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  • Energy After The Peak: Merger Of Coal And Refiners Replaces Conventional Oil [View article]
    Maninder Batra -

    My comment about the 30% improvement you claim still stands.

    The 30% improvement in output you mention is reasonable - its still important to understand a 30% improvement in a 1% efficient process raises it to 1.3% for example, and the value of anything is based on its overall contribution to wealth. So, these absolute numbers are more important than relative improvements,

    Your other comment about breakthroughs I find disturbing because knowing breakthroughs will eventually be made does nothing of a practical nature to make them! lol.

    Also, the breakthroughs themselves have their own operating characteristics and operating limits.

    A steam engine might make a train run faster than a horse drawn carriage, but the steam engine has its own set of limits. Ditto again when an airplane surpasses the performance of a train. The airplane has its own set of limits and operating characteristics - all of which must be known and appreciated in detail by engineering experts for there to be any possibility of advance. Sitting around and believing an advance will be made by someone else, cedes leadership to someone else, and is a recipe for decline if the impulse is widespread and universally accepted.

    Sep 29, 2012. 02:19 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy After The Peak: Merger Of Coal And Refiners Replaces Conventional Oil [View article]
    Maninder Batra - red tape is a real cost. taxes are a real cost. extraction and refining is a real cost. infrastructure is a real cost. risk of nationalization is a real cost.

    If folks were generally convinced they could produce 500 billion barrels of oil at less than $70 per barrel I'm certain they would find investors willing to take the risk.

    I don't know who's a disinfo agent. I have heard compelling arguments that Assange is a limited hangout operation by the CIA. It does play into the hands of the folks who bet on scarcity to have it generally accepted that production costs at Orinco exceed conventional fuel costs. The numbers you quote is confirmed. Its not the total cost however. The numbers quoted in the article do seem reasonable and $32 per barrel is less than the average conventional barrel today. So, yeah. haha - $8.57 for coal derived gasoline and diesel fuel is very low too! One thing is for sure, if only a tiny portion of the tens of trillions in banker bailouts went to develop Orinco or US coal reserves - oil would be vastly more plentiful and the price of a barrel of oil would be far less than it is today.
    Sep 29, 2012. 02:10 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy After The Peak: Merger Of Coal And Refiners Replaces Conventional Oil [View article]
    Caracas Chronicles had a long post about why the Orinoco Belt in Venezuela remains underdeveloped, stifling that country’s economic development.

    It’s a good read and gives a clear overview of why partnerships in the Orinoco have failed to pan out.

    The article quoted a cable from the Wikileaks collection which confirms that BP believes the $4. It gives clear evidence about production costs in the Orinoco.

    For years, PDVSA President Rafael Ramirez has said the cost is about $4, infuriating outside experts who said that the cost had to be much higher.

    In the cable Joe Perez, president of BP in Colombia and Venezuela, early in 2010, said

    current Faja productions costs, from well bore to tanker, amount to $4/barrel.

    That $4 price doesn’t include the cost of building the Orinoco’s extraction and refining units, which raise the real costs to $32 a barrel. It also doesn't include the cost of infrastructure to handle the volumes of tankers needed to support production efficiently. That's another $14 per barrel.

    Total price per barrel: $50.

    BP was also concerned about infrastructure costs to support these activities. For example, power supplies were insufficient and unstable. The cost of getting that infrastructure installed and so forth, could easily add another $20 per barrel - bringing the total to $70 per barrel.

    Then there's the whole notion of nationalization of the asset once its built.

    If projections are wrong about the $4 - it could go higher.

    Then of course you've got to remember these are the costs BEFORE TAXES - and the taxes can be substantial - increases costs by up to $50 per barrel.

    But it’s certainly interesting to have that $4 number confirmed.

    That whole cable is worth a read - according to the paper is starts with.

    E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/02/24 TAGS: SUBJECT: Venezuela: BP and Statoil Insights into the Carabobo Bid Round and Production Updates

    If you feel comfortable looking it up - I'm certainly not suggesting that since the US Military has classified Assange as an enemy and anyone communicating with him is guilty of treason.

    I'm just repeating what I saw in the paper.
    Sep 28, 2012. 07:35 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy After The Peak: Merger Of Coal And Refiners Replaces Conventional Oil [View article]
    Orinoco according to data I've seen has over 500 billion barrels that are technically recoverable, but only 87 billion barrels that are economically recoverable at current prices. So, I'd like to look at your $4 to $8 figure more closely, where it came from and so forth. I find that difficult to believe its the landed cost in the US, but if so, that's amazing!

    As far as Bergius is concerned I don't have any references handy that you could lay your hands on online. You can go to the Library of Congress and get the technical reports from the 1940s that stem from the Synthetic Fuels Act of 1944. They should still have them for review. You can't have copies, but you can bring a pad and pencil. So, be prepared to spend some time.

    These things have a habit of disappearing. Some friendly faces at Texaco's plant in California gave me some books from their technical library when I visited there following Texaco's merger with Chevron. Anyway, I sent them back home via FedEx rather than carry them on the plane. Its one of the few times FedEx has actually lost track of a package.

    If you should find something online that looks at US costs for commercial scale plants based on actual experience let me know. A lot of interesting stuff was published in the 1970s, but they uniformly understate results and overstate the difficulties compared to the 1940s and our own research done in 2003 through 2005.

    I have some internal studies Accenture did for me starting in 2003 and proceeding through 2005, with firm price quotes from qualified vendors.

    Those are proprietary to me, but I will say they estimated optimal size to be 200,000 bpd to 280,000 bpd and at that scale cost was $8.57 per barrel from US coal sources built in the USA using US labor under US environmental law operating at that time. CAPEX was $4.74 billion range and coal was $28 per ton.

    When we got quotes from qualified coal producers for a 20 year contract for coal, we were told once this goes through it will be the largest purchase of coal in US history. That was our first plant!

    We also realized, the best way to buy coal is to buy a coal company that has reserves in production rather than go to market as we add capacity.

    To understand real figures for Bergius, in the USA you have to wind the clock back to the 1940s.

    In 1949 a formal report indicated the cost of fuels made from the Bergius process was 1.6 cents per gallon before taxes. That's 12.6 cents per gallon in 2005 dollars. Which was comparable to what our vendors gave us (20.4 cents per gallon average).

    The increases were due to higher costs arising from supply chain inefficiencies in 2005 relative to 1949, and environmental and regulatory costs which didn't exist in 1949 but did in 2005.

    West Virginia is a coal producing state. When oil prices shot up during the war, congressman Jennings Randolph made aviation fuel from West Virginia coal and flew from Morgantown to Washington DC in a synthetic fuel-powered airplane!

    By April 5, 1944 the Synthetic Fuels Act was passed. The Act called for the construction of demonstration plants and the publication of technical data that would help industry determine the feasibility of coal liquefaction.

    That data is the best available - and most honest in my opinion - about the Bergius process since it was based on a number of commercial scale plants using both direct and indirect methods of hydrogenation of coal and done at a time when the oil majors had not penetrated energy research community to the degree that had by the 1970s.

    The first research team was assembled at Bruceton, PA, near Pittsburgh.

    Congress and the Truman White House offered U.S. oilmen subsidies to guarantee profits until the technology matured. The oil companies refused to cooperate with the administration's vision, saying the technology was unproven and the quality of the products unknown.

    Many in the White House and Congress at the time felt that the oil companies were dragging their feet because they didn't want to reduce the value of their oil reserves by bringing coal online in competition with it.

    The Bureau of Mines unable to find an oil company interested in taking charge of the project transferred the operation to the Army's synthetic ammonia plant in Louisiana Missouri and proceeded to convert that plant to the production of fuel using the Bergius process. They selected the Bergius process because of the superior quality of the fuel liquids when compared to Fischer Tropsch, and the relative insensitivity to coal input, when compared to Fischer Tropsch, and the lower costs catalysts compared to Fischer Tropsch. All these combined it was felt would produce a lower cost system.

    Bechtel Corporation was contracted to convert the ammonia plant into demonstration coal to oil plant using lignite from North Dakota to make diesel fuel and gasoline. The diesel fuel powered the train serving the facility and was indistinguishable from conventional diesel by the methods of the day. The gasoline was fleet tested and found to be equivalent to conventional gasoline as well.

    In August 1949, the Bureau's synfuels experts issued a report that concluded gasoline could be made from coal for 1.6 cents per gallon in a 40,000 bpd facility costing $120 million.

    In 1948 the United States that year imported more crude oil than it exported for the first time in history.
    Sep 28, 2012. 03:04 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy After The Peak: Merger Of Coal And Refiners Replaces Conventional Oil [View article]
    Maninder Batra - this is an important video Marc Ferber produced back in 2010. What he said then applies today. The cost of a new barrel of oil from new wells is $70 per barrel. The cost of a barrel of oil from coal using the Fischer Tropsch process ranges from $60 to $70 per barrel. The cost of a barrel of oil from the Bergius process ranges from $8 to $24 per barrel depending primarily on rank of coal used.

    http://bit.ly/SozoWi
    Sep 27, 2012. 11:24 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy After The Peak: Merger Of Coal And Refiners Replaces Conventional Oil [View article]
    Maninder Batra - I have studies completed by two world class industrial companies that indicate my approach to concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar cells produces DC electricity when the sun shines at $0.05 to $0.07 per peak watt.

    Boeing Spectrolab
    http://bit.ly/NTDMM7

    CH2MHill
    http://bit.ly/PsTET8

    Now, direct use of DC to produce hydrogen by electrolysis is made to occur within the water filled lenses described in my patent on the subject.

    http://bit.ly/RUdziS

    Alright, so, a kilowatt installed with all balance of system costs has a price of $50 to $80. With a 30 year lifespan (GE and BASF have warranted 50 years) this is $1.67 to $2.67 per year. Apply a 3.5% discount rate to the capital over this period this rises to $2.72 to $4.35 per year. Adding 4% maintenance and operating costs this raises the total to $4.72 to $7.55 per year for a kilowatt of capacity.

    In a location that receives 1400 hours per year of sunlight this kilowatt produces 1400 kWh. This is sufficient to produce 30.21 kg of hydrogen and 241.69 kg of oxygen from 271.90 liters of water.

    Dividing the last cost figures by 30.21 kg of hydrogen and ignoring the value of the oxygen, we have $0.15624 to $0.24991 per kg cost. This ranges from $156.24 to $249.91 per per tonne.

    With gathering, storage for up to 90 days, retrieval and transmission costs, $300.00 per metric ton costs from qualified vendors for completed solar-assisted Bergius systems.
    Sep 27, 2012. 02:36 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy After The Peak: Merger Of Coal And Refiners Replaces Conventional Oil [View article]
    Maninder Batra - yes, any source of carbon may be reduced to a hydrocarbon in a hydrogen atmosphere at high temperatures and pressures. Organics tend to produce more waxes than coal, but those waxes can be quite valued.
    Sep 27, 2012. 12:58 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy After The Peak: Merger Of Coal And Refiners Replaces Conventional Oil [View article]
    Maninder Batra: There is a fundamental limit to the efficiency of photosynthesis. Off hand I don't recall what that is. Please note what you said - a 30% improvement in present efficiency. So, if 15% of the sunlight is converted to sugars or oils, then a 30% raises that to 19.5% efficiency. haha - a 30% improvement of a small number is still a small number. By comparison, we have attained over 55% efficiency in making hydrogen from sunlight using multi-spectral PV cells, which are quite different than chlorophyll. We have attained slope efficiencies of 80% for sun pumped thin disk lasers. That's because these use fundamentally different processes that separate out the solar spectrum and efficiently make use of each piece - as described in my patent

    http://bit.ly/SEoHQR

    See Fig 17, Sheet 11.

    This doesn't leave cyanobacteria out of the loop, all it means is that to be competitive operating cyanobacteria farms must be 1/5th the cost of operating these other solar panel types to be competitive. That's quite possible in many instances.

    You are right about the potential to improve this figure despite the fundamental limits of present photosynthesis. We have at hand nano-technology that replicates the innovations of my patents, but with molecular machinery - based loosely on photosynthesis, but operating at different wavelengths - which has the potential to break the barriers of present living systems. Whether these are considered living systems or machine systems is really a matter of taste. lol.
    Sep 27, 2012. 12:57 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy After The Peak: Merger Of Coal And Refiners Replaces Conventional Oil [View article]
    Stickmanwithahaircut - I don't know why you insist on pointless personal attacks! lol. As I said, this is taken out of the Delphi Technique handbook! haha - if you can't win the argument, attack the author!

    What's my residence in New Zealand have to do with anything? My daughter and my second wife are Swiss, and they live in Bern. As a consequence I'm a resident of Switzerland though I'm born in the US of A. When I visited Christchurch a few months back I got caught up in the February earthquakes, as a consequence I'm helping with the rebuild here and doing some tech transfer of energy technology and other technologies here that can be of benefit. I'm working toward my residency here. I'm still a citizen in good standing in the USA. I still do business in the USA and follow things closely there.

    Your comment about the US subsidizing Europe is a laugh. The world subsidizes the USA's life style. George Bush, who was low in the polls prior to 9/11 as any politician likely would have, exploited events for personal political gain. People rallied around their President in times of crisis. Bush accentuated the threat to his benefit. Clinton by contrast following the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 down played it. Now this had unintended consequences after 9/11. $7.2 trillion in foreign capital fled the USA - which precipitated the liquidity crisis in the banking system. This spread from the USA to Europe, since a lot of bets were made on the health of the US financial system in Europe. Both the US and Europe are trying to keep things propped up at the moment. Some are looking for exploits as some do. No one has a real solution. So, your attacks on Europe like your attacks on me are misplaced.

    Your other comments might have merit. I don't know, they're fragmentary statements at best, and need a little more explanation to make any sense to me and I'm sure others reading them have the same reaction. So maybe you could rephrase a few things focusing on the elements of what factual things you want to impart.
    Sep 26, 2012. 09:14 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy After The Peak: Merger Of Coal And Refiners Replaces Conventional Oil [View article]
    Maninder Batra - here's some stuff that Argonne National Lab is doing...

    http://1.usa.gov/RfnRYp

    My numbers were a little optimistic for the pool sizes, but this is vastly better than taking croplands and using corn to make biofuels.

    A version of this technology could also make food vastly more efficiently than crops as well.

    So a mature version of this technology might be made to provide both food and fuel on less land than we use today just to grow food.

    We'll still eat animals that eat these products, and grow specialty crops for flavoring and special nutrition needs, but the main energy could conceivably come entirely from this source while vastly reducing our footprint on the biosphere.
    Sep 25, 2012. 03:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy After The Peak: Merger Of Coal And Refiners Replaces Conventional Oil [View article]
    Maninder Batra - that makes sense. It must be genetically modified to have a photosynthetic component to make use of sunlight.

    According to what I've seen chlorella has about 27 GJ/tonne and about 5,000 tonnes per year per hectare can be harvested under ideal conditions.

    CO2 infused water grows them pretty efficiently.

    That's 135,000 GJ of stored energy per hectare per year. Or 135 MJ per square meter per year.

    Now in a location with 1400 hours of sunlight per year this represents 26.8 Watts/m2 with an average illumination level of 156.7 Watts/m2. An efficiency of 16.8%.

    Let's say 80% of the biomass can be used as fuel, and that its used in a thermal generator that's 40% efficient. Overall efficiency then is 5.4% or 8.57 watts/m2.

    So, a 500 MW power plant would require 58.34 square km of ponds along with an associated processing plant.

    If anyone has ever farmed for a living they know how difficult it can be to maintain a crop of living things. I'm not as familiar with the details of this process as with the chemical processes, but it certainly has merit at first glance - so its a worthy effort.

    Ponds have a construction cost of $12,500 per hectare - about $1.25 per square meter. For this application I can imagine it might cost double this figure and then there's the processing plant - and whatever inputs besides CO2 - which can likely be gotten from the power plant. The ponds would cost $145.9 million - for a 500 MW plant - and an equivalent cost for the processing station wouldn't seem unreasonable. The system once in place would likely be expanded at low cost to add synfuel production to it for vehicles.

    Now let's put this in perspective. 500 MW is sufficient to support a city of 255,000 people decently. The same number of people require 520 sq km of crop lands by comparison - don't have the numbers for water consumption and so forth for either the cropland or the ponds - so, I don't know how it competes with that. But this gives the scale of the technology which is definitely doable.

    In comparison solar panel technology I am familiar with is being worked on by 25 companies that specialize in concentrating photovoltaic cells. The advantage of a concentrator is that it reduces the cost of the expensive PV part. The challenge is to keep the cost of optics lows.

    There is a version of this technology developed at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden Colo., and elsewhere, that produces hydrogen by direct high temperature electrolysis with fairly high efficiency.

    The conversion efficiency of a multi-junction cell that operates at 5,000x solar intensity, is 55% overall. About 7.1 sq km of these type of solar panels are needed.

    The design described here

    http://bit.ly/RUdziS

    and a less efficient version here

    http://bit.ly/QBZgKI

    The system I'm most familiar with costs $9 per square meter installed including rain gathering and gas gathering systems in quantity.

    So, this would cost $63.9 million to produce the amount of hydrogen fuel needed by the 500 MW thermal plant.

    The hydrogen is combined with oxygen to create steam which is used directly at the same efficiency as for the ponds above.

    Of course, if the hydrogen is used in a fuel cell, the efficiencies can double, reducing these collector costs by half. This is also true of hydrogen producing bacteria.

    As long as the fuel cell costs don't increase the cost of generation by more than the savings in solar panel costs or solar pond costs, that's a possibility. The water needs are well defined for the panels. 9x the mass of hydrogen produced. This amounts to 1.8 cm of rainfall on each square meter of collector over a year's time.

    So the panels appear to be a water source, not a water sink. Ponds in drier areas may have to be covered to reduce evaporation and managed to keep heating within specific ranges, which raises costs further. Its not clear how much of a water sink ponds will be and how that will compete with agriculture. Its likely not to be a problem in some areas, and a significant problem in others.

    For 255,000 people

    Farming: 520 sq km

    500 MW electrical -
    Ponds: 58 sq km.

    500 MW electrical -
    Solar Panels - 7.1 sq km.
    Sep 25, 2012. 09:27 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy After The Peak: Merger Of Coal And Refiners Replaces Conventional Oil [View article]
    Maninder, I would like to see the numbers on that and where they're getting their savings. It sounds like they're off-loading their refinery costs and just counting the liquid volumes prior to that. Also, are they restricting themselves to special source coals? Sulfur is bad news for FT. Even so, these costs show that coal is being suppressed. In my discussions with folks at BP, Exxon, Chevron, I was told by board members that this technology is premature. They were well aware of the Westinghouse and BNL studies done for JFK, and they were planning using GEN IV reactors to make hydrogen to convert coal to oil - AFTER 2040. That would give the greatest value to their shareholders over time. Doing the conversion too soon, leaves too much value in the ground.

    Look at it this way.

    What percentage of today's production would stop if oil were available from coal at $30 per barrel? At $10? At $2?

    The lower the price, the greater the reduction in economically recoverable reserves and the greater the write down in value and the greater the write off of sunk costs.

    They're looking at $400 per barrel in 2040.

    I pointed out that the value of the dollar depends on the cost of energy and its availability. So, the models they were using (people don't make these sorts of long-range plans, algos do) were flawed in that they were maximizing a number that the algorithm was undermining.

    When I said that in 2005 they laughed.

    I don't think they're laughing today - but they likely forgot my warning in the interim. lol.

    This creates a HUGE opportunity to basically take over the energy industry in a few years.
    Sep 24, 2012. 03:48 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy After The Peak: Merger Of Coal And Refiners Replaces Conventional Oil [View article]
    Maninder Batra - experience with fracking is that fractures inevitably reclose and the structure must be fracked again. Yields fall off in surprising ways. This always leads to over investment early on and a bubble later. We've gone through these manai's before. I think the way the majors have allocated their resources tell the story.

    Regarding Bergius costs. Costs vary with a number of factors not the least of which is cost of primary input - coal.

    Yet, if done rightly prices can be as low as $9 per barrel, and drop in the USA to as low as $2 per barrel. More below...

    The Shenhua coal company has built a 10,000 bpd production train in Mongolia in 2006 that uses coal. They have yet to report officially on the cost. I've seen some informal studies that are not in general circulation in the West.

    http://bit.ly/QQgG72

    While John Wiley printed their book 50 years ago, the most recent coal conversion experience is in Mongolia.

    The numbers can be summarized as follows;

    Crude oil products are 15.8% by weight hydrogen and 84.2% by weight carbon.

    After freeze drying to remove moisture, and heating in a low pressure hydrogen atmosphere to remove volatile liquids, pollutants and oxides, and convert the organic carbon to more pure carbon form. After these two steps, the last involving a hydrogen atmosphere pyrolysis, the remaining material is 91.8% carbon, 9.2% clays.

    About 65% of the carbon ends up in fuel liquids. 30% of the carbon drives the process. 5% ends up in asphaltenes and tars - mixed with the clay.

    So a tonne of carbon requires 1,089.3 kg of reduced material which produces 812.9 kg of fuel liquids, and 154.6 kg of asphalt. 900 kg of water is consumed along with the balance of the carbon to make the hydrogen needed to supply and power the process.

    Depending on rank moisture can range from 36.8% in lignite down to 4.4% in Anthracite. This means the input ranges from 1,149.5 kg of coal to 1,696.7 kg of coal depending on rank.

    The water is retained and used in a shift reactor to produce hydrogen. Generally this is less than half the water needed. The shortfall must be supplied from external sources.

    Desireable light hydrocarbons from by thermal cracking and hydrogen saturation. This occurs in one process unit called the direct hydrogenation unit. The main reaction takes place in the Liquid Phase Reactors. Here a bubble column flow is established. This ensures maximum mixing to achieve high conversion of 95% of the carbon. Typical reaction parameters are 450 - 490 °C (840 - 910 °F) and 200 - 300 bar (3,000 - 4,500 psi). Further treatment of the LPH products takes place in the integrated Gas Phase Reactors where the light hydrocarbon products of the Liquid Phase Reactors are put in contact with a fixed bed catalyst to derive marketable liquid products. Unconverted product of the Liquid Phase Reactors are separated prior to the Gas Phase section in the High Pressure Hot Separator and are recycled.

    About half the carbon in the system is converted to marketable liquids per pass. An eight of the carbon are heavy liquids of which 7% total carbon is recycled, 5% are tars and asphaltenes, that part that doesn't get converted to hydrocarbons which are mixed with the clay and made into salable solids. Another three-eighths of the carbon are hydrocarbon gases and a portion of this is used with steam to make hydrogen in a water splitting process, and the balance is recycled along with hydrogen.

    So from 1.2 tons to 1.5 tons of coal depending on rank gets converted into 6.0 barrels of marketable liquids. At a cost of $30 per ton for the coal, and $17,500 CAPEX for each barrel per day productive capacity, along with 4% maintenance and operating cost per year and China pays 2.5% for capital and can finance it over 40 year useful life. - we have for a 200,000 b/d facility

    $3.5 billion - CAPEX

    $381,730 per day cost of capital
    $383,300 per day maintenance/operating
    $1,000,000 per day coal cost

    This is $8.82 per barrel - not counting the value of the asphalt.

    A total of 3,870 tonnes per day of asphalt are made. This is an important details since it turns an important cost center into a profit center. At a value of $180 per tonne this subtracts $696,600 per day from the total cost. This reduces the cost of a barrel of marketable liquids to $5.34 per barrel.

    Not mentioned is that direct hydrogenation is an exothermic process that occurs at a higher temperature and pressure than a steam boiler at a power plant. So, this 200,000 b/d plant produces enough heat to drive a 900 MW boiler! Selling this steam at $0.03 per kWh generates another $648,000 per day. Subtracting this from the total above reduces the cost of crude to $2.10 per barrel!

    Now its important to realize that the total carbon footprint is no greater than that of a 900 MW power plant. There is 27,000 tonnes per day of carbon running through the plant, but 3/4 of it comes back out in the form of marketable hydrocarbons. We're just recovering the waste heat. we're also gasifying the coal, and removing all the bad stuff in it, fixing them in the clay, so, the quality of these emissions are improved. Of course the CO2 can be made with a pure oxygen atmosphere, and easily gathered and passed through chlorella ponds to convert to useful biomass. The cost of all this adds another $1.2 billion to the CAPEX - but if we're using an existing plant - this cost is reduced - and the difference added to the cost per kWh - not the fuel.

    Finally, by locating the Bergius plant in a coal fired power plant, replacing the boiler section, it is sited and approved under the Clean Coal Act.

    Creating hydrogen cheaply from solar panels that take the rain water that falls on them and uses the sunlight to convert that water to hydrogen and oxygen - eliminates carbon emissions and maintains low costs. The cost is covered by the increased yield obtained by recapturing the 30% carbon used for the shift reaction - increasing output to 6.8 barrels per ton of coal.
    Sep 24, 2012. 03:34 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy After The Peak: Merger Of Coal And Refiners Replaces Conventional Oil [View article]
    The biosphere has been processing CO2 for as long as it has existed. During the Phanerozoic (the last 542 million years) CO2 levels were over 10x higher than they are today (400 ppm today versus 4,000 ppmv 500 million years ago). It seems perfectly rational that we could arrange the efficient removal of CO2 from the air by biological means. I always thought we could extend growing regions by capturing exhausts, removing the poisons and reducing those to useful elements, and release those exhausts over a large area - irrigating with CO2 - to both warm and enrich the air so that plants would fix the CO2 efficiently. George's idea of using special populations of cells to achieve that end in well defined ponds seems like a superior method.

    In the 1950s we produced 2 tons of food per acre. With Chlorella we can produce 2,000 tons of food per acre. We can feed these to animals and even process the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and other food material to be palatable for human consumption, or even fuels.
    Sep 24, 2012. 01:52 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy After The Peak: Merger Of Coal And Refiners Replaces Conventional Oil [View article]
    Stickmanwithahaircut is attempting to maintain an interesting narrative. Unfortunately he appears confused on a few points.

    10 million extra barrels of gasoline

    In 2010 the world consumed 86.9 million bpd of crude oil. Now out of each 42 gallon barrel of crude there are 45 barrels of products made. That's because barrels measure volume, not mass, and when things are mixed together they don't always take up the same volume as when they're separate. Take a cup of salt and add it to three cups of water. You won't get four cups of salt water. You'll get less. Boil away the water capture it, and you'll get four cups again. Same with the oil fractions.

    Now, of the 45 gallons of oil products coming out of the 42 gallon barrel of crude, 19 gallons is gasoline. So, that 86.9 million barrels per day produces 37.8 million bpd of gasoline.

    So, 10 million bpd of gasoline represents an 11% increase in total petroleum production and 26.5% increase in gasoline production.

    Obviously increases far smaller than this would have dramatic impact on prices. Lower prices would also have a positive impact increasing demand as well as leaving more dollars in people's pockets to buy other things than petrol.

    80% of Governments oil wells aren't even producing.

    The US consumes 6.8 billion barrels and produces 1.8 billion barrels. That means it must import 5.0 billion barrels from somewhere. 14% of this came from Alaska. 3% came from wells licensed on Federal lands. This is 0.25 billion and 0.05 billion barrels per year respectively. Assuming the comment about 80% of government wells not producing is accurate, and I'd like to see some references to support that comment, we're talking at most increasing domestic oil output from 1.8 billion to 2.0 billion, while demand is 6.8 billion. In short, even if the comment about 80% of government oil wells is accurate - which is at present unsupported by any references - the situation doesn't change for the USA.

    huge lake beds of coal filled with diesel fuel...

    haha - this is so bizarre as to be laughable.

    The quotation from Britannica is misleading and inaccurate on several points.

    Now, I remember in 1988 seeing a photo of the Space Shuttle with a description stating that it weighed 2 million tons. lol. Since my background is aerospace, I knew this to be wrong. It was shocking to see such an error. I never felt about Britannica the same. You shouldn't trust them either. The rule is clear, always check things out.

    Bergius says himself in his own lecture which is posted at the Nobel Site, that he began work in 1911. This was well before World War 1 which began in the summer of 1914. So, World War 1 had nothing to do with Bergius' original work. Though like all people alive at that time, Bergius was no doubt caught up in the catastrophe as it developed.

    A more accurate description regardless of source would either explain that the oil was extracted from the heavy fractions made from coal originally and recycled with fresh coal dust to create a paste for easy handling and pressurization of the coal using a piston setup.

    Alternatively I would change the word 'dissolving' to something more appropriate like 'mixing' - and make it clear that both products come from coal, while omitting the erroneous reference to World War One entirely.

    You don't have to take my word for it, or Britannica's word for it either. You can get it right from the horse's mouth.

    http://bit.ly/OOprwk

    Other than those quibbles, the rest of the statement about the Bergius process is accurate about the temperatures and pressures used.

    haha - nowhere are there lakes of diesel fuel used for dissolving coal. They're not needed and as far as I can tell, are a total fiction in the mind of Stickmanwithahaircut. Why he insists in describing events in a way that suggests these exist only he can say. Perhaps if he read the technical literature and not his Britannica that might clear up a few things.
    Sep 24, 2012. 06:07 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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