WV Coal Member Meeting 2024 1240x200 1 1

U.S. Researchers Use Algae in Coal Plants

"U.S. researchers use algae in coal plants

BLOOMINGTON, Ind., March 16 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers at Indiana University are studying the effects of algae on carbon dioxide from coal plants.

Algae naturally absorb carbon dioxide and could reduce the levels released into the atmosphere at coal plants, The (Bloomington, Ind.) Herald-Times reports.

"We hope it would absorb at least half, maybe more," said Mark Menefee, IU assistant director for utilities.

If carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants could be cut in half, they would have the same level of emissions as natural gas plants.

The carbon dioxide would be recycled and thrown into the boilers with the coal.

In the lab, gases with a controlled percentage of carbon dioxide are being fed into vats of algae, which are under grow lights. Researchers will measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the gas after it is mixed with the algae."

We have previously described this option, and wanted to note, again, that there might be better ways to use the algae than just tossing it back into the boiler furnace. For instance, jet planes have now flown in several places around the world on liquid fuel made from algae, and there are a number of companies, such as Sapphire, in the business of commercializing algae-based liquid fuels. And, the United Kingdom has, or had, an advanced program in place to capture emissions with algae in large bio-reactors. We're still behind the curve.

Indonesia (and Japan) to Produce Synthetic Fuel from Coal

Perhaps again, we've earlier informed you of Indonesia's CoalTL efforts - subsequent to our email concerning Japan's WWII synthetic fuel plant at Ube, and our assigning it strategic status as a target for our bombers.
An excerpt:

'The Indonesian government plans to run a project to produce synthetic fuel using its abundant coal stocks as part of the energy diversification program, an official said Tuesday.

The government will appeal for technological support from Japan to convert coal to liquid fuel, said Nenny Sri Utami, head of the research and development center with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral resources.

Coal-based fuel is targeted to contribute at least 2 percent to national energy supplies by 2025.

"We will produce synthetic coal-based fuel with similar quality with that of oil fuel," she said at a seminar in her office in Jakarta.

Indonesian and Japanese firms will establish a consortium and set up factories in coal-rich provinces, such as South Sumatra, East and South Kalimantan, with initial investment of 1.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2009, she said.'

Point is: Japan had viable Coal-to-Oil technology in WWII, which, like Germany's similar installations, was real enough to inspire serious, targeted Allied military action. And, they still have that technology, no doubt now advanced and refined, and are again reducing it to practice, in Indonesia.


WW2, Patton, Nazi Oil

"Wartime Needs Spur Interest in Coal-to-Oil Processes

In 1944 General George S. Patton's Third Army was racing across southern France. In his haste to be the first U.S. commander to cross into Germany, however, Patton overextended his supply lines. His armored columns ground to a dead stop. Faced the choice of waiting until he could be resupplied or draining the fuel of captured German vehicles, Patton chose the latter. His tanks and armored personnel carriers continued to steamroll toward Germany, powered by the German's own ersatz gasoline – synthetic fuel manufactured from coal."

The point we had earlier wanted to make was, not just that Germany, under extraordinarily adverse economic and industrial conditions, was able to make oil-type liquid fuels from coal, but those fuels were compatible, apparently, without modification, for use in engines made in America.

(And, note, this is documented by our own, US, Dept. of Energy - not some fringe web-site or blog.)

Germany, Mike, back then, in war time, with all it's exigencies. Why not the US, and WV, now, when our homeland isn't under siege?

Japan, 1945: 315th Bomb Wing Timeline

Germany wasn't the only Axis power making oil from coal in WWII.
An excerpt:
"23/24 July (1945 - JtM) - (20th Air Force Mission 283, 315th Bomb Wing Mission 9) Seventy-two 315th BW B-29's bomb the coal liquefaction plant at the Imperial Fuel Industry Company at Ube."
Tough, very tough, to find other references abut the Japanese effort - perhaps, to be optimistic, because of language/translation difficulties after the war, whatever.
But, we searched specifically for references to Japan's efforts because Joe's father - you remember Big Arnie, certainly - was a Marine Corps combatant in the Pacific Theater. He insisted, during the 1970's oil crisis, that we, WV, the US, should be making our oil from coal. He knew his enemies during the War had been doing it. Japan's coal-to-oil refinery was a strategic bombing target, just as were Germany's.
We were focused, back then, on destroying coal-to-oil refineries. We should be focused, now, on building them.

Improving Process Performance in Coal Gasification for Power & Synfuel Production

The abstract isn't all that long, so, here it is:

"Improving Process Performances in Coal Gasification for Power and Synfuel Production

M. Sudiro*, A. Bertucco, F. Ruggeri and M. Fontana§
Department of Chemical Engineering (DIPIC), University of Padova, Italy and Foster Wheeler Italiana Spa, Milan, Italy
Energy Fuels, 2008, 22 (6), pp 3894–3901
DOI: 10.1021/ef800293h
Publication Date (Web): September 17, 2008
Copyright © 2008 American Chemical Society
Corresponding author e-mail: maria.sudiro@unipd.it; phone: +39-0498275472; fax: +39-0498275461.
University of Padova.
Foster Wheeler Italiana Spa
Independent Consultant.


This paper is aimed at developing process alternatives of conventional coal gasification. A number of possibilities are presented, simulated, and discussed in order to improve the process performances, to avoid the use of pure oxygen, and to reduce the overall CO2 emissions. The different process configurations considered include both power production, by means of an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant, and synfuel production, by means of Fischer−Tropsch (FT) synthesis. The basic idea is to thermally couple a gasifier, fed with coal and steam, and a combustor where coal is burnt with air, thus overcoming the need of expensive pure oxygen as a feedstock. As a result, no or little nitrogen is present in the syngas produced by the gasifier; the required heat is transferred by using an inert solid as the carrier, which is circulated between the two modules. First, a thermodynamic study of the dual-bed gasification is carried out. Then a dual-bed gasification process is simulated by Aspen Plus, and the efficiency and overall CO22the mass yield of liquid synthetic fuel is increased by 39.4%, the CO2 emissions per unit of liquid fuel are decreased by 31.9% and energy efficiency increases by 71.1%." emissions of the process are calculated and compared with a conventional gasification with oxygen. Eventually, the scheme with two reactors (gasifier-combustor) is coupled with an IGCC process. The simulation of this plant is compared with that of a conventional IGCC, where the gasifier is fed by high purity oxygen. According to the newly proposed configuration, the global plant efficiency increases by 27.9% and the CO emissions decrease by 21.8%, with respect to the performances of a conventional IGCC process. As a second possibility, the same gasifier−combustor scheme is coupled with a coal-to-liquid (CTL) process to convert the syngas into synthetic fuels by a FT reactor. It is shown that, if compared with a conventional CTL plant,

Now, we've referred you previously to the work being performed by Maria Sudiro and her colleagues at the University of Padua, and one or two of their publications. We don't think this is entry is a repeat, but we submit it only to emphasize the point that some pretty serious work is being done in the development and refinement of coal-to-liquid fuel technology - even in places where coal isn't the bedrock of the economy, as it is in West Virginia.

CTL is quite real, Mike, and represents an option for the United States, for West Virginia, to stem the siphoning of our wealth to the oil-producing nations, and to, through coal-to-liquid technology which can ultimately be applied to biological feedstocks, pave the way to truly renewable sources of fuel and energy.