Skip to comments.Microbes to Convert Coal to Methane and Algae Fuel are Both Close to Industrial Scaleup
Posted on 04/04/2009 4:15:52 PM PDT by decimon
Biofuels technologies appear capable of someday producing 200,000 barrels of jet fuel a dayenough to supply the needs of the U.S. Air Forcefrom algae grown on less than 800,000 acres. [10-11 gallons per day or 3650-4000 gallons per year] Its not crazy to imagine that by the year 2050 we (the United States) could become an oil exporter again, Briggs said. 80 million acres would replace the current oil demand of the United States. 3% of total land in the United States. Other estimates are 1-2% or less as the processes are improved. Light pipes allow for deeper algae ponds and over ten times more efficient land usage.
(Excerpt) Read more at nextbigfuture.com ...
Coal bug ping
I should have indicated that the excerpt does not address the title.
You'd be talking about a small part of our desert territory in Nevada and Arizona, deserts are the optimal area for this sort of farming. We should be able to stop importing oil in a year or two.
Now, if they could grow the algae in seawater........
They need a microbe that eats oil slicks and shit$s gold..
Sea weed is an endangered specie and all that plus you might bring up a Dolphin and you can't kill those microbes!
1250 square miles in total. Not that much in terms of farm land.
The numbers seem off by a factor of 10. You could produce nearly that much liquid fuel growing switchgrass on that much land mass.
The whole point of algea is to decrease land mass needed for growth.
Unfortunately, I don’t have time to run down the numbers.
Does anyone honestly believe that the American socialists, communists and democrats will let this country become energy independent? Not on your life! Where would be the crisis to not waste in that?
Nevada is 110,540 square miles. The federal govt owns 86% of it. Any bets as to what land they would take for this project?
Grow it on the girls in Reno?
Converting coal to methane is sort of like converting gold to lead.
Yeah but where you gonna get the grass to feed the girls from Reno.
This makes no sense at all. Methane is natural gas. You can burn it in an internal combustion engine and send it through pipes. Both properties make it much more valuable than coal.
If you don't believe me, look up the price per BTU of both.
Why do they drill for gas instead, then? Because it’s more economical.
Nope, gas is much more expensive than coal.
There are numerous reasons that gas is drilled for. Why has industry chosen the more expensive fuel?
1. It is much cleaner to use natural gas, after you burn coal, you have a lot of dirty residue to deal with.
2. Gas does things than coal doesn’t such as running through an automatic valve to heat your water and burning in an open flame to cook your food without filling your house with carcinogens.
3. NG is much easier to get where you want, put in a pipe and you’re good. Coal is dirty and heavy, the only reasonable way to get it where you want it is to transport it by train, cheaper than NG but not convenient. And speaking of convenience, coal can’t be reasonably extracted in a populated area, you could have a gas well a quarter mile from your house and never know it. A strip mine makes quite the clatter.
Granted in our political environment, we won’t see coal gasification plants but NG has gotten expensive enough to warrent consideration. We should be investing billions in coal to liquid but that is another discussion.
Coal is the least desirable fuel for many reasons but has one advantage that can’t be denied, we’ve have lots of it. Finding more flexible ways to use it is a good thing.
You sound like one of these politicians who’s convinced he knows how to do things better than the free market. If turning coal into gas were “much cheaper” than drilling for it, that’s what we’d do. The reality is that the only reason coal is “cheap” is that the demand for coal is very much less than the demand for gas relative to the supply. If we got our gas from coal, our coal supply would be exhausted in just a few years. Back in the 50’s, there was a lot of talk about the fact that our coal supply was going to be exhausted in less than 50 years. Now they say that we have more than a 200 year supply of coal. The reason is simple. We don’t use much coal anymore. During the 50’s, we used it for just about everything. I’m content to let the markets decide these things. Free markets are what made this country great. And the free market is what decided that we should get our gas by drilling, not by converting coal to gas. Use our coal to do things that gas cannot do as efficiently.
I don’t know where you get your facts.
Back in the 70’s, the country made a major move towards coal, not away. There is currently tremendous government pressure to move away from coal based on stricter air quality controls and limitations on construction of new coal fired plants. Obama is trying to execute the industry outright with Carbon credits. Regardless, a large percentage of electricity is still produced by coal which was previously produced with petroleum.
Coal is the only fuel that we have an abundance of. We currently import both oil and NG.
The only thing that coal can do that gas cannot do efficiently is provide coke and coal tar.
I didn’t say that turning coal to gas is much cheaper than drilling for it. What I said is that NG is a better fuel than coal which is true. I said that NG is getting expensive enough that coal gasification is becoming attractive which is true. You said Converting coal to methane is sort of like converting gold to lead. which is just plain not true.
It is fair that you wouldn’t take my word for it, but do me a favor, look into the facts.
In 2008 the average price per BTU of energy was:
$2.07/BTU for Coal
$9.11/BTU for Natural Gas
$10.96/BTU for Petroleum (mixed types, averaged prices)
$20.08/BTU for Distillate Fuel Oil
Cost of Fossil-Fuel Receipts at Electric Generating Plants
You can’t measure it simply by the btus. And how much does it cost for NG produced from coal?
How would you measure it?
You statement seemed to claim coal was far more valuable than Natural Gas. A generating station needs to produce heat to turn the turbine to turn the generator. It is a heat engine.
And how much does it cost for NG produced from coal?
The purchaser is not going to care how the gas was produced. Pipeline quality Natural Gas has the same value regardless of the source.
All I was trying to say is that it’s not economical to convert coal to NG. Otherwise, the market would do it.
We don’t need a cheerleading squad for coal gasification. Just let the market decide how to do these things.
What you said was Converting coal to methane is sort of like converting gold to lead.
My point was methane is a more desirable product. I have never called for the government to spend a dime or that any company procede with such a venture. You on the other hand have attempted to create a number of straw men and then knock them down.
How about this, converting coal to gas is like converting silver to gold.
As for it not being economical that is where American ingenuity comes in. We have a NG shortage, we became a NG importer a few years back. If we can meet that energy need with domestic sources such as coal gasification, it makes us more secure and financialy stronger.
I’m not a left winger trying to stop coal mining, I think we need to be mining more and finding more uses for it.
“We dont need a cheerleading squad for coal gasification. Just let the market decide how to do these things.”
We also don’t need another anti-coal hit squad. Do you think that the current government want us to have more reliable affordable energy? If someone is working on another practical use for coal, they need to be cheered on. If they are successful, they will do more good for this country than every one of us tapping away at our keyboards combined.
I’m not anti-coal. Like I said, let the market decide.
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