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Why doesnt US supplant oil with coal?

#1
The US has the world's largest coal reserves and is the second largest producer (after China). Apparently making fuel from coal rather than oil becomes cost-effective when oil is around $35 per barrel, and the technology has been around since WW1 (and improved in WW2). So if Mr Bush want's to reduce dependence on ME oil, he knows what to do. An aggressive coal-to-fuel programme combined with bio-fuels could potentially supplant all US oil imports within a decade or two.
 
#2
we can do it in the UK too , we have hundreds of years of reserve, only thing needed is political will
 
#3
I think Bush's talk yesterday was just that TALK. Pure Bull for the yankee masses.
The true cost of oil is never known, I asked before when oil is $60 a barrell is that $60 to the producer, the oil company, the middle man or the end user.
ExxonMobile announced record profits of 100 Billon this week and Halliburton went from Nowhere to sixth largest supplier to US Defence department last year.
Coal if cleaned and pulvrized it is efficent fuel for power stations and as you say, if Germany could make petroleum products 60 years ago just what could be done with modern technology?
Talking the talk is cheap but doing the biz is another.
It will take a World Class leader to kick industry into the next generation and he does not seem to be on the current world seance.
john
Or is it just all just camo for the move back to Nuc power which must happen.
 
#4
think Bush's talk yesterday was just that TALK. Pure Bull for the yankee masses.
The true cost of oil is never known, I asked before when oil is $60 a barrell is that $60 to the producer, the oil company, the middle man or the end user.
ExxonMobile announced record profits of 100 Billon this week and Halliburton went from Nowhere to sixth largest supplier to US Defence department last year.
Coal if cleaned and pulvrized it is efficent fuel for power stations and as you say, if Germany could make petroleum products 60 years ago just what could be done with modern technology?
Talking the talk is cheap but doing the biz is another.
It will take a World Class leader to kick industry into the next generation and he does not seem to be on the current world seance.
john
Or is it just all just camo for the move back to Nuc power which must happen.
Your too negative jonwilly.

I think there is a realization that it has to be done. If Bush won't do it . The dems will . The environmentist are not too happy about coal, Nuclear or shale oil which is estimated that the US has 2 trillion barrels of reserves. It is a question of political will. If those oil companies invest their profits in different forms of energy production that would be good for everyone.


http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.09/china.html
 
#5
No I think I am a realist.
The more I thnk the more I am convinncied that the US and UK must go nuclear and our Tone (The utimate Bilge Rat) and now Your King George (Pinnochio) are doing the spade work to prepare the People for the already taken decision.
john
I saw a 'Discovery Channel' program on Canada's shale oil extraction. Very complex the drawing oil out of the ground but it must and will be used depending on the cost of conventional OIL Power.
 
#7
Newsnight did a feature on this this evening, jonwilly - they visited a plant where they're turning coal into transportation fuel.

I seem to recall that one of the Neo-con thinkers posited the idea that the US should move away from oil so as to avoid having to be so bothered about the Middle East shortly after Dubya declared major combat operations were at an end. This didn't seem to be followed up, but I wonder if Bush 43 noticed and has spent the last 2.5 years squaring things away with the oil companies. While I frequently disagree with Neo-Con's analysis (but have not, as I recall, joined in the debate with him so far) , I think he may be on to something here.

That said, I don't see how nuclear can be ruled out of the equation, particularly in the UK. All that's required are a stream of stories about how we'll be limited to eight hours electricity per household per day and how anyone earning less than £30K per year will find it impossible to pay energy bills and a nation that panic buys petrol when a tractor is reported being sighted within a mile of an oil refinery will buy into the nuclear argument. If Blair/Brown/Cameron get the Sun and a couple of the other tabloids on board, the case will be all-but made.
 
#9
One of the men I usually have an evening drink with is a Civil Engineer of world standing. Now retired he is frequently asked to survey new works for the buyer and so pass informed comment on what the seller has on offer. If you have been to Hong Kong or Bangkok of late then you have traveled on his works.
Long ago he was a Senior Engineer for the Hong Kong Government and they required a long term study for the future energy requirements of the colony.
This was long before Maggei's slipped on the flight of stairs, convinnced Mainland China that Britians term in the Oreint was over.
A brief to study power requirment over next hundred years and no options where left out. They studied every thing and the final conclusion was despite all the know Problems only Nuclear Power could do the job. Hong Kong had one ultimate problem that its water had to come from the mainand. Pure water extracted from sea water was only solution to any future blackmail attempts by cutting off /reduceing flow of water supply. A Massive consistant supply of electrical power is needed for this.
UK Europe is now in similar position over supply of Natural gas from our Comrads of Brotherly Luv, so Britain Europe must go NUCLEAR.
john
 
#10
I wanted to post this chart so you could see how cheap oil has been over the last 35 years and it was much cheaper before that.
Most of the time it has been below 30 dollars per barrel. Rises would coincide with some oil shock of some sort. In 1999 oil was at 10 dollars a barrel. Investments in shale oil were made in the 80's but were wipe out when the price of oil dropped.


The difference this time is the rising standard of living of China and India, means that even when this crisis passes their continued demand keeps the price of oil above the 30- 40 dollar a barrel threshold that makes other forms of energy competitive. If the Chinese and Indian markets for oil collapse that could be trouble for alternate sources of energy in the mid-term outlook.


http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/chron.html


Nuclear is a great source of energy but because so much energy is used, any one source of energy is going to produce its own set of future problems. It would be nice to look at several different technologies to supply energy. At least for the US those that we have local supplies of ,Nuclear beng a importain one. The irony is that as alternatives are developed the price of oil may decline.
 
#11
Your Main source of power must be capable of providing for the bulk of the daily required output and be capable of immediately providing extra power to cover all contangancies.
The alternative Green sources are not capable of sustained high power or are able to respond quickly if at all to the demand for instanataious increse for what ever reason.
Oil has had it's day as top player, gas will have its time. Both will be around when I am in my grave.
The old 'Seven Sisters' will learn to change their ways, and Shell makes big play of its ideas for the future on World Wide TV stations.
Fusion is the ultimate goal hence the Frog demanding the lead role in Europe.
Mandkind is too cleaver a beast to allow minor transitions to impeade his progress.
Solutions will be found but the immediate future is Nuclear in it's present imperfect form.
john
 
#12
I've been wondering the last few years whatever happened to Thermal Depolymerisation. I read articles about the plant in Carthage, MO starting up a few years ago, since then, not much. The above article quotes a price of $15 a barrel for oil--and the claim in the article is that is expensive. Even when the article was written, that was pretty cheap, I thought. If TDP could get started seriously, I'd think we'd see a drastic lowering of oil prices. Since I haven't seen much on it however, perhaps it isn't as profitable as one would think?
 
#13
Bush is an oil man
On his second term and thus will be unemployed in a not to distant period of time.
I suspect that he will manufacture a case for federal funding of research and development in the US oil industry.
That way he can put in place massive chunks of taxpayers money to make him and his chums ignificantly more wealthy when he retires from public office.
No mention of really cutting consumption, only of finding more US sources.
On the other hand he could simply be building an honest case for invading Iran.

Maybe I'm excessively cynical, but I dont think so....
 
#14
Unfortunately there is no apparent drive to actually make a decision in this country. The review being carried out at the moment is purely a delaying tactic, putting off the need to make a decision for another 18 months. The HSE is not adequately manned or funded to carry out this sort of investigation on top of their present workload and the information probably already exists at the Nuclear Safety Inspectorate and the NAO.

Meanwhile the Chinese are completing a coal-fired power station every three weeks...
 
#15
NEO_CON said:
I wanted to post this chart so you could see how cheap oil has been over the last 35 years and it was much cheaper before that.
Most of the time it has been below 30 dollars per barrel. Rises would coincide with some oil shock of some sort. In 1999 oil was at 10 dollars a barrel. Investments in shale oil were made in the 80's but were wipe out when the price of oil dropped.
Watch the price of oil crash as soon as real investments are made in coal-fuel and other oil substitutes.
 
#16
there is a far cheaper option than nuclear, synthetic oil, biofuels etc. etc. etc. all of which suck CAPEX and all of which pass through a cost to the end user.

it's should be obvious....

Use less...

energy efficient bulbs, turning off appilances rather than leaving them on standby (avoids a fire hazard too), filling a kettle with what you need rather than 'too the brim', closing doors and windows, Walking short distances rather than driving, homemade radiator wall reflectors (carbord sheet cut too size wraped in tinfoil and dropped behind exterior wall mounted radiators). These are relatively cost free or low cost mechanisms that produce immediate return to the 'end user'. and have a double whamy as they also reduce primary fuel demand thus reducing the retail cost of gas.

however it is not in the interest of goverment to reduce demand as tax revenues would also fall. that is why we are hearing about more capacity in supply rather than the more logical approach of efficiency of usage.
 
#17
They have a more or less friendly neighbour to their North called CANADA and they have oodles of oil sand and shale. At the moment, they are in the grip of a black gold rush (little town just north of Edmonton is the place to be. I read in one of the Calgary papers last Autumn that some guy was renting out his garage to oil workers to live in and was charging a mint). This stuff is economically viable to extract and they are happy to flog it to the Yanks.

In fact, Clinton last year on a visit to Calgary in September mentioned that, from his perspective, the US should become Canada's main oil buyer because of the volatility of ME oil.

Of course, using less would also be sensible!
 
#18
not sure why in this country we haven't harnessed wave and tidal generated systems the technology exists and being an island with many rivers there is no shortage of locations
 
#19
What about ethanol. Brazil has been using it for years. It 60% cheaper than oil although you need about 25% more per mile than petrol. It also enviromentally friendly and can be mixed with petrol to create to create cleaner petrol. Plus cars can run duel fuel with a bit of modification.
 
#20
minime33 said:
What about ethanol. Brazil has been using it for years. It 60% cheaper than oil although you need about 25% more per mile than petrol. It also enviromentally friendly and can be mixed with petrol to create to create cleaner petrol. Plus cars can run duel fuel with a bit of modification.

I read an article a few years back saying that Australia had had bad experience with their 20% ethanol mix. Apparently, ethanol eats away at the synthetic rubber lines and gaskets in cars. Oops. Anything higher than 10% mix seriously degrades engine life.
 

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