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January 31, 2008


Charles Barton

Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle is another bone to the fossil fuels industries. It is as expensive as nuclear to build, far more expensive to operate, produces pollutant including enormous amounts of CO2, and thus may be shut down before it ever pays back the original investment.

Gary Reysa

I guess it could be a better plan than FutureGen, which seemed have a very long time table. But, I don't see anything that guarantees that there will be industry participation. What do they do if no one signs up to build the IGCC plants?

Good article on cleaning up coal:



Something a lot of people ignore, is that CO2 is a much bigger molecule than plain Carbon.

__Molar Weight of C: 12.01kg
Molar Weight of CO2: 44.01kg
Over 3.5x as big

This is why cars are able to spew out their own weight in CO2 every year.


This of course has storage implications as well.

According to MIT’s 2007 “Future of Coal” study, capturing and compressing just 60 percent of the carbon dioxide produced by U.S. coal-fired power plants would demand a new pipeline network big enough to move 20 million barrels of liquefied carbon dioxide each day from power plants to suitable sequestration sites (which depend on particular geology)—a volume equal to all the oil piped daily throughout the country. Sequestration sites would have to be honestly administered, closely monitored, and tightly sealed. Such demanding technical requirements led journalist Jeff Goodell to write that “the notion of coal as the solution to America’s energy problems is a technological fantasy” www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/506

Even if carbon capture was cheap, and compatible with all existing power plants, the cost of this infrastructure, (and the parasitic loads) required by it would be astronomical.


I've found that I can no longer credibly argue that CCS can/will be built. The skeptics who beleive it is just a distraction while the industry pursues business as usual have the better case.


What about using biochar as one of the methods of carbon sequestration? Using pyrolysis methods, biomass can be turned into electricity or liquid fuels with biochar as a co-product. Why not fertilize crop lands with biochar (and maybe some rock dust for trace minerals)? Whatever beliefs a person holds regarding the magnitude of greenhouse gas effects, most people would agree that restoring soil fertility is a good thing.


averagejoe: That is a good thing to do. I doubt the volume of CO2 reduction possible is big enough, but everybit helps. And its not like soil depletion isn't a big problem. I think I read the other day that at the rate we are using soil we have 40 years of soil left.


Agrichar is a massively important technology, and potentially could not only do much to restore the decline in soil fertility you note, especially on marginal lands, but whilst doing so could contribute a lot to feeding the extra 3 billion people likely in the next 50 years, and contribute towards liquid fuel supplies whilst solving the issue of carbon sequestration:

'That means turning unimproved soil into terra preta can store away more carbon than growing a tropical forest from scratch on the same piece of land, before you even start to make use of its enhanced fertility. Johannes Lehmann of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, has studied with Glaser and worked with Sombroek. He estimates that by the end of this century terra preta schemes, in combination with biofuel programmes, could store up to 9.5 billion tonnes of carbon a year — more than is emitted by all today's fossil-fuel use4.'


A transformational technology if ever there was one!

Lead Acid Battery

Nice work. I love reading your points!


I guess it could be a better plan than FutureGen, which seemed have a very long time table. But, I don't see anything that guarantees that there will be industry participation.


It is a bit of juggling game in the coal industry and coal prices from underground mines to ensure enough electricity and steel capacity worldwide while making sure the impact on the environment and people is minimal. www.coalportal.com


coal statistics would suggest the commodity isn't going anywhere. Coal reports show if we have to live with it, we may as well reduce the impact of coal and CCS seems to be the best solution found to date. Cherry www.coalportal.comWhile for some an ideal world would see no reliance on coal industry to produce electricity,

Furniture Stores Burbank

Glad you think this is better than the original idea. Any improvements are good!

Auto Lease Los Angeles

Why didn't FutureGen work?

Dentist Los Angeles

I am glad the DOE is getting involved with this.

Air Purifiers

Gary had a good point, what if no one signed up to help build these plants? Is there an update on this?

Therapist San Francisco

Was there a follow up to this article? I am wondering what the industry input in March 2008 was...

Reversing sensors

So the government won't help with as many of these costs since it's a different project? Isn't that bad?

SEO Services

I am glad you like this approach better, I hope it is doing better than FutureGen.

Core Drilling Machine

The article is well written..And thanks for sharing this with us..It created a lot of awareness..I think most of the people are not aware of this point..I am hoping for more post from you..

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Hope this is working out...

Microsoft Office 2010

The new President will have to embrace this exact plan if the United States is to avoid economic catastrophe.

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I guess it could be a better plan than FutureGen, which seemed have a very long time table. But, I don't see anything that guarantees that there will be industry participation.

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