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March, 2013:

Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism has made aviation fuel a strategic priority

Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism has made aviation fuel a strategic priority

Scientists are looking at a variety of ways to create biofuels for use in aviation, including using algae as a feedstock. Picture AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth Source: AP

AUSTRALIA has the building blocks of an advanced aviation biofuel industry with the advantage of airlines keen to buy it if it can be made economically.

But it will need international investment, including from Big Oil, and continued government involvement to get it through the risky emerging industry stage, according to one of the nation’s top biofuel experts.

“We have to bring in international investors, which is not a bad thing because they’re good strategic partners and increase the discipline of the whole commercialisation process,” said Susan Pond, chairwoman of the Australian Initiative for Sustainable Aviation Fuels. “Much of the capital we require to invest in and build bio refineries will come from international sources.”

The AISAF is a public-private partnership between the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism and the industry, which aims to advance sustainable aviation fuel in Australia.

Professor Pond, of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, believes a two-day biofuel conference at the Australian International Air Show at Avalon in Geelong last week that attracted 10 international speakers demonstrated the interest in Australian biofuels. They included representatives of biofuel companies, aircraft manufacturers and government agencies, including defence.

“In Australia, we’ve done our strategic planning, we know we’ve got opportunities, in the form of our biomass and our capacity to complete large-scale projects,” Professor Pond said.

One challenge, Professor Pond said, was a lack of long-term financing. It was here that there was a place for government and overseas investors. Oil companies also would have to bring their assets to avoid the need to rebuild refineries.

Professor Pond said the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism had made aviation fuel a strategic priority and understood it would take government involvement at the proof-of-concept and early commercialisation stages.

Government involvement in biofuels centres on the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, set up in 2011, and its renewable energy venture capital fund, Southern Cross Venture Partners. There is also the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corp, which might not survive a change in government.

“It’s a new industry,” Professor Pond said. “It’s risky and it won’t be bankable in the conventional sense at this early stage.”

On the private side, both of Australia’s big airlines are keen to develop a sustainable jet fuel industry and have their irons in several biofuel fires.

Qantas has been working with Solena Fuels since early 2011 to investigate the feasibility of building a commercial jet biofuel plant in Sydney similar to a British Airways plant in London.

The aim would be to convert commercial waste to biofuel using a $300m plant based on the Fischer-Tropsch process that makes jet fuel from coal in South Africa and gas in Qatar.

The British Airways plant is due to come online next year and will convert up to 500,000 tonnes of waste a year into 73 million litres of “green” jet fuel, enough to power 2 per cent of BA’s Heathrow base. It will use food scraps and other household material, such as grass and tree cuttings, as well as agricultural and industrial waste, as a feedstock for the fuel.

The flying kangaroo, which staged biofuel flights last year, also has been working with US company Solazyme, which produces oil using single-cell algae as a biocatalyst in industrial fermentation process treating feedstock such as sugarcane bagasse.

Virgin Australia has partnered with Renewable Oil Corporation, GE and the Future Farm Industries CRC to develop a renewable jet fuel derived from West Australian mallee trees using a technique called fast pyrolysis, through which feedstocks are liquefied and broken down to basic organic building blocks under high temperature to produce crude biofuel.

It also has teamed with NSW biofuel company Licella on its unique one-step catalytic hydrothermal reactor technology to produce high-quality bio-crude oil from a biomass such as farm waste.

While the airlines are keen to parade their environmental credentials, they readily admit they are not just driven by a desire to cut greenhouse emissions.

“Airlines see the possibility of another fuel source as a way to hedge their bets on costs,” Professor Pond said. “If they can have long-term stable off-take agreements from another fuel provider, they have bargaining power with fossil fuel providers.

“Also, a long-term contract at known prices gives them a more predictable future in contrast to the volatile oil market.”

While hydro-treated renewable fuels and those produced by the Fischer-Tropsch process have been approved for use in aircraft by certifying agency ATSM International, other processes yet to get the nod such as alcohol-to-jet and fast pyrolysis could prove a big boost for Australia.

Alcohol-to-jet, which Professor Pond believed was likely to be certified by late next year or early 2015, allows a company to take a waste or renewable feedstock through to an alcohol such as ethanol or butanol, then remove the oxygen atoms and produce longer chain hydrocarbon fuels such as jet fuel. Whichever process is used, the potential pay-off is considerable if the industry can bridge the gap between small demonstration plants and commercial production facilities.

The CSIRO’s Flight Path to Sustainable Aviation report in 2011 estimated that an Australasian bio-derived jet fuel industry could generate 12,000 jobs across the next two decades and reduce the nation’s reliance on fuel imports by $2 billion annually.

The report said the industry could decrease aviation sector greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent and that there was enough biomass in Australia and New Zealand to supply 46 per cent of the industry’s fuel needs by 2020 and all of it by 2050.

Professor Pond pointed to the set of figures that underscored the need for a concerted global push on biofuels. The world last year consumed a staggering 89 billion barrels of liquid fuels a day or about 1032 barrels per second.

About 60 per cent of that fuel was used for transport, which accounted for 23 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. About 10 per cent of the transport fuel was used for aviation.

“Australia consumes about 1 per cent of the global supply of petroleum but a proportionately higher percentage of transport and aviation fuels.

“Unsurprisingly in Australia, because of the distances involved, aviation fuels consume relatively more of our transport fuel mix than in other countries.

“In 2010, aviation accounted for about 13 per cent. This is projected to rise to about 20 per cent by 2030 because other modes of transport will take up alternative energy options such as gas and electricity.

“The aviation sector will be dependent on the same liquid jet fuel for many decades. If the sector is to grow as projected, it has to turn its mind to renewable fuels, which don’t have the same carbon footprint as fossil fuels.”

The carbon footprint of fuel refers to the full life-cycle footprint that covers planting and growing the crop through to harvesting and transportation, the production process and burning it in an aircraft engine.

This raised another can of worms, Professor Pond said, “because you have to get your metrics, methods and facts right to meet what will be quite stringent environmental criteria before you can market it as a sustainable fuel”.

“You have to make sure that the energy cost of converting low-energy dense materials into liquid fuel is not unfavourable.”

The biofuel expert believed there was a huge potential for algae in Australia and said this was the focus of many of the local companies. Other promising feedstocks include lignocellulose, such as wood waste; and wheat straw and technologies such as fast pyrolysis show potential.

Professor Pond said the places where biomass could be aggregated most easily would determine where biofuel plants were located and that a state-by-state approach to biomass production systems would be the best way to establish reliable supply.

Ultimately, she said, it all came down to economics and life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions.

“So if you’re in Sydney, the feedstock will be landfill rather than an agricultural crop,” Professor Pond said.

“In regional areas, forest waste or wheat straw, for example, will feed into a bio-refinery located within a 50km radius for processing at least to the first stage of a more energy-dense bio-crude.

“The bio-crude could then be transported to a centralised refinery that can produce a range of products including liquid fuels.

“Renewable aviation fuel will be marketed to distribution centres that service airports. Some regional feedstocks will not be available for aviation fuels because of the economics.”

Professor Pond said airlines would be looking for a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions but she suspected this would take some time to achieve.

Current certification allows for up to a 50:50 mix of biofuel and conventionally derived jet fuel. It is likely to a considerable time before the industry has enough scale to meet even that mix.

“The percentage of renewable aviation fuel will probably start at 1 per cent and increase as more bio refineries come on line,” Professor Pond said.

Coal’s health bill reaches €43 billion a year

  • Air pollution from burning fossil fuels blamed for premature deaths and illnesses, health groups urge major rethink of EU energy policy

  • New study shows how moving away from fossil fuels would boost health by significantly reducing chronic lung disease and some heart conditions
  • Recent upturn in the use of coal makes awareness of health costs more urgent and is at odds with events promoting the EU Year of Air 2013

Brussels, 7 March 2013 – The health costs of coal-fired power stations add a financial burden to the European population of up to €42.8 billion a year. The assessment is published today in a major new report from the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) (1).

The report, entitled ‘The unpaid health bill: How coal power plants make us sick’ (2), provides the first-ever calculation of the effects of coal-fired power generation on chronic lung disease and some heart conditions.

Coal power generation in Poland is associated with the highest health impacts as well as health costs, estimated at over €8 billion per year. Romania and Germany both rank second with more than €6 billion in health costs each (3).

“Our report offers the scientific evidence on the health impacts of coal and provides vital information from a health perspective that should be taken into account when determining energy policy,” says Genon Jensen, Executive Director at HEAL, which brings together more than 70 networks and groups in 26 European countries.

“The findings are particularly worrying given that the use of coal is now rising after years of decline. The startlingly high costs to human health should trigger a major rethink on EU energy policy,” adds Ms Jensen.

Two-fold burden

The report quotes public health experts who express concerns that carbon emissions associated with coal use will contribute to climate change and add to future public health problems – on top of the serious consequences of coal burning we are already seeing today. (4)

The report launch marks the beginning of a coal and health campaign in which HEAL will work closely with medical, health and climate advocacy groups, especially in countries where coal is a particular threat to health.

In coming months, the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME), which has 27 members representing medical doctors in EU countries, will be raising awareness of the risks of coal burning as part of its work underlining the importance of cleaner air. 2013 as the EU Year of Air provides strong opportunities to improve public health as the Commission gears up to review EU air legislation and put forward proposals later in the year.

“European doctors know air pollution to be an important risk factor for health and the CPME has a long-standing interest in this topic. Health professionals are committed to bringing new evidence-based information to the public as well as to decision makers and using their voice to bring about policy changes,” said Birgit Beger, Secretary General, Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME).

Mitigating climate change

On top of the benefits to health from cleaner air, the report also highlights how stronger regulation of coal would help mitigate climate change. Coal is the most carbon-intensive energy source in Europe – responsible for approximately 20% of carbon emissions. Controlling long-term temperature rises and avoiding heat waves are particularly important for vulnerable groups, such as young children and older people and anyone with an existing respiratory or heart condition.

MEP and medical doctor, Peter Liese recognises coal as both an immediate and a long-term threat to public health because of its contribution to climate change: “The EU has committed to protect public health from air pollution as well as from climate change impacts. As the use of coal in Europe is currently increasing, there is a significant threat to people’s health in the short and long term.”

Abandoning coal: A win-win for public health and the climate

HEAL’s report recommends that no new coal plants should be built and that Europe should abandon coal by 2040 for better public health.

“If accepted, this approach would avoid the unnecessary respiratory and heart problems associated with exposure to coal pollutants in the air. It would offer longer term health benefits by mitigating climate change. Opting for alternatives to coal would also put right a current injustice in which Europeans are made to shoulder the burden of an unpaid health bill caused by coal,” said Ms Jensen.


Press release FR – Press release ES – Press release IT

Notes to Editors

1. The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. HEAL has more than 65 member organisations, representing networks of health professionals, non-profit health insurers, patients, citizens, women, youth and environmental experts working at the international, EU, national and local level. Together, we help to bring independent expertise and evidence from the health community to different decision-making processes.

2. Link to report on website The evaluation in the new report is based on a calculation of the costs associated with premature deaths resulting from exposure to coal-related air pollution, medical visits, hospitalisations, medication and reduced activity, including working days lost.

3. Economic evaluations of health impacts by source country:

Annual health costs associated with coal power generation per country in million Euros (2009 data)

Country Total costs (million Euro), upper bound estimate
Poland – 8,219
Romania – 6,409
Germany – 6,385
Bulgaria – 4,629
Greece – 4,089
UK – 3,682
Czech Republic – 2,842
France – 1,879
Slovakia – 925
Italy – 857
Spain – 827
Estonia – 445
Netherlands – 386
Hungary – 268
Slovenia – 228
Ireland – 201
Finland – 169
Belgium – 134
Portugal – 90
Austria – 74
Denmark – 63
Sweden – 7
Latvia – 3
EU27 42,811
Turkey – 6,689
Serbia – 4,987
Croatia – 243
TOTAL 54,730

4. Statements from scientists, medical and health representatives and policy makers featured in the report – available here

5. Air pollution is ranked as top health risk factor in Europe, HEAL press release,


Genon K. Jensen, Executive Director, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Tel: +32 2 234 3642, Mobile: +32 495 808 732. Email:

Julia Huscher, Coal and Health Officer, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Tel: +32 2 234 3646, Mobile: +32 489 97 74 69, Email:

Diana Smith, Communications and Media Adviser, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Tel: +33 1 55 25 25 84, Mobile : +33 6 33 04 29 42, Email :

Ella Elesse, External media and communications consultant for HEAL coal report, Mobile: +32 471 09 25 65,

Originally posted on 7 March 2013

Exxon turns to auction for Hong Kong power stake: sources

By Denny Thomas

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has launched an auction to sell up to $2 billion worth of shares in a Hong Kong power venture after a year-long effort to offload its holding to its partner yielded no result, sources familiar with the matter said.

The world’s biggest oil company by market value has hired Barclays Plc (BARC.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) as an advisor for the sale of nearly half of its 60 percent stake in Castle Peak Power Co Ltd as part of its plan to divest non-core assets.

Talks to sell the entire stake to CLP Holdings (0002.HK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and state-owned China Southern Power Grid had stalled due to disagreements over valuations, the sources said. CLP owns 40 percent of Castle Peak.

The auction may attract interest from infrastructure funds, Japanese trading houses and sovereign wealth funds, they added without specifying names.

The process is in its early stages and potential suitors are assessing whether to bid for the stake. First-round bids are due in early April.

China’s cash-rich state power groups have also been scooping up assets worldwide, with dominant power distributor State Grid Corp establishing a presence in the Philippines, Spain, Brazil and Portugal.


CLP, controlled by Hong Kong’s wealthy Kadoorie family, remains attracted to the stake because Castle Peak offers guaranteed returns, one source familiar with CLP’s strategy said.

But “the ball is in Exxon’s court now,” the source added.

Castle Peak operates three coal-fired power stations and has a generation capacity of 6,908 megawatts.

CLP and Power Assets Holdings Ltd (0006.HK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Hong Kong’s other power supplier that is controlled by tycoon Li Ka-Shing, garner an annual return of 9.99 percent on net fixed assets until 2018 under a program known as Scheme of Control.

The sources, who declined to be identified as the sale process is confidential, said the 60 percent stake was valued at around $3 billion last March. Around half of that plus a premium would bring the deal value closer to $2 billion, they said.

Exxon Mobil said in an emailed statement that it does not comment on rumors or speculation and that it routinely assesses its global portfolio of businesses.

A CLP spokeswoman and a Hong Kong-based spokesman for Barclays declined to comment.

CLP posted a 10.5 percent drop in its earnings last year because of weak performances at its operations in Australia and India. Hong Kong accounts for the bulk of CLP’s earnings.

(Additional reporting by Anna Driver and Charlie Zhu; Editing by Michael Flaherty and Edwina Gibbs)

Hong Kong needs to rethink power company’s sweet deal

Thursday, 07 March, 2013, 12:00am

Comment›Insight & Opinion


SCMP Editorial

The warning of hefty tariff increases by the city’s top energy supplier is a case of déjà vu. After imposing a 5.9 per cent tariff increase early this year, CLP reiterated that electricity prices could rise 40 per cent within a few years, saying the switch to natural gas has pushed up fuel costs. The gloomy picture should not come as a big surprise. The power giant first sounded the warning last year after being forced to cut back its annual increase substantially. The rhetoric is nothing new but it is guaranteed to generate outrage, coming from a monopoly that earned HK$8.3 billion last year.

It does not take an expert to tell that clean energy comes at a price. For the sake of a better environment and public health, households and businesses should be prepared to pay more under the user-pays principle. The company is perhaps just being frank about rising costs as it uses more natural gas. Tariff increases appear to be inevitable. The question is how much more people are willing to pay, and whether there is an effective mechanism to ensure the company is not charging more than it should.

Regrettably, energy users are not in a position to tell whether the increase sought by the utility every year is justified or not. A deal with the government currently guarantees CLP and Hongkong Electric a 9.9 per cent rate of return annually on their investment. The so-called scheme of control, a colonial legacy in which utilities are promised hefty profits in return for reliable services, will stay at least for another five years. It is difficult to see how such a sweet deal can be preserved amid growing pressure for tighter government monitoring of public utilities.

Announcing an 11 per cent drop in profits, the company vowed not to accept any “unfair or one-sided” changes to the agreement. It is true that the political environment has put CLP and other public utilities in an increasingly difficult position. But the days of lucrative business deals have long gone. While the company is entitled to reject unfair terms, the public is also unlikely to swallow deals that put commercial gains ahead of public interest.

The century-old company prides itself on being socially responsible. It should take into account the affordability of its services when adjusting tariffs. A strong balance sheet and good business prospects mean the company is in a position to adopt measures to ease the impact on users. Officials are also expected to play a better gate-keeping role on adjustments.


so who negotiated the current Scheme of Control from the Government’s side to sign the bilateral contract ? was that Edward Yau ? Seems like CLP is just asking for what was agreed in the contract. Was it Edward Yau who signed off on the renewed KMB and Citybus / NWFB bus franchises as his farewell from his failed tenure as ENB Secretary ? why does he still have an overpaid office manager job in Government ?

Source URL (retrieved on Mar 7th 2013, 6:13am):

Natural Gas Bombshell: Switching From Coal to Gas Increases Warming for Decades, Has Minimal Benefit Even in 2100 | ThinkProgress

Natural Gas Bombshell: Switching From Coal to Gas Increases Warming for Decades, Has Minimal Benefit Even in 2100

By Joe Romm on Sep 9, 2011 at 5:01 pm


A stunning new study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) concludes:

In summary, our results show that the substitution of gas for coal as an energy source results in increased rather than decreased global warming for many decades….

Coal, natural gas, and climate: Shifting from coal to natural gas would have limited impacts on climate, new research indicates. If methane leaks from natural gas operations could be kept to 2.5% or less, the increase in global temperatures would be reduced by about 0.1 degree Celsius by 2100. Note this is a figure of temperature change relative to baseline warming of roughly 3°C (5.4°F) in 2100. Click to Enlarge.

The fact that natural gas is a bridge fuel to nowhere was first shown by the International Energy Agency in its big June report on gas — see IEA’s “Golden Age of Gas Scenario” Leads to More Than 6°F Warming and Out-of-Control Climate Change. That study — which had both coal and oil consumption peaking in 2020 — made abundantly clear that if we want to avoid catastrophic warming, we need to start getting off of all fossil fuels.

But what NCAR’s new study adds is more detailed modeling of all contributors to climate change from fossil fuel combustion — positive and negative. The study is here [they just eliminated the subscription requirement], the news release is here. It’s by senior research associate Tom Wigley, one of the country’s leading experts on climate modeling.

“Relying more on natural gas would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, but it would do little to help solve the climate problem,” says Wigley, who is also an adjunct professor at the University of Adelaide in Australia. “It would be many decades before it would slow down global warming at all, and even then it would just be making a difference around the edges.”

Wigley’s analysis is the first to include all of the relevant climate factors:

We consider a scenario where a fraction of coal usage is replaced by natural gas (i.e., methane, CH4) over a given time period, and where a percentage of the gas production is assumed to leak into the atmosphere. The additional CH4 from leakage adds to the radiative forcing of the climate system, offsetting the reduction in CO2 forcing that accompanies the transition from coal to gas. We also consider the effects of methane leakage from coal mining; changes in radiative forcing due to changes in the emissions of sulfur dioxide and carbonaceous aerosols; and differences in the efficiency of electricity production between coal- and gas-fired power generation. On balance, these factors more than offset the reduction in warming due to reduced CO2 emissions.

In the main scenario in the paper, natural gas use soars and coal use drops from 2010 to 2050 before rising again slowly. In the “Supplementary Material,” Wigley runs a sensitivity analysis where natural gas actually replaces coal entirely by 2050. The results are virtually identical — there’s extra warming through 2050 and by 2100 the total reduction in warming is slightly under 0.1°C.

Wigley’s warming in 2100 is “only” 3°C (though it just keeps warming and hits 4°C a few decades later). Other models show 2100 warming closer to 4°C or 5°C (see M.I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F — with 866 ppm and Arctic warming of 20°F). Either way, the switch to gas accomplishes little or nothing.

A key finding of the NCAR study is:

In summary, our results show that the substitution of gas for coal as an energy source results in increased rather than decreased global warming for many decades — out to the mid 22nd century for the 10% leakage case. This is in accord with Hayhoe et al. (2002) and with the less well established claims of Howarth et al. (2011) who base their analysis on Global Warming Potentials rather than direct modeling of the climate….

The most important result, however, in accord with the above authors, is that, unless leakage rates for new methane can be kept below 2%, substituting gas for coal is not an effective means for reducing the magnitude of future climate change.

What is the leakage rate for methane? Well, as I’ve written, we don’t know exactly because the gas companies won’t release all of their data. We do know that total life-cycle leakage and fugitive emissions from extraction, production, transport, and consumption is higher for shale gas than conventional gas.

The controversial — but peer-reviewed — paper by Cornell’s Robert Howarth, which I wrote about here, seeks to quantify the impact of the leakage from the best available data. It concluded:

Natural gas is composed largely of methane, and 3.6% to 7.9% of the methane from shale-gas production escapes to the atmosphere in venting and leaks over the life-time of a well. These methane emissions are at least 30% more than and perhaps more than twice as great as those from conventional gas. The higher emissions from shale gas occur at the time wells are hydraulically fractured — as methane escapes from flow-back return fluids — and during drill out following the fracturing. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential that is far greater than that of carbon dioxide, particularly over the time horizon of the first few decades following emission.

I wrote about the “response” by the National Energy Technology Laboratory, the DOE’s premier fossil fuel lab, here. NETL throws dozens of numbers at the reader — and averages in shale gas with conventional gas — to obfuscate the issue. But even NETL concedes that fugitive emissions comprise 1.7% of all natural gas extracted — and point source losses (vented or flared) comprised 2.4% of gas extracted. Shale gas, in their analysis, appears to have 30% higher global warming potential for extraction and delivery, so clearly total losses are higher — much higher than 2%.

I would note that legitimate claims are being made now that the lifetimes of many new shale gas wells have been overstated considerably — see “Analysis: U.S. Shale Gas Industry Reserves Are Over Stated at Least 100 Percent.” If so, this would again suggest that total life-cycle emissions relative to total production may be higher than people have suspected for unconventional gas.

ClimateWire (subs. req’d) quotes Howarth, who is a professor of ecology and environmental biology, that the switch from coal to gas has been “overhyped”:

It’s time to move on truly green energy technologies — solar, wind — and to place a much greater emphasis on energy efficiency.

Can’t argue with that.

Reid Detchon, executive director of the Energy Future Coalition is quoted saying:

Certainly the carbon benefit was a major consideration in wanting to consider a switch from coal to gas. The Wigley analysis makes it clear that simply switching from coal to gas is not going to get the job done.”

Detchon calls for developing carbon capture mechanisms for natural gas, which should be a priority for the industry, but don’t hold your breath.

BOTTOM LINE: If you want to have a serious chance at averting catastrophic global warming, then we need to start phasing out all fossil fuels as soon as possible. Natural gas isn’t a bridge fuel from a climate perspective. Carbon-free power is the bridge fuel until we can figure out how to go carbon negative on a large scale in the second half of the century.

Since this is an NCAR study, let me end by pointing out that last year NCAR published a complete literature review of “Drought under global warming” (see here). That study makes clear that Dust-Bowlification may be the impact of human-caused climate change that hits the most people by mid-century, as the figure below suggests (click to enlarge, “a reading of -4 or below is considered extreme drought”):

drought map 3 2060-2069

The PDSI [Palmer Drought Severity Index] in the Great Plains during the Dust Bowl apparently spiked very briefly to -6, but otherwise rarely exceeded -3 for the decade (see here).

The large-scale pattern shown in Figure 11 [of which the figure above is part] appears to be a robust response to increased GHGs. This is very alarming because if the drying is anything resembling Figure 11, a very large population will be severely affected in the coming decades over the whole United States, southern Europe, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Chile, Australia, and most of Africa.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research notes “By the end of the century, many populated areas, including parts of the United States, could face readings in the range of -8 to -10, and much of the Mediterranean could fall to -15 to -20. Such readings would be almost unprecedented.”

Texas is currently at a PDSI of -7.75, close to its record of -7.8 in September 1956 – see Hell and High Water Stoke Texas Blaze: “No One on the Face of This Earth has Ever Fought Fires in These Extreme Conditions”

For the record, the NCAR study merely models the IPCC’s “moderate” A1B scenario — atmospheric concentrations of CO2 around 520 ppm in 2050 and 700 in 2100, which looks close to what Wigley modeled. If this is the Golden Age of Gas, then it must be describing the color of the dust.

Gasification – An Investment In Our energy Future

Download PDF  : Final_whitepaper

The Gasification Technologies Council

Gasification Facts Gasification vs. Incineration

How is Gasification Different from Incineration?

Increasingly, gasification is being used to convert municipal solid waste, or MSW, into valuable forms of energy. While this type of waste has been burned, or incinerated, for decades to create heat and electricity, the gasification process represents significant advances over incineration. In order to understand the advantages of gasification when compared to incineration, it’s important to understand the significant differences between the two processes:

Incineration literally means to render to ash. Incineration uses MSW as a fuel, burning it with high volumes of air to form carbon dioxide and heat. In a waste-to-energy plant that uses incineration, these hot gases are used to make steam, which is then used to generate electricity.

Gasification converts MSW to a usable synthesis gas, or syngas. It is the production of this syngas which makes gasification so different from incineration. In the gasification process, the MSW is not a fuel, but a feedstock for a high temperature chemical conversion process. In the gasifier, the MSW reacts with little or no oxygen, breaking down the feedstock into simple molecules and converting them into syngas. Instead of making just heat and electricity, as is done in a waste-to-energy plant using incineration, the syngas produced by gasification can be turned into higher valuable commercial products such as transportation fuels, chemicals, and fertilizers.

In addition, one of the concerns with incineration of MSW is the formation and reformation of toxic dioxins and furans, especially from PVC-containing plastics and other materials that form dioxins and furans when they burn. These toxins end up in exhaust steams by three pathways:

•By decomposition, as smaller parts of larger molecules,

•By “re-forming” when smaller molecules combine together; and/or

•By simply passing through the incinerator without change.

Incineration does not allow control of these processes, and all clean-up occurs after combustion.

Gasification is significantly different and cleaner than incineration:

•In the high temperature environment in gasification, larger molecules such as plastics are completely broken down into the components of syngas, which can be cleaned and processed before any further use,

•Dioxins and furans need sufficient oxygen to form or re-form, and the oxygen-deficient atmosphere in a gasifier does not provide the environment needed for dioxins and furans to form or reform,

•Dioxins need fine metal particulates in the exhaust to reform; syngas from gasification is typically cleaned of particulates before being used,

•In gasification facilities that use the syngas to produce downstream products like fuels, chemicals and fertilizers, the syngas is quickly quenched, so that there is not sufficient residence time in the temperature range where dioxins or furans could re-form; and

•When the syngas is primarily used as a fuel for making heat, it can be cleaned as necessary before combustion; this cannot occur in incineration.

The ash produced from gasification is different from what is produced from an incinerator. While incinerator ash is considered safe for use as alternative daily cover on landfills, there are concerns with its use in commercial products.   In high-temperature gasification, the ash actually flows from the gasifier in a molten form, where it is quench-cooled, forming a glassy, non-leachable slag that can be used for making cement, roofing shingles, or used as an asphalt filler or for sandblasting. Some gasifiers are designed to recover melted metals in a separate stream, taking advantage of the ability of gasification technology to enhance recycling.

Bioliq pilot plant: Successful operation of high-pressure entrained flow gasification

Download PDF : 2013-02-bioliq-successful-high-pressure-entrained-gasification

India seeks collaboration with SA on coal gasification technology

India seeks collaboration with SA on coal gasification technology

By: Ajoy K Das
Published: 26th February 2013

KOLKATA ( – India would seek to collaborate with the
South African government in underground coal gasification technologies
and to develop projects in India through suitable joint ventures (JVs).

According to an official in India’s Coal Ministry the request for
bilateral India-South Africa cooperation would be a follow-up of a new
policy for underground coal gasification, which was likely to be
announced shortly.

The official said that a comprehensive policy encompassing all aspects
of underground coal gasification, including  technology availability, the
assessment of appropriate reserves, project implementation and the
pricing of gas, had assumed urgency in view of India’s extremely tardy
performance in this energy subsector and the shortage of coal available
for power generation, despite the country’s huge coal reserves.

The South African government’s facilitation would be sought through
either government-to-government agreements or technology and project JVs
between companies, particularly for gasification of coal below depths of
300 m, the official said.

India’s first coal gasification project was initiated six years ago in
the western Indian province of Gujarat as a JV between oil exploration
and production major ONGC and Gujarat Industries and Power Corporation.
However, the project has failed to take off.

It was pointed out that with 350-billion tons of potential coal
reserves, only one-third was mineable and not one coal gasification
project had been successfully implemented in India, while China had over
40 coal gasification plans running and had even moved to the next stage
of converting coal to diesel.

Coal Gasification Policy Needed Before Blocks Are Allocated

The formulation of a coal gasification policy was a necessary
precondition to the allocation of coal blocks, particularly against the
backdrop of $33-billion in revenue charges against the exchequer brought
by the national auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General, in the
previous coal block allocations.

The Coal Ministry estimates that even if 5% of India’s unmineable coal
reserves were to be successfully exploited for gasification, it could
yield three-trillion cubic metres of gas equivalent.

While the appropriate technology was not available within the country, a
pilot project has been successfully implemented, which had driven the
government’s attempt to seek collaborations with countries like South
Africa, an official said.

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JV Brings Waste to Energy Gasification Technology to Poland

Energy Canada (WtEC) has formed a joint venture with Polish investment and property development company, Rank Progress to develop projects in Poland and Croatia.

The joint venture – Rank Recycling Energy (RRE) – will seek to work in partnership with municipalities to provide waste processing facilities through a Design, Build, Own and Operate business model.

The JV Agreement was signed in the Canadian Embassy in Warsaw by Jan Mroczka, president of Rank Progress and Rod Taylor, CEO of WtEC in the presence of Alexandra Bugailiskis, the Canadian ambassador designate to the Republic of Poland.