26 May 2009

Peak Oil: Meet Clear Coal

Update 11 June 09: A reader emailed to request contact information for Coal Sack Energy. It seems he has some investors who want to back the company but cannot find a way to invest. Is it possible that Barak Obama -- who promised to bankrupt the coal companies -- has decided to block all access to investing in new coal technology? Just kidding. More likely, the company listed below is playing hard to get, for reasons of its own. So be careful when you invest. Some things sound too good to be true because they aren't.Brian Westenhaus gives us a look at a promising new treatment for coal and other carbon sources, Clear Coal. This process claims to remove all mercury and almost all sulfur from the coal in the process of increasing the available energy.
The technology is claimed to make it possible to convert any type or grade of coal, including scrap coal, oil shale, tar sands, etc., into three basic by-products char, synthetic oil and gas - through one integrated process.

Greg Boyd, 47, is the more youthful leader of CoalSack Energy. Asked by Bob McCarty for a 60-second spiel to a prospect Boyd answers with some interesting numbers. “I’d say we have a patent on low-temperature carbonization which takes out 99.2 percent of the sulfur from a ton of coal,” Boyd explained. “The mercury is not even measurable. We’re raising the BTUs by upwards of 40 percent, averaging between 28 and 40 percent. With the same ton of coal, we’re producing the highest grade of light sweet crude oil which can be turned into Jet A fuel and that we’re getting about 7,000 cubic feet of gas.”

...Using a low temperature carbonization process, we are able to carefully control internal temperature ranges inside a roasting unit called a Coal Carbonization Module or CCM™ to vaporize the contaminate elements contained within coal. These vaporized elements are then transported to tanks using steam, whereupon they are condensed into their natural, uncontaminated forms. We are able to produce the nearly contaminate-free char, synthetic oil, and synthetic gasses that are sold to industrial markets, such as refined into Coke for steel production, used for electricity production, or refined into liquid fuels like gasoline, diesel, and Jet A. The carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide production is also converted into liquid fuel, and injected into the product stream where it is sold as a value-added product.

Those four products are interesting. The char is a clean burning smokeless boiler fuel, which can be used for electricity and heat production. The char may also be used in the production of steel and activated charcoal products including filters and carbon fiber. Char has a higher BTU range than coal, 12MBTU/lb – 14MBTU/lb, making it more valuable per ton. Utilities using char as a fuel source become carbon creditors, and could eliminate expensive flue gas scrubbing units. _NewEnergyandFuel
This is an intriguing promise. The process purportedly removes pollutants, incorporates all carbon -- including CO and CO2 -- into useful fuel, and turns low grade "junk coal" into high grade fuels and fuels precursors.

I would like to see how it works on bitumens and kerogens, as well as dried compacted biomass.

Despite what you may have heard from your peak oil friends, the energy game is just getting started. Only an incompetent political reich can thrust civilisation into abject energy scarcity -- "political peak oil".

Cross-posted in Al Fin Energy

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