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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sin Fuels on CBS

Daily Kos and The Oil Drum remind us that Montana governor Brian Schweitzer will appear on 60 Minutes tonight. I caught a bit of the guv on Al Franken (check AAR archives) and on CSPAN Washington Journal on repeats from Friday.

My sin fuel title comes from this piece in Time.
The coal can look and burn like regular coal. The IRS rule for transforming coal into synfuel--and getting the tax credit--requires only that the substance be chemically altered in some way. The alchemy that satisfies the IRS is a simple process: some plants spray newly mined coal with diesel fuel, pine-tar resin, limestone, acid or other substances--a practice that industry critics call "spray and pray." Other operators mix coal-mining waste with chemicals, coat it with latex and blend it with untreated coal to form briquettes.
I remain deeply suspicious of stuff that will expand our gargantuan greenhouse gas generation capability.

Update: After digesting the 60 Minutes broadcast, I decided that the worst piece of misinformation from Ms. Stahl came from her implication that mined Appalachian coal comes solely from underground shafts. Afraid not, as mountaintop strip mining has become the norm out east, as it will in Montana.

5 Comments:

Professor Blogger monkeygrinder said...

I think America is altogether too bumpy. Get with the program, WHT, flat is Patriotic.

I wish I had the time to analyze how much infrastructure would be required to extract substantial liquid fuel from coal. Some things I'd be interested in --

How much coal would be removed from electricity production if we did this?
Is it physically possible to expect FT coal fuel to fill the gap from reasonable projections of depletion?
How much mercury in the water does it take to screw in a light bulb?

etc.

8:01 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

Is the answer to the last question, "3 psychiatrists"?

10:53 PM  
Professor Blogger monkeygrinder said...

Close! Actually, the answer is, according to the EPA:

Who the heck knows, let's dump it in the river until we find the answer!

http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/111-02262006-618484.html

12:36 AM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting conversation... for a critical view of what synfuels could, couldn't, and shouldn't do for Montana and the country --www.northernplains.org.

And write a letter to 60 minutes.

10:42 PM  
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6:00 PM  

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