum coke. Cleantech is reporting that Peevey's calling this "petroleum coal":Peevey's also touting this plan as one which will be the world's first gasification and carbon sequestration project (apparently some of the carbon emissions will be sequestered, though not all).

Currently about 90% of California's petroleum coke is exported to Asia and burned without environmental controls, Peevey points out. So, rather than do that (emitting more carbon to ship it across the Pacific) why not burn it in California where it could displaced some natural gas and have tighter pollution controls? Peevey estimates that the state could generate about 1,500 MW of electricity from this fuel source?

Sounds a bit like the putting lipstick on the proverbial pig to me, but how do TreeHugger readers feel about this one?

via: Cleantech, California Public Utilities Commission (press release)

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