All about gas, coal has lost it

It is all about gas. Coal has lost it, but it is a good distraction. Petroleum is a convenient price setter. Renewables are the future and the trick is to be to get the traditional utility models to take ownership. But what is the price?

World wide scholarly types have put forward a number of maps of energy analysis for, Japan and globally. Japan is topical because they are more likely to be a first tier part of Australia’s trade. 

The trade approaches call for model development for energy demand, costing, efficiency, and green house gas emission – We trust you noted that models needed included Greenhouse Gas emissions. Why? Because Japan for its energy security must consider its short and long selling trades on energy. Energy needs include considering an individual process basis including fuel cell technology, vehicle technology, internal electricity needs and the usage strata on all levels including regional or national levels with a multiplicity of competing energy processes.

That said, Japan is only one of our global partners with similar concerns. All must consider in their national interest what are some of the comparable energy pathways. Those pathways include: Coal importation, fuels used for electricity production, electricity use in either residential, commercial, and transportation sectors etc. In all these considerations the answers can change over time and some of the drivers will be the relevant technology needs, the gaps in sustainable delivery mechanisms to meet the demands and gaps in supply, and they must also consider the time frames needed to close each fuel supply type and substitute them.

Australia’s politics is sending up a big smoke screen – Coal is King. World prices and demand says something different something like ‘Coal is dead long live the Coal’ 
 We hear of ‘clean coal’ and then we hear it is a nonsense. What is certain is it becoming an undesirable fuel source. This is not saying unnecessary it is simply saying much less attractive on the world stage. Why, technology can now provide better fuel sources without the climate change consequences. So much so that at any price, coal is too expensive. Coal can be burnt, but needs processing to be useful for other purposes. The term embodied energy come to mind here. It means the amount of energy needed to convert may be higher than the value of the material compared to alternative process. Then there is gas! Gas can be used for its molecule – to make fertilizer for instance, to fuel your stove, boiler, it can be a by-product of another process such as syngas. Your waste can even be used to produce it. Gas can be processes or extracted to supply. But the choices are better, cleaner. Granted, not the best energy source, but far more sensible than relying on coal. Hence, the now is all about gas.

Then there is the markets that determine viability to produce. Despite what our Australian policy makers might be telling us – the truth is more than ‘real’, it more than to be affective it is about being effective. It is not good enough to be positioned well, you also need an effective agenda. Or, at least have you agenda smarter than the other guys. What is there to critique about our stance, now:

Carbon Tax – the UK, US Republicans are all active in thinking a Carbon Tax is good. It is a market mechanism that works. This flies in the face of Australia’s Environment Minister saying it does not – even though the evidence suggest Australia’s Carbon Emissions reduced 11% since the introduction of a carbon price. Even more perplexing is why the Australian government put forward to confuse carbon price and carbon tax. For instance in the legislation for clean energy was the term the Carbon Price. The ‘price’ included offsetting for a transition of industry to a low carbon future. In the repeal legislation is substituted the words Carbon Tax as meaning Carbon Price. The UK and US clearly think there is a difference between the two definitions.

An example of the critics is, on 9 July 2014, Lord Deben – a UK Tory and is noted from the Thatcher years to now as expert on the environment has issued a statement through the ABC saying the Abbott Government “appears to be more concerned with advancing its own short-term political interests” than dealing with global warming.

Also, on 7 July 2014, Solar Reserve chief executive Kevin Smith told the ABC’s Four Corners program the company had been deterred by a drift in policy and the planned scrapping of the carbon tax.

It was also concerned about the appointment of Dick Warburton, who doubts that carbon emissions are causing global warming, to lead a review of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target.

“That policy change pretty much took the life out of the renewable energy sector as far as large-scale projects for utility applications [are concerned],” Mr Smith said.

“Other markets around the world are advancing. Australia is going to get left behind.”

On Mr Warburton’s appointment, Mr Smith said: “Clearly that appointment was made because they want to move back towards conventional fuels, coal and oil.

“It’s pretty clear that the policy in Australia is now being centred around big coal. The coal industry clearly has rallied to move policy away from renewable energies because they view renewable energy as a threat and want to move back to convention coal.”

“Just think, these coal companies won’t be able to sell their coal overseas unless they get sequestration or offset commitments and the only way they can do that is if they have an ETS; they can’t pay for it unless they’ve got carbon credits.

“They’ve killed themselves. Coal is dying anyway, but they’ve killed themselves even quicker.

“The whole politics of climate change has regained a bit of ground.”

Then consider:

Palmer United Party’s commitment to keep part of the architecture of the carbon laws in place – the Renewable Energy Target, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Climate Change Authority – is a big win, and the reality is it’s driven by the market, ‘Newman’ says.

“That’s enough for now; we’ll regroup. We’ll get there.”

But do we really have to lose the ETS mechanism?

The suggestion Is then that the government cross benches are not happy:

This disaster started to unfold to vote for the ETS in 2009?

“A Victorian senator, Judith Troeth, a senior figure in the Liberal Party’s moderate faction, and a Queensland senator, Sue Boyce, crossed the floor to vote with Labor senators when the legislation was finally put to a vote,” reported the Sydney Morning Herald at the time.

Both these women are now gone. But maybe there are a few other senators willing to vote with their conscience.

It’s a time for bravery. There are Titanic shifts everywhere right in both the US and Australia and impressively they are from the conservative big end of town.

Last week was the think piece in the New York Times from the über-conservative Republican politician Hank Paulson, a former US Treasury Secretary, that ricocheted around the world.

It was based on a bipartisan report, Risky Business, that argued that global warming was no different to the global financial crisis and even more dangerous. And yet it was if the world was ploughing straight into a mountain, Paulson said.”

You might even note here – we are not talking technology, it is the passion of addressing the ‘real’ issues.

We wonder what would happen if you introduced the technology issues with wind-based electricity for water electrolysis for hydrogen production and the use of hydrogen in fuel cell vehicles, the use of biomass to produce biofuels for transportation. I bet the vested interests would do all they can to stop the innovation. Despite how short sighted it is to oppose.

To recap why we mentioned our agenda needs to be smarter. Consider this:

“LNG spot prices for Japan at 3-year low

TOKYO — Spot prices of liquefied natural gas for Japanese buyers have been hovering at the lowest level in about three years due to increased supplies and sluggish demand.

     Spot prices are about $11 per million British thermal units, about the same as immediately after the March 2011 earthquake in Japan. From February this year, the price has dropped about 40%.

     Supplies for Asia are increasing. An LNG project in Papua New Guinea, in which Exxon Mobil and JX Holdings have stakes, began production in May instead of the originally scheduled September or later. Now, more than 300,000 tons of LNG from Papua New Guinea flow into the spot market monthly. And shipments from Indonesia and Australia are also steady.

     In contrast, demand is not as strong. Ten Japanese power companies had 2.44 million tons of LNG inventories at the end of April, up 13% from a year earlier. With the temperature through May having been warmer than usual, these companies did not have to generate as much electricity as a year before.

     In South Korea, state-owned gas company Korea Gas piled up LNG inventories as the country restarted nuclear power plants. It is now asking such Japanese companies as Tokyo Gas and Chubu Electric Power to buy its excess.

(Nikkei)”

Danger Danger no doubt!

Fit for Purpose – assumptions in MSW and WtE

End to end solution for treating Metropolitan Sewage and Waste (MSW) is a hot topic, and very much in the fore of forums for 2013. So enthusiastic are the players it is very difficult to differentiate the fact from the ideals. Look and you will see a lot of justification and more than adequate presentation of the material. What is more difficult is to get a clear indication of the capability and improvements over current practices.

The culprit may be assumptions, and they are widely used under management scenarios. If we define assumptions as a statement that is assumed to be true and from which a conclusion can be drawn. It might even be that as we rely more on big data an omission from the assumption can lead us to ignore the obvious. Take this example statement – Our machine can undercut all other in terms of power costs. Then if we find published a number of a competitors, but necessarily the same technology, we can quote that number and assume ours as similar or superior. Yet, as was said it is not the same technology.

Recently a post was read and it said in the US, under US Average Levelized Cost for Plants in the Annual Energy Outlook 2009 and 2010 and 2011, a typical generator running on Biomass has net requirement for a price of 11 c kWh to break even. Then came an assumption from the author that as these tables have no values for Advanced Plasma Conversion it is assumed a value of  $0.044/kwh is the value that you add for comparison. The difficulty is the published number for biomass is taken from experience and certain modeling under a list of data sources. The advanced plasma conversion unit was then part of a hypothetical assessment according to mathematical values that commence with an assumption, and will be correct until proven wrong. The fatal flaw in this is that facts are with the biomass and its testing included load scenarios and importantly it has a generator (that thing that produces electromotive force – electricity) attached. What is obscure is whether the Advanced Plasma Conversion unit is connected to a generator, or whether it needs one. For an investor this is a matter of concern, and for a professional in the industry it says embarrassing!

Another major issue is the maturity of the solutions put forward for you to make a project decision.  At program level you can take liberties and shuffle as you need to, at a project level on time and on budget can be you nemesis if you make the wrong assumptions – as said earlier – assumptions are a management scenario. CO2Land org assumes four scenarios are possible for waste handling solutions. It can be put forward to consider: Business as Usual, Gasification, and Pyrolysis, Plasma conversion.

  1. Business as usual (BAU) is an option fast running out, and in areas of rapid urbanization and rapid growing economies the time has already arrived that it cannot continue, not just because of the carbon issues but because it is an economic cost. This does not discount the importance of carbon, but indicated that developing countries needs the resource recovery as much as it is in need to develop.
  2. Gasification is an effective incineration tool, and innovations are proving to be effective in optimizing syngas recovery and returning additional products from the process for agriculture and raw material recovery.
  3. Pyrolysis is also an incineration tool, albeit at higher temperatures with the added benefit of being able to produce syncrude and chars to order. The process needs to be well managed to avoid the possibility of producing dioxins.
  4. Plasma conversion has been around for some years and has chequed history as an incineration method. Two particular issues have dogged the traditional designs. High and constant power requirement, and not being able to control temperature and ionizing across the plasma bed. Considerable claims are being made of advances in the technology. Confidence is continuing to grow on the refinement of the equipment and a number of sites across the world are being implemented.

The Cost benefit of each scenario indicates:

  • Point one is clear – the high cost of resource recovery weighs heavily when the budget is restricted for an authority and they would promote BAU until an incentive was put forward.
  • Point two and three are relevant and in more recent times the marrying of the two according to need is seeing this technology develop into a useful cost effective solution and should be the method of choice in most instances for the next 7 to 8 years.  By this it is meant it is the best technology to implement for most scenarios now and into the future in that time frame and it useful life for many more.  It also has an advantage of being complimentary to most commercial activities, and the ability to be scalable as required.  The strong point potential is to return a number of waste materials, especially plastics to virgin materials.
  • Point four will be the technology of the future; it has the potential (ideal) and the hopeful expect an almost unending product potential from this technology. The next generation is expected to be approved and producible in around 5 years. The scale of the projects required to cover the capital costs is the biggest limiting factor for future projects.

In more detail is this information the current Waste to Energy scenario suggests the difficulty is with the techno-commercial format. That comparing apples with apples may not be possible. An example is given by 
William G. Acker (http://www.ackerandassociates.com) where he looked for Advanced Plasma Conversion tables in the U.S. Annual Energy Outlook 2009 and 2010 and 2011. In these tables there are no values for Advanced Plasma Conversion. So he then said he must assume that what was claimed by another company representative was a value added to the values. He himself then assessed the closest estimate to which the technology is closest to be the figure for Biomass. This is not his definitive position, all he asks is someone to provide a value to share that is more accurate. However, in the mean time we make the assumption it must be correct until refuted

Then CO2Land org decides to ask a question in a forum on Waste to Energy (WtE): “Excuse the confusion, a lot of justification and adequate presentation of the material is provided. What is not clear is the capability from the production of an energy source to the actual electromagnetic force. In other words: what are the source, type and cost of the generator machine? Or, is your Plasma machine also a generator of electrical power in its own right without the need for other equipment?  The response: Good question!  The discussion then centres on whether matters were assumed or simply relayed on what was actually said on the capacity and nothing more.  Being that capability was not addressed is not the domain of the engineers for not giving you correct info, or how confidential agreement might stop you providing information. It may well be a simple case of the enquirers having no idea on what to ask. They do not ask because it was not obvious or lost in techno-commercial format of the communications.

In the quest for comparing apples to apples, and ignoring that baseline quotes may be flawed. To compare the possible in WtE from our view (to which we will assume you will be at odd. Information supplied illustrated:

A hearth gasifier with a reciprocating low Btu engine and conventional generator can be leased in Australia with an operating cost of 8.2cents per kilowatt-hours, with a 25,000 hours maintenance requirement. These costs are worked assuming a 1MW net unit and economies of scale suggest lower costs for larger units. If I combine the capability of the unit with a pyrolysis retort and produce syncrude and biochar, the offset pricing suggest a decrease in generation capacity will result, but the operating costs will settle at around 5 cents a kWh. The number will vary according to the feedstock quality.

Very recently an indicative quote that asked for capacity to handle MSW with1750 kcal as feedstock and input 300 tonnes per day for using advanced plasma conversion. What would be the project cost? The answer came back in the order of  $6.5m plus the cost of shredder activity and generator sets required – that is the cost to add capability is not in the cost mix.  The difficulty now is the assumption that must be made in the numbers.

In another example of a project where the project is not only proposed, is financed (and currently on hold to commence), is again supplied by William G Acker, of the MSW Plasma Gasification Facility for St. Lucie, Florida. This facility would use 686 ton per day of MSW and would produce 22 MW Gross and 18 MW Net of electricity. The installed cost came to $190,000,000. Amortized the project over 30 years with the Levelized Capital Cost alone (no maintenance cost, no labor cost etc.) comes to $0.0922 per kWh. If we add labor and maintenance costs the total may be ‘assumed’ to be around $0.14 per kWh. Then we must consider the money made for taking the waste off the hands of communities, or business that are paying to, landfill it we then could subtract around $0.03 per kWh from the operating cost resulting in $0.11 per kWh.

This results in CO2Land org asking: Will the actual plasma price to generate electricity please stand!  So we know without assumption forming the core costing criteria a project cost is capable of producing electricity for approximately 11 Cents per kWh, and the example hearth gasifier somewhere from 4.4 to 11 cents per kWh. Albeit other examples might swing wildly towards higher costs depending on the operating and technology vintage.  That said there is no doubt that given time and R&D plasma conversion in whatever form will be the way forward. In other examples plasma systems are doing OK for the job required, but academia and those in the industry say it is some way off being perfected and as efficient as it should be.

If we go back to the influence of assumptions the problem for the industry is that laboratory results and mathematical equations don’t often become reality, as not everything is scalable. In the mean time it is “danger danger, Will Robertson” as borrowed from ‘lost in space’ which was entertaining series a little while back. We also need to be fully aware of the smoke and mirrors approach that do a wonderful job with customers who are not normally that knowledgeable.

Another factor of our times is that despite each supplier wanting to win each job, they are fighting for funds within an economy where funds requiring $50M or more are highly competitive. In these instances those projects where the technology is still to be proven it will take second place to those known to do the job.

Evidence of uncertainty in the accuracy of a useful lifecycle may lead you to consider that you might want to lease the plant, it could be a lower risk in these times. The more popular in these circumstances are suggested as those that offer an operational lease rather than a financial risk.

We trust that has covered off on the choices – if you feel too much assumption is made or if you know better – please show yourself!

encouraged to submit an EOI – but!

We have spoken with our contact, and we are encouraged to submit an EOI for the CRE Grants program. Given that everybody else is submitting EOI’s for Wind and Solar systems, we may be in with a good chance.  This is a response sent in after it was posted Closing 21 Feb – excluded, on February 13, 2013 by co2land

In fact three relevant responses came in and each had a story that you might be interested in:

Renewed Carbon – Have a BioHub design. They have a set of engineering firms in Newcastle ready to: Design the plant, Build the plant, Run the plant for 12 months, Take all the start-up risks, Sell the operating plant to the eventual owner.

All they need is about $12m !!!

They are working towards a pre-feasibility study to establish whether they are just dreaming (They believe such a study will a green-light the project). But the study will cost several hundred grand!

It is matter of hurdles (one at a time) and a simple process of: let’s get the money for the Pre-Feasibility Study and work from there.

Part of the reason for their enthusiasm is they are aware of working Pyrolysis plants in several places in Europe, as such they are confident the ‘Commercially Available’ constraint in the EOI closing 21 Feb 2013 should not be a problem.

With that said, I wonder if many are aware of the more sophisticated Veolia WASP project at Woodlawn, via Tarago in NSW. This project has been held up in NSW Planning approvals for some time now and as we have spoken to the engineers at the plant – it is a source of great frustration.

Then a more detailed retort from Peter and Kerry Davies of Real Power Systems (who have built their gasifier and Pyrolysis retort machine in Australia and demonstrated its commercial application in Australia) lament the issues they have had since showcasing the capabilities on the grounds of Parliament House in 2009). In this response they are responding not only the Closing 21 Feb story they are also referring to happenings in the prickly exchange between www.newmatilda.com  and City of Sydney Tri-generation project, and the general stonewalling they have encountered with their offering in the quest for a commercial outcome.  In direct quote:

“Thanks for the link, we just read through the three associated articles:

The attacks are coming from the green’s associates and heavily rely on BZE, a Melbourne University academics club who want Oz to go solar thermal immediately and trust that in doing so costs will fall and engineering problems overcome. This involves putting several thousand square km’s of solar arrays down in adjoining rural areas…

The core arguments against the renewable component of the plan centre on biogas, which is produced using anaerobic digestion and therefor predominately methane (85% CH4). We would consider these arguments to be largely valid although they don’t go far enough, the cost of efficient closed cycle anaerobic digesters is millions of $ per MWe of capacity and are prone to significant operational problems. In the EU it has been found engines running on biogas have difficulty meeting emission guidelines as some fuel is not burnt (escaped methane) and running excess oxygen to correct this then results in NoX emissions rather than CH4, there is a lot of work being done to overcome this limitation.

These arguments though are not valid at all for gasification whose output is “producer gas”  which has <1% methane and the fuel gas component is CO & H2, much cleaner in combustion and not subject to “methane leaks”. Gasification also is far more flexible in its feed stocks which can readily include waste paper with plastics contamination, and is easily topped up with solid fuels produced from plantations, crop residues or RDF pellets.

NoX  is easily managed in a properly engineered system running on producer gas since its formation is temperature and free oxygen dependent. Modern “lean burn” engine technologies combined with rapid exhaust cooling (via cogen) readily address the emission concerns. Direct combustion systems are more difficult, the critics seem to be confusing the two.

Trigen should be eminently suitable for Sydney so long as it genuinely includes absorption chiller technology for the building climate control required in warmer months. We don’t believe waste heat and inversion layers should necessarily be an issue so long as the trigen plant is not using fossil fuels or high methane biogas. Indeed with some lateral thinking and applied engineering the waste heat from higher rise buildings could be used through thermal siphoning to alleviate air pollution at street level.

We are aware of some very clever “Urban food production” systems that can produce very high outputs from small areas using aquaponics (fish and hydroponics). The rooftops of many high rise buildings would be eminently suited with proper planning to include these which then turns the total system into a “Quad generation”, utilising CO2 from the engine exhausts in the greenhouse above and providing local restaurants with fresh fish and vegetables grown in their own inner city building or precinct! Such innovations are we believe relevant now and can only become increasingly important for the future of sustainable cities.

Heightened ambient noise is an engineering/$ issue. A couple of years ago we responded to a request for tender for a cogen plant at a public swimming pool. The EPA imposed a noise limit of 32 decibels (it turned out there were dwellings within 20m of the installation site…). To put this in perspective such a noise limit can be exceeded by the act of sitting down in a country library and opening a hardcover book… We found a solution with pre-cast acoustic chambers from a Sydney supplier which added about $80,000 to project cost (yes you can also cast in situ). You could rev a Harley at full throttle inside one and not exceed the 32DB limit outside. To give you some idea of what this means in practice the fan running on the RPS system demonstrated at Bungendore for REDay generates 55DB.

Finally Origin/Cogent might consider the following: The RPS plant being commissioned at Sutton at the moment just took delivery of 80m3 of sawdust for further client trials. This plant when operational in the next week or so will consist of:

Gasifier – clean fuel gas and high temperature treated biochar output.

This char output can be used for water filtering and odor control amongst other external applications before going off to be added to compost for final recycling & CO2 sequestration.

Integrated pyrolysis retort – operates off a portion of the gasifier output so as to be more consistent, controllable and able to handle high/variable feed stock moisture contents, capable of sustained temperatures >650oC. Outputs biochar or torrefied biomass depending on temperature/residence time profile selected so effectively could replicate any typical biochar specification required or alternately pre-condition solid fuels for the gasifier.

Also can provide process heat for a range of purposes.

Electricity generator (20kWe) – Dual fuel diesel & producer gas from the gasifier . Typical diesel displacement when the gasifier is running would be 85% (reduction in normal diesel use). Later we will trial recycling a portion of this final exhaust back through the gasifier to re-crack some carbon dioxide (CO2+heat= 2CO) further reducing nett emissions.

We are also currently refurbishing a 50kWe straight gas industrial genset to add later in order to achieve 100% organic power.

Briquette press – for hot briquetting product directly out of the pyrolysis retort. (This is part of RPS’s R&D looking at subsequent material handling/transport/application strategies).

This briquette press is a proprietary design that we own the rights to and is able to be locally fabricated by any competent engineering shop so is not a high cost imported item.

So it is really a combination proof of concept/commercial plant that goes beyond just a functional bioenergy/char retort design and looks more at a whole of system farm scale factory with core components equally at home in the basement of a building in order to give flexible outputs that maximise benefits. This plant is readily brought up to the scale some companies have received offers of multi-million dollar public grants to build…but still haven’t been able to do so.

All of which has been done not only in the absence of government grants or sucking in market venture capital but also in spite of direct obstruction and commercial bastardry by vested interests. What might be described as “Success against Uncommon Odds”.

If the City of Sydney/Origin/Cogent trifecta are genuine they need to stop playing around the edges and get serious with some sort of supportive funding delivered through a credible pilot plant trial to publicly validate what we already know, instead of waiting for people like ourselves with real solutions to solve their problems for them entirely at our own expense.

Best Regards,
Peter & Kerry”

Then from George Paulos, where is writes of his IMPLETERRA new Plasma Gasification System:

“Thanks for connecting with me.

And as you have already pointed out: YES I love my work !

Hopefully we can be of fruitful service to one another.

I would like to move some things in Down Under with you.

For example: Our new Plasma can extract precious metals from ore.

This is currently being tested in our lab in the US.

Thus all these hazardous chemical for extraction get needless AND

of course the overall calculation for the mining company gets CHEAPER In this sense its a win-win for all parties involved: We and our environment and the company and the economy ! And also: These Plasma devices cannot be sold, only leased based on Power Purchase Agreements. Thus no investment necessary ! “

On reflection of what George has said, and repeated by Real Power Systems: The way grants programs are administrated may be what is wrong with the industry, in this it is meant: Why do you need $XXk grant to write a pre-feasibility study and then go to a prospectus costing $XXXXXXK in order to persuade $XXm from investors given that the askers apparently already know the outcome of a larger feasibility study, or learnt from past mistakes…. Would it not be more sensible to do as the UK Government do – have a department and a fund set –up that is open to all, rather than a select few. The caveat is if you can prove the need, that sufficient testing is done and you can show it could work, and the ability to be an entrepreneur – be a doer not just a talker. You will be asked how much do you need and so on. No nonsense approach that makes the bankable process much more streamlined.

CO2Land org thank each for their encouragement. Clearly these are also worthy of encouragement because they each solve real problems to what we have now, WHAT TO DO to turn waste to energy and take the pressure off virgin materials being required every time!

 

 

Closing 21 Feb – excluded

Closing 21 Feb 2013, Community Renewable Energy Projects: Message  – Innovations excluded and technology chosen must be commercial. This is despite many innovators being able to prove an environmental benefit at least cost.  It is not a new issue it is a matter that is a symptom of measures providing a pathway regardless of the evidence. Albeit, justification for this approach can be found by some oblique reference to some far away story.

As the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory explains “One of the most serious (and valid) criticisms of subsidies for “renewable” energy is that they heighten the perception (but not the reality) that wind and solar are less expensive and more energy efficient than conventional fuels”.

If we single out the NSW Renewable Energy Precincts Program and the expression of interest for funding the wording says “EOIs will only be accepted for projects proposing to use renewable energy technologies that are commercially available and have been demonstrated in operation at a similar scale generation capacity for 12 months or more. Solar photovoltaic technology and wind are the two most common, and commercially available, renewable energy technologies. Most CRE projects internationally use one of these two technologies”. This is interesting as world wide, and in Australia, there are technologies that offer a better power capacity ratio. It is also interesting that in Australia at least one public entity has taken legal action to restrict (Suppression) the opportunity for a commercial opportunity with alternative renewable energy. When the reference is made to power capacity ratio it simply means – coal fired can be replaced by this technology as base load. It should also be said at a lower cost than wind and solar. AKA – cost benefit is superior.

It is difficult to understand why a ‘community’ program is directing a bias in this way towards wind & solar. CO2Land org feels this is a shame because more than a few communities would be able to scratch together sufficient green waste and other biomass resources to run a genuine base load or peak lopping plant, from what is waste with the added advantage of also having very useful co-products and creating more permanent local employment.

It follows that local government have obligations for services and various industry is within the boundaries they manage. Industry does two things: 1) They tend to consume more of the fuel resources available in the geographical area, and 2) Produce waste that is often toxic or hazardous in the environment.

In a growing trend around the world (being a reference was made in the NSW REP EOI), and since 1980, as far as CO2Land org can see, major industry is increasingly looking at methods for recovering the fuel value from many wastes.

CO2Land org can identify some of the different methods to do so and each is superior in their own way, and certainly make use of existing problems of waste and remove much of the need for virgin material in the products they offer. The point is made – not one product such as electricity generation of wind and solar, but also other products that make up the needs of society.

To give examples: Gasification, Pyrolysis, Plasma conversion are increasingly being piloted or in production in other parts of the world. Not surprising is that many of the leading work was from Australia, then ‘discovered’ by America, India, China and other countries determined to solve their resource and waste problems. If you were to argue it is cost that is the problem. As a single product produced wind and solar can argue they the high ground. “But consider this case of cement kilns converting waste: The ash in waste fuels becomes part of the cement product in a cement kiln, this system is one of the very few that actually consumes all of the waste material – both organic and inorganic turning all of the waste into product – no ash, no change in emissions and no impact on product quality”. Patent Number 8268073 System and method for making cement and cement derived therefrom

Inventors: Burton J. Kunik, James C. Berns, David G. Gossman

More recently, engineered fuels (Synfuels) are carrying on to advance the latest step in the process that started over 30 years ago. Some might even recall or have read that in World War 2 years the need to ‘invent’ devices to get the family car around as fuel was rationed. The new advances present the real potential for using a wider variety of waste materials, including treated medical wastes, to consume waste materials instead of coal and other natural resource based fuels in the manufacturing process.

Then there is products from the treatment of medical waste including sharps: Embodiments of this invention provide methods for converting a used healthcare material including a complex mixture of components including pulp materials, polymer materials, metal materials, and/or other material such as ceramic materials, ash materials, etc. directly into a burnable fuel, Without the need for component separation. Patent Number 8163045 Method and system of making a burnable fuel Inventors: Burton J. Kunik, James C. Berns, David G. Gossman

Still struggling in Australia is Real Power Systems. Peter and Kerry Davies have built a considerable amount of bench testing conducted (circa 2009 to now) and are successfully testing, including onsite pilots of their gasifier and pyrolysis retort and this success continues to lead to product identification not previously considered. They started being most interested in bio-char production for agricultural purposes, and the range of fuels that can produce and the range of waste they can treat under various water saturation condition is striking. And, they can produce syngas, synfuel, syncrude and have solved problems such as “Cavitation Phenomenon at the Reactor Chamber” that plaqued or was the reason for more expensive offering in the field.

If you can consider the cost savings when compared with traditional fuels it can be enormous. The environmental saving through the use of engineered fuels (syfuels) is a significant reduction of GHG emissions. So much so that engineered fuels, are getting overseas regulatory approvals and are meeting EPA definitions for “sufficiently processed”.

We are saying we should compare complimentary and alternative solutions to our energy problems, and being we should be very conscious of the traps involved in the development of technology, It can be very hard to stay focused when development is proving there is so much flexibility and opportunity in direction.

Possibly this is why the 21 Feb 2013 closing EOI has chosen to stay focused on wind and solar, but then something more needs to be done in keeping with the developments and as such building on advances to ensure uniform characteristics can be judged to gain a higher level of understanding and open whole new avenues for applications of otherwise problematic materials. What could be better than the local government waste dump having onsite production capability of syncrude made from waste tetra packs and plastics? it does make things oddly enough, a tad more difficult…but not impossible.

Synfuel – to a ‘waste-free’ world

The prediction is Synfuel is the best alternative to meet world energy demand, and it will help address the other big issue of a waste-free environment.  The differences are an improvement over Biofuel as it will not compete with food production or involve land clearing, and the processes of the waste will put it to good use.

We already know the prediction of peak oil, what has changed is the dates when we will reach that tipping point, and it will be driven by demand. The current prediction is that fuel demand will triple by 2025, that gas energy and petroleum price will rise within 2 years and be subject to more competitive tendering processes as governments seek more revenues and vested interests seek to retain margins. Ironically, government (take Queensland for instance is solely assessing energy as a financial cost benefit, and this encourages consumption as a take or pay exercise). There is no demand constraint or carbon consideration other than price.

It is therefore reasonable to assume the oil industry will not be able to sustain supply.

A curious part of the matter is that the technology to address the demand and supply equation exists, the source of the feedstock is abundant, and government has the power in the form of existing legislation and approval processes to make the need for power ‘responsible’ and be encouraged. As CO2Land org is told, all that is needed is the assistance of the stakeholders to the innovative and the refinement of the design to meet accreditation requirements as a mass project rollout. We understand, currently the environmental protection license requirement policy is assessment on a project by project basis. The other impediment is the economics that proponents of most alternative and or renewable energy have issues with and that relates to costs, and cost can be in the form of cash investment or embodied problems in the ‘producability’. Therefore what must be overcome is the difficulty of the sustainability of the programs, not the technology.

What can be assured of is the technology to convert all organic waste to proper Synfuel or Kerosene according to the EU regulations, and in Australia (we understand the NSW EPA could accredit the technology in Australia within months) it is likely “as surely as day, the best, most cost effective and environmentally friendly way one can choose to convert waste to fuel. And it is one investment and not two – first in incineration or similar and then later into Synfuel. We can do it both with one technology” – If you would like to hear from the source of the quote, contact – helga@imvemvane.com .

CO2Land org also notes the ability to use gawk.it to see what is the opinion around the world and especially agrees with the opinions of JAMES FERGUSON. Directly quoting:” However, this was not where this blog post goes. I wanted to make a simpler point. If you want to fix ‘Planned Waste’ then you had best address ‘Thoughtless Waste’ first. Why – because the first can be bought but not bought well in the context of the other, and the other must be learned – and cannot be bought at any price.

If thoughtless waste is addressed, it comes at the princely price of a penny – as in ‘a penny for your thoughts’. So payback is immediate and it clears noise away so that investment in reducing ‘Planned Waste’ can be made in the context of a reasonable operation. Please remember that thoughtless waste includes, not turning down thermostats, not adjusting time-clocks and making unfounded assumptions about needs.

Regarding the last ‘Obligatory Waste’ – can only say that the obligations are rules made to be broken. Waste is always wanton. So preventing waste always allows the actor access to the higher ground.”

CO2Land org then ponders recent discussion with Real Power Systems and Congent over feedstock for cogneration projects and those conversations was typical in that whenever and wherever ones reads about converting waste, or zero waste aspirations, around 90% of these discussions go around creating electricity from waste. In fact, it soon becomes discussion on a multiplicity of products and that the industry has a place to exist in a sustainable way, and it can be done, and it’s not difficult at all and each of the products make use of the resources we already have consumed.

So what about the other numerous natural sources from which to harvest as much electricity as we need – for instance wind, sun, hydro, ocean currents, vents in the ocean, photovoltaic, etc. Simply the answer is there is a place for all if we consider we will consume and economics says we need to grow to prosper. Therefore we must consider the many possibilities we should use just to meet the demand and consider the ability to reduce the carbon footprint of doing so, and the science says our demands are growing faster and the impacts are accelerating. It follows that three times the amount being demanded is more than the oil industry can maintain, and whether it is 2030 or 2025 when that comes about does not remove the need to think now and encourage the technology that converts all organic waste to reuse products. Think about this waste as from agriculture, Metropolitan waste streams, sewage, medical, hazardous, old oil and/or tyres and more and it can all be converted to Synfuel – this is not biofuel from productive land or food production diversions or sources. It is a fuel that goes from the manufacture plant into the engine, motor, jet and needs no blending. A well designed and tested unit produces desulphurized, 100% environmentally friendly fuel and the numbers show it will comply fully to the EU EN590 regulations, even exceeding the Cetane up to 58 and sometimes even more and also exceeding ASTM requirements.  Some numbers we could quote suggest around 63% from green waste blends.

Quoting ‘helga’ again: “If you wish so the plant will also produce A1-type Kerosene. 
You want to create electricity – no problem, we just add a genset and you get your electricity. 
BUT you invest only one time because investing now in an incineration or combustion plant – how long do you think this will a viable business? In most areas maybe for 8 – 10 years”. The analogy follows that the Synfuel industry will have a significant lead on other technolgies that will inevitable be developed to meet the demand for electricity. For instance in Goulburn yesterday, it was suggest Thorium reactors will be viable in the near term and the issues of producability will constrain the introduction in similar timeframes.  In the mean time Synfuel will solve a number of problems in landfill, the need to consume and the need for energy. ‘Helga’ also suggest our transport needs will not be met by electrical cars, and they are wasteful of resources also, and we should consider environment impacts of the millions of trucks, heavy machinery, planes, train locomotives and similar that cannot drive with electrical batteries – they will run on waste when it is converted to fuel. A fuel that can be produced in minutes without electricity and a waste can produce beneficial bi-products for agriculture (for instance bio-char) in six minutes.

Don’t you all think that this is the better way to go?