Coal

Degasified coal? Bitumen? Will we have to turn to these at the cost of global warming?

Moderator: Peak Moderation

User avatar
adam2
Site Admin
Posts: 8281
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2007 5:49 pm
Location: North Somerset

Re:

Post by adam2 »

kenneal - lagger wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 2:25 pm
adam2 wrote:I know of a family in London who heat with coal derived smokeless fuel.
Two large houses made into one home with fifteen bedrooms (they foster loads of children, usually about a dozen)

They pay about £6 per 25 kilo bag, after discount for bulk buying.
They have a modern multifuel boiler for winter space heating and water heating.
This can burn logs, processed wood fuel, or smokeless coal. Maximum output is about 80KW.
A 20KW gas boiler is used in summer for heating hot water.
Sounds like it must be quite a lucrative business if a bit carbon intensive.
Indeed, it is rather carbon intensive, though profitable.
Coal use has been reduced by burning of processed wood waster at times instead of coal. Coal consumption is still several tons a year though. I suppose that it could be argued that fuel use is not bad per head.

The foster parents have won various awards for the qaulity of the care provided.
Usually 12 children, each has their own room but equiped with bunk beds in order that they may have a friend to stay if desired. One spare room with bunk beds for 6. Not normally used, but the local authority pay a "retainer" to keep this room available for any sudden emergency in which children may have to be taken into care without notice.
"Installers and owners of emergency diesels must assume that they will have to run for a week or more"
Snail
Posts: 930
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:50 pm

Re: Coal

Post by Snail »

Cumbria county council now reconsidering planning application for coal mine.
User avatar
adam2
Site Admin
Posts: 8281
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2007 5:49 pm
Location: North Somerset

Re: Coal

Post by adam2 »

Snail wrote: Tue Feb 09, 2021 7:51 pm Cumbria county council now reconsidering planning application for coal mine.
Regrettably IMHO. We need iron and steel and there is no currently available process whereby iron may be extracted from iron ore without the use of coke derived from coal. There is no saving in global emissions by closing down UK production and importing the coal or the steel.

To those opposed to this coal mine, I would ask the following questions.

Q1 Do you accept the need for steel used for constructing railways, ships, wind turbines, and almost any large structure ? The production of iron and steel requires coking coal.

Q2 If instead of producing this coking coal in the UK, we import it from China, Australia, or other distant places, in what way are global carbon emissions reduced ?

Q3 If instead of importing the coking coal, we import the steel, again in what way are global emissions reduced. ?
"Installers and owners of emergency diesels must assume that they will have to run for a week or more"
User avatar
clv101
Site Admin
Posts: 8852
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:09 am
Contact:

Re: Coal

Post by clv101 »

Can't you use hydrogen as the reducing agent and an electric arc furnace for heat? The final carbon could come from biochar / wood?

Anyway, that's not really the point. We know we can't maintain the scale of current global civilisation. Say this new mine would represent 1% of global coke supply and hence steel. Rather than open this mine, it would be better to figure out a way to run civilisation on 1% less steel for example. Build fewer cars and ships (especially as their use required even more fossil fuel use) and build fewer steel buildings!

A very small percentage of future steel buildings would need to move over to other materials (my house is timber framed for example) to make this new mine unnecessary.

Just because some steel is essential does not mean a new mine is equally essential.
User avatar
adam2
Site Admin
Posts: 8281
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2007 5:49 pm
Location: North Somerset

Re: Coal

Post by adam2 »

Yes, in principle hydrogen could be used as the reducing agent, with the heat from an electric arc. Alternatively hydrogen and oxygen could be burnt for the heat, with hydrogen being present in excess so as to give a reducing action. Neither process has yet been operated on an industrial scale.
Carbon would still be required, but the very small amounts could be supplied from biochar as you point out.

Meanwhile though, produce our own coking coal, or import it from china ?
"Installers and owners of emergency diesels must assume that they will have to run for a week or more"
User avatar
clv101
Site Admin
Posts: 8852
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:09 am
Contact:

Re: Coal

Post by clv101 »

adam2 wrote: Tue Feb 09, 2021 11:38 pm Meanwhile though, produce our own coking coal, or import it from china ?
Or reduce global steel use slightly, leaving this coal under the sea.
kenneal - lagger
Site Admin
Posts: 12589
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 2:35 am
Location: Newbury, Berkshire
Contact:

Re: Coal

Post by kenneal - lagger »

The trouble for this country is that the Green Party supports unlimited mass immigration into the country so we have to provide the infrastructure for the 200,000 to 300,000 immigrants that this country has been taking in over the last few decades. Infrastructure generally needs steel. The Green Party really needs to sort out its thinking on immigration before it can be thought of as a main stream party.
Action is the antidote to despair - Joan Baez
User avatar
adam2
Site Admin
Posts: 8281
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2007 5:49 pm
Location: North Somerset

Re: Coal

Post by adam2 »

Indeed, more people means more railways, more road vehicles, more wind turbines, more domestic appliances, and more ships in which to import food and consumer goods.
All of which require steel. It seems unlikely that UK steel consumption will fall, unless we cheat by importing not raw steel, but goods manufactured elsewhere from foreign steel.
As for world steel use, generally similar arguments apply WRT to increasing populations and also calls for better infrastructure.
"Installers and owners of emergency diesels must assume that they will have to run for a week or more"
User avatar
clv101
Site Admin
Posts: 8852
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:09 am
Contact:

Re: Coal

Post by clv101 »

adam2 wrote: Thu Feb 11, 2021 7:13 pmIt seems unlikely that UK steel consumption will fall...
That's rather defeatist! It seems to me absolutely inevitable steel consumption will fall (peak oil, remember that?). The question and discussion is around the timing and mechanism. Given that we use a lot of steel today in applications where alternatives really are readily available - as Ken will attest to! Don't expect there's any more steel in his house than mine.

Returning to the coal mine, from where we are now, it's far better to cut global steel production by a little bit, than increase the manufacture by a little bit. We work on the demand side of the equation, not the supply side.

kenneal - lagger wrote: Thu Feb 11, 2021 6:13 pm The trouble for this country is that the Green Party supports unlimited mass immigration into the country so we have to provide the infrastructure for the 200,000 to 300,000 immigrants that this country has been taking in over the last few decades.
Eh? We can (and do) safely ignore everything the Green Party says, they have zero power over national immigration. The UK Government absolutely don't have to provide infrastructure for anything the Green Party might suggest. Conservatives have been in power over over a decade.
User avatar
BritDownUnder
Posts: 880
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:02 pm
Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia

Re: Coal

Post by BritDownUnder »

Small quantities of British coal will always be needed to satisfy the urge of Yorkshiremen to build coal powered motorcycles. Amazing achievement to build this all yourself although his lack of grinding safety precautions are a bit worrying.
G'Day cobber!
User avatar
adam2
Site Admin
Posts: 8281
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2007 5:49 pm
Location: North Somerset

Re: Coal

Post by adam2 »

Indeed there will always be a demand for a little coal for heritage road and rail vehicles. These are a source of great interest and enjoyment to many people and banning the use of coal for such is IMHO going too far.

There is still some demand for coal for domestic heating, not to be encouraged IMHO, but an outright ban is going too far. There is enough protest locally about the banning of housecoal, a ban on ALL coal derived fuels would be going too far.
"Installers and owners of emergency diesels must assume that they will have to run for a week or more"
kenneal - lagger
Site Admin
Posts: 12589
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 2:35 am
Location: Newbury, Berkshire
Contact:

Re: Coal

Post by kenneal - lagger »

How about battery electric heritage steam trains instead of coal fired ones?
Action is the antidote to despair - Joan Baez
User avatar
clv101
Site Admin
Posts: 8852
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:09 am
Contact:

Re: Coal

Post by clv101 »

adam2 wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 2:33 pm Indeed there will always be a demand for a little coal for heritage road and rail vehicles. These are a source of great interest and enjoyment to many people and banning the use of coal for such is IMHO going too far.
I went on a heritage steam train over a decade ago, they had recently converted it from coal to oil, it still looked and sounded basically the same to the punters. They did it so the old boys who ran it as volunteers didn't have to shovel tonnes of coal every weekend.... however since the conversion the price of oil had trebled and they were thinking to refit the old coal boiler!!
User avatar
BritDownUnder
Posts: 880
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:02 pm
Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia

Re: Coal

Post by BritDownUnder »

kenneal - lagger wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 2:52 pm How about battery electric heritage steam trains instead of coal fired ones?
I would suggest it is just not realistic. Perhaps there could be pre-recorded sounds of clanking and chuffing when the locomotives are in operation. A bit like when I read the British Army is doing training without firing their guns but running around shouting 'bang bang bang'.
G'Day cobber!
User avatar
PS_RalphW
Posts: 5911
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:09 am
Location: Cambridge

Re: Coal

Post by PS_RalphW »

My dad was the son of a signalman and his childhood bedroom window was 6 feet from the main line. His childhood dream was to be an engine driver (in the 1930s) and he said that the most important part of a steam engine was the smell - hot oil, steam and coal smoke.
Post Reply