Saturday, August 21, 2010

Oxy Morons and Oxy Combustion

Another boondoggle is coming our way courtesy of our government and the clean coal business coalition. These clean coal proponents have finally abandoned the four billion dollar boondoggle in Mattoon Illinois to gasify coal and then burn the gas in a combined cycle turbine to generate electricity. Their original idea that is finally kaput was called “Futuregen”. Yes our department of entropy finally killed that dog of a project. But like a worm with its head cut off the clean coal crowd has made a comeback for a one billion dollar even dumber project. This scaled back Futergen 2 clean coal project will build a 200 megawatt power generation station to burn coal with oxygen instead of air.

The sponsors of the project that the DOE will fund are the following companies: Ameren Energy Resources Company LLC; Babcock Wilcox Company; and Air Liquide. I am very familiar with the latter two companies. Babcock and Wilcox designed and built the famous Three Mile Island nuclear power station near Harrisburg Pennsylvania that came as close to making Philadelphia into a fried chicken center as did Chernobyl ruin Kiev. I was the VP of Strategic Planning for Air Liquide in Paris France back in 1987 and my knick name for them is Leaky Air. I do not know anything about Ameren Resources so I will not opine on the company except to say that they are the third musketeer who dreamed up the scheme called “oxy fired coal power with permanent carbon capture and storage”. The proposed "clean coal" project is an oxymoron with us being the morons that are paying for it.

I copied the following from Babcock Wilcox’s web site:

CHARLOTTE, August 5, 2010
Ameren Energy Resources Company, LLC (AER) - the holding company for merchant generation for Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE); The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) (NYSE:BWC); and Air Liquide Process & Construction, Inc. (Air Liquide), have been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) clean coal power program to negotiate the installation of the world's first full-scale oxy-coal-fired power plant that includes permanent carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage (CCS).
Proposed funding for the project - known as FutureGen 2.0 - would supplement the construction and operating costs of a 200-megawatt, near-zero emissions generating facility to be located at Ameren's Meredosia Plant near Jacksonville, Ill.
The project is designed to produce clean energy from coal by capturing and storing approximately 1.3 million tons of CO2 each year, or 90 percent of the plant's carbon dioxide emissions.
If the project is accepted and regulatory approvals are received, the next steps would be the negotiation of a cooperative agreement with DOE, followed by a six-month initial design process and analysis of costs. Construction is expected to begin in 2012 with a targeted completion date in the third quarter 2015. Construction of this new facility and its related components is expected to bring 900 temporary and permanent jobs to the Central Illinois area.
The AER plant would use an innovative oxy-coal carbon capture technology developed by B&W in collaboration with Air Liquide. The oxy-coal combustion process uses oxygen instead of air during combustion, producing flue gas composed of nearly pure CO2, which is suitable for compression and storage. B&W and Air Liquide have successfully pilot-tested oxy-coal combustion at B&W's research facility in Alliance, Ohio, supported by Air Liquide's technology developments at its R&D facility in Newark, Delaware.
"We've teamed up with B&W and Air Liquide on this important project for a number of reasons," said Charles Naslund, president and chief executive officer of AER. "B&W's oxy-coal combustion system, when coupled with Air Liquide's ASU and CO2purification and compression technologies, can reduce a plant's carbon dioxide and other air emissions to near-zero levels."
"This project is a major step forward for America's clean energy future, and AER is an ideal project partner," said B&W Chief Executive Officer Brandon Bethards. "Their commitment to the implementation of clean energy technologies and the production of low-cost power for their customers utilizing coal generation makes this an excellent opportunity for us."
"Air Liquide is at the forefront of oxy-combustion technology, helping to make clean energy a reality," said Chris Lloyd-Jones, chairman and CEO of Air Liquide Process and Construction, Inc. "We are proud to be working with the DOE, Ameren and B&W on this critical step toward viable clean energy solutions for the United States"
B&W, AER and Air Liquide agree that support from the DOE program is critical to the success of the proposed repowering project."

Ok so we have 90% reduction in the carbon dioxide from the 200 megawatt station. The station will cost one billion dollars. Now let’s calculate how much power the station will generate net of the power consumed by the air separation facility to produce the oxygen. I estimate the station will consume 4,000 tons a day of oxygen. To produce a ton of oxygen gas requires approximately 300 kilowatt hours so each day the oxygen production system will siphon off 1.2 million kilowatt hours. Converting the 200 megawatts of gross generation to kilowatt hours per day we arrive at 4.8 million kilowatt hours generated per day. Therefore one quarter of the power of the generation station is lost to the oxygen production. I estimate the compression energy to store the carbon dioxide at another 5% of the power generated by the station. This results in a total loss of 30% of the energy dropping the capacity of the station from 200 megawatts to 140 megawatts to store 90% of the carbon dioxide with an investment of a billion dollars.

The utility can build a 140 megawatt natural gas fired generation station for about $110 million. This station will emit 717 pounds of carbon dioxide for each megawatt hour generated. In a year operating 350 days at 24 hours a day the 140 megawatt hour natural gas fired station will emit 422 thousand tons of carbon dioxide. The oxymoronic coal fired plant will emit 144 thousand tons a year of carbon dioxide for a net savings of 278,000 tons per year. This cost us the US tax payer an extra 890 million dollars. Let’s pretend the US government is a business and demands a 5 year payout to fund projects. This implies the added investment is amortized at 178 million dollars a year or a rate of 640 dollars per ton of carbon dioxide saved. The proposed market value under Alaric the Second King of the Visigores in his cap and trade (actual crap and tirade) is about $20 a ton of carbon dioxide. Sounds right our government will spend $640 for something that is worth $20 and borrow the extra $620 from the Chinese to fund the shortfall. This idiotic project will prove nothing other than oxygen can combust coal. I knew that in first grade. There will be no learning from the project we already know how to separate air, how to combust coal, and how to compress and store carbon dioxide. For this project to equal the cost of $20 a ton of carbon dioxide, we the tax payers will have to wait 160 years for our payout. That will be forty presidential elections from now. I am old and I am tired of the nonsense out of DC so I will simply vote out the Oxy Morons in our government in the next election.

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