Monday, January 25, 2010

The US Will Need Nuclear and Coal Energy for Decades

The airheads who promote a rapid transition to wind and solar power -- away from coal and nuclear -- are in charge of the US at this time. If they achieve even a small part of their agenda, the consequent devastation to the US economy and suffering of the American people will be vast.

More nuclear power is absolutely vital to the US:
The Electric Power Research Institute expects nuclear to provide 29 percent of U.S. power by 2030. To expand nuclear, Case and others are lobbying Congress to allow "clean" energy rather than just "renewable" energy to qualify for federal loan guarantees under the energy bills.

But what about wind? Wind provides more power than solar panels, but it's even more sporadic and unpredictable. Wind turbines only produce power 20 to 30 percent of the time and often produce power at night when it's not needed. Nuclear plants generate power more than 91 percent of the time, one of the highest uptimes of any source of power, according to my colleague Eric Wesoff who recently wrote a nuclear report. _GreenTechMedia

Coal energy is growing ever cleaner -- outside of third world countries such as China, that is. A creative engineering industry in the US is finding ever cleaner uses for the abundant coal resource found within the nation's crust.
Turning coal into liquid fuels is nothing new, but such processes have been inefficient and produced large amounts of CO2 emissions. Accelergy's approach is different because it uses "direct liquefaction," which is similar to the process used to refine petroleum. It involves treating the coal with hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst. Conventional technology for converting coal to liquid fuels breaks the coal down into synthesis gas, which is mostly carbon monoxide with a little bit of hydrogen; the hydrogen and carbon are then recombined to produce liquid hydrocarbons, a process that releases carbon dioxide. Because the Accelergy process skips the need to gasify all of the coal--which consumes a lot of energy--before recombining the hydrogen and carbon, it's more efficient and produces less carbon dioxide. "We don't destroy the molecule in coal. Instead we massage it, inject hydrogen into it, and rearrange it to form the desired hydrocarbons," says Timothy Vail, Accelergy's president and CEO. _TechnologyReview

Wind is a disastrous mistake, that European nations such as Denmark, Germany, and the UK will be paying for decades into the future. Bad decisions based upon faulty assumptions.

It is time to base future energy plans upon baseload and dispatchable power providers. Wind is neither. Wind is suitable only for small isolated niche applications. And in absolutely no case should you ever stake your life upon the inconstancy of the wind.

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