They are not banning CTL because it's impractical.
They are banning only smaller CTL projects being undertaken by individual provinces because it's too profitable, and Beijing wants all those profits, and the control, for itself.
A key excerpt:
"CTL is a profitable investment because of high petroleum prices compared to cheaper coal although the process wastes vast amounts of water and releases more carbon dioxide.
(As we've noted extensively, those "wastes" can be put to good, profitable use - via several processes - as raw material for more fuel or valuable chemicals. - JtM)

Coal is converted from a solid to a gaseous form through catalysis. The resulting product can then be used as fuel for electricity or as raw material for chemical products.

“Many investors divide their big CTL projects into smaller ones, so that they can be approved by local governments eager to get tax revenues from the profitable projects,” said Han Jun, a coal analyst for the chemical industry website Chemistry World.

In China, local governments are authorized to clear projects costing under RMB100 million yuan."

Remember, China has 88 CTL plants on the books in the current 5-year plan.



"Abstract : The use of alternate fuels in heating and power plants is one activity supporting Air Force long-range objectives to become more energy efficient and reduce dependency on petroleum products. Within the solid fuel conversion effort, goals have been set for increasing the percentage of total installation energy provided by coal and its products, refuse-derived fuels, biomass, and wood. To encourage development of alternate fuel use and gain operating experience, WPAFB undertook a thirty-month evaluation/demonstration of dRDF as a stoker boiler fuel in military heating plants (starting in May, 1979). This thesis examines the impact on plant operating expenses of burning coal:dRDF mixtures at that particular base. The figures for comparison were generated by a simulation model of the WPAFB heating system and environment. Projected yearly operating expenses were accumulated in the model and returned to present values for various fuel ratios, inflation rates, and discount factors. Under the assumptions made within the model, coal alone will remain less expensive to use than a mixture with dRDF until a local source of dRDF becomes available."
As it should be clear, "RFD" means "refuse-derived fuel". We've noted the Air Force's extensive coal-to-liquid aviation fuel activity at Wright-Pat and Malstrom, in partnership with the Universities of Dayton and North Dakota. Now, as we've been suggesting, WPAFB is examining the very real organic fuel value of coal mine refuse.
There are constructive, even profitable, ways to clean up our messes.
Let's stop wringing our hands and bickering, and get to work.
Coal can do that.


An excerpt from the linked page:
Cambria Cogeneration Company

This 85 MW, base load, circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boiler plant is a Qualifying Facility that began commercial operations in March 1991. It has an agreement to supply power to Pennsylvania Electric Company until March 2011. The waste coal burned by the plant helps eliminate the source of acid water run-off from waste coal piles in the area and the ash produced by the plant is used beneficially to restore the landscape after removal of the waste coal.

As we've been attempting to explain, there is actual fuel value in coal mine waste - as exemplified by the Schuylkill waste-to-oil facility.
Another fact that might not be well know is that at least some coal mine refuse can used as power plant fuel - if the appropriate designs and combustion processes are utilized.
The Cambria facility noted herein is just one of more than a dozen such facilities already operating in Pennsylvania. They are generating electricity with coal mine refuse as part of their feed, and cleaning up the environment at the same time.

Some excerpts:
"Honeywell's work will be closely monitored by NYSDEC. The Harbor Brook project will eliminate specific sources of contamination to Harbor Brook and Onondaga Lake. The second and third projects - at Wastebeds 1-8 (near the State Fairgrounds parking area) and at the "Nine Mile Creek Dredge Spoils Area" - will determine whether any additional flow of contaminants into the lake is likely at those large sites. The Semet Tar Ponds project will examine the feasibility of converting a coal tar byproduct into an alternate fuel...

The Semet Tar Ponds project has already been intensely studied and cleanup efforts have long been under way.

In the summer of 1995, Honeywell performed an interim remediation effort by putting a temporary cover on the Semet Tar Ponds, primarily to reduce emissions and odors. This cover is replaced annually. Honeywell also launched a scientific investigation into the characteristics of the materials there, leading to the discovery of a way to convert the Semet tar material into a high-BTU-content fuel. Pilot studies have proven that this hazardous waste can be safely recycled."

One of Honeywell's early enterprises was the manufacture of various products from coal tar - and, they were obviously careless about what they did with the wastes. But, here we have a case somewhat analogous to the Schuylkill, PA, coal-mine-refuse-to-liquid-fuel enterprise.

It emphasizes the point that there is value in coal waste. We should start looking at it as a resource, and focus our efforts on ways to use it constructively, rather than waste our time, as well as this potentially valuable asset, defending ourselves against the, sometimes justified, charges of environmental activists.



Seems odd that the Idaho National Laboratory should be the facility studying the Wellsville, OH, CTL facility. But, there has seemed nothing logical, at all, to us about the entire CTL story since we began studying it.
However, the important thing is that stuff is, somehow, getting done.
In any case, we're still studying the environmental issues surrounding coal conversion, and are growing increasingly convinced that the environmentalists who are protesting are doing so because they're being funded by Big Oil - who, we think, killed the 1970's Synfuel plant south of Moundsville.
Coal conversion still sounds like a promising way to clean things up, as in this statement, excerpted from the enclosed link:

"According to the year-long INL study of the Ohio River Clean Fuels project modeling, Baard’s CTL fuels will yield 46 percent less emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases than conventional low-sulfur diesel transportation fuels. (Carbon dioxide emission reductions are achieved using a 30 percent biomass co-feed, carbon capture and storage technology, and combined cycle, co-generation processes.) All emission reductions documented in the study were measured on a wells-to-wheels basis using the Argonne National Lab GREET (Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation) model of transportation fuels.

The INL study demonstrates that CTL fuels produce dramatically fewer emissions of regulated pollutants when compared to low-sulfur diesel fuel. Baard’s virtually sulfur-free CTL fuel will reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide by more than 80 percent and cut nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 20 percent. In addition, INL found that Baard’s CTL fuel will reduce particulate matter emissions by nearly 20 percent, slash emissions of volatile organic compounds by close to 20 percent and also reduce emissions of carbon monoxide...".

Yeah, yeah, we know - there is the biomass co-feed stipulation, but we've been urging that, anyway. And, instead of storage, we can use the CO2, along with waste heat, to generate the needed biomass.


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