Author Topic: The beginning of the end for coal  (Read 16567 times)

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Offline DenzilPenberthyTopic starter

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The beginning of the end for coal
« on: May 11, 2016, 09:21:35 am »
Last night between around midnight and 5:00am the UK generated *zero* coal fired electricity. As far as I can tell  that's the first time that has happened since the first power station was built!

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

Interesting times!
 

Offline Kjelt

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2016, 10:18:46 am »
Good for your country  :-+ Our country has in recent years just opened a few of coal powered electricity plants  :palm:
 

Offline DenzilPenberthyTopic starter

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2016, 09:46:31 am »
We seem to be coal free during the day today as well! Nothing since midnight last night.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2016, 10:15:03 am »
When I just checked Gridwatch, UK power was being generated:
  • 16.66GW (54%) by CCGT stations.
  • 6.6GW (20.38%) by nuclear stations
  • 2GW (6.48%) from France (mostly nuclear stations)
  • 2.04GW from biomass stations
  • 2.99GW (9.96%) from wind power
  • Some amount from PV which they can't record centrally
Getting the coal to zero isn't in itself very impressive, when generation is still dominated by other traditional generating schemes. With the UK's coal industry having been run to near zero, its just a cost play between burning gas, oil or coal.
 

Offline Kjelt

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2016, 10:48:13 am »
Getting the coal to zero isn't in itself very impressive, when generation is still dominated by other traditional generating schemes. With the UK's coal industry having been run to near zero, its just a cost play between burning gas, oil or coal. 
I am absolutely no expert but at least I thought burning gas produces less waste than coal. Anyway there are talks in our country to capture the CO2 from the plants and store them in empty gasfields.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2016, 11:08:21 am »
Getting the coal to zero isn't in itself very impressive, when generation is still dominated by other traditional generating schemes. With the UK's coal industry having been run to near zero, its just a cost play between burning gas, oil or coal. 
I am absolutely no expert but at least I thought burning gas produces less waste than coal. Anyway there are talks in our country to capture the CO2 from the plants and store them in empty gas fields.
Coal is almost pure carbon, so it burns to CO2 and little else. Oil and gas are hydrocarbons, so they burn to some CO2 and some water. There's less CO2, but there's still an awful lot. What other nasty stuff gets thrown into the atmosphere depends on the trace materials in the fuel, which varies a lot with its exact source.

There has been lots of talk of sequestering CO2 underground for years. There have been experimental systems, but the last time I looked there didn't seem to be any still running. It isn't as easy as someone looking for funding might suggest.
 

Offline DenzilPenberthyTopic starter

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2016, 11:38:41 am »
I would disagree and say it is impressive. It's certainly not a finished job but until recently coal was the main source of our electricity. In fact if you hover over the coal gauge on the gridwatch site, you'll see that it still states coal is the largest contributor to the UK grid.

Most of our coal plant has been shut down now due to the EU large combustion plant directive.

Yes, we're burning gas instead but CO2 emissions and air pollution are much lower from gas. I don't think we have any oil stations left at all, even mothballed ones.
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2016, 12:44:37 pm »
I live in Australia, the land'o'plenty, and the land of the world's dumbest politicians. No such luck for us.
 

Offline DenzilPenberthyTopic starter

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2016, 03:07:37 pm »
If only you lived somewhere with abundant solar resources Dave. Oh and plenty of space, and a demand profile that closely matches insolation because of air conditioners  :-DD

dumbest you spelled 'self-serving and corrupt' wrong, but don't worry we have those everywhere. |O

 

Offline FreddyVictor

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2016, 07:06:49 pm »
yep, solar is definitely the way forward ....  :-\
 

Offline DenzilPenberthyTopic starter

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2016, 09:39:45 am »
 :palm:

 Ah yes I forgot, it's still the 19th Century so we should definitely pretend that climate change, acid rain, ocean acidification, sea level rise, oil spills, tens of thousands of deaths per year from air pollution, massively greater risk to workers, etc etc aren't issues and just keep subsidising huge multinational companies to carry on destroying the planet because it's cheap and easy.

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/new-figures-published-by-the-imf-show-the-uk-provides-more-subsidies-for-fossil-fuels-than-renewables/
 

Offline sarepairman2

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2016, 04:16:12 am »
tick tock your time is up
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2016, 05:24:07 am »
Getting the coal to zero isn't in itself very impressive, when generation is still dominated by other traditional generating schemes. With the UK's coal industry having been run to near zero, its just a cost play between burning gas, oil or coal. 
I am absolutely no expert but at least I thought burning gas produces less waste than coal. Anyway there are talks in our country to capture the CO2 from the plants and store them in empty gas fields.
Coal is almost pure carbon, so it burns to CO2 and little else.

Where are you getting this information?  I actually do this for a living, and I can tell you that is not the case. Maybe if you're talking about the high grade anthracite of yesteryear, but that is not what is used today. We virtually all burn softer coals now, which generally have high ash content, sulfur, mercury, lead, etc. All those must be abated and that results in a fair bit of solid and/or liquid byproduct that must be disposed of. All power plants produce NOx to some degree which also must be abated.

I'm not against coal. Just don't sell it for something it's not. It is nowhere near as clean as natural gas. It's not even in the same universe.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2016, 05:43:48 am by LabSpokane »
 

Offline coppice

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2016, 07:44:42 am »
Getting the coal to zero isn't in itself very impressive, when generation is still dominated by other traditional generating schemes. With the UK's coal industry having been run to near zero, its just a cost play between burning gas, oil or coal. 
I am absolutely no expert but at least I thought burning gas produces less waste than coal. Anyway there are talks in our country to capture the CO2 from the plants and store them in empty gas fields.
Coal is almost pure carbon, so it burns to CO2 and little else.

Where are you getting this information?  I actually do this for a living, and I can tell you that is not the case. Maybe if you're talking about the high grade anthracite of yesteryear, but that is not what is used today. We virtually all burn softer coals now, which generally have high ash content, sulfur, mercury, lead, etc. All those must be abated and that results in a fair bit of solid and/or liquid byproduct that must be disposed of. All power plants produce NOx to some degree which also must be abated.

I'm not against coal. Just don't sell it for something it's not. It is nowhere near as clean as natural gas. It's not even in the same universe.
You know, hacking someone's message so it says something completely different from the original, and then making a similar point to the original yourself, is a really sleazy practice.
 
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Offline LuisLDias

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2016, 12:55:35 am »
In Portugal this year we had 4 days only with renewable energy. I'm very happy that I'm make apart of that. I finish my degree in February and since then have been helping GE energy with the wind farms commissioning as a subcontractor. Fist machine 147m high :D
 
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Offline mikerj

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2016, 05:25:06 pm »
Getting the coal to zero isn't in itself very impressive, when generation is still dominated by other traditional generating schemes. With the UK's coal industry having been run to near zero, its just a cost play between burning gas, oil or coal. 
I am absolutely no expert but at least I thought burning gas produces less waste than coal. Anyway there are talks in our country to capture the CO2 from the plants and store them in empty gas fields.
Coal is almost pure carbon, so it burns to CO2 and little else.

Where are you getting this information?  I actually do this for a living, and I can tell you that is not the case. Maybe if you're talking about the high grade anthracite of yesteryear, but that is not what is used today. We virtually all burn softer coals now, which generally have high ash content, sulfur, mercury, lead, etc. All those must be abated and that results in a fair bit of solid and/or liquid byproduct that must be disposed of. All power plants produce NOx to some degree which also must be abated.

I'm not against coal. Just don't sell it for something it's not. It is nowhere near as clean as natural gas. It's not even in the same universe.
You know, hacking someone's message so it says something completely different from the original, and then making a similar point to the original yourself, is a really sleazy practice.

In what way has he 'hacked' your message?  He simply quoted a statement that you made and explained why it was incorrect.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2016, 05:32:08 pm »
Getting the coal to zero isn't in itself very impressive, when generation is still dominated by other traditional generating schemes. With the UK's coal industry having been run to near zero, its just a cost play between burning gas, oil or coal. 
I am absolutely no expert but at least I thought burning gas produces less waste than coal. Anyway there are talks in our country to capture the CO2 from the plants and store them in empty gas fields.
Coal is almost pure carbon, so it burns to CO2 and little else.

Where are you getting this information?  I actually do this for a living, and I can tell you that is not the case. Maybe if you're talking about the high grade anthracite of yesteryear, but that is not what is used today. We virtually all burn softer coals now, which generally have high ash content, sulfur, mercury, lead, etc. All those must be abated and that results in a fair bit of solid and/or liquid byproduct that must be disposed of. All power plants produce NOx to some degree which also must be abated.

I'm not against coal. Just don't sell it for something it's not. It is nowhere near as clean as natural gas. It's not even in the same universe.
You know, hacking someone's message so it says something completely different from the original, and then making a similar point to the original yourself, is a really sleazy practice.

In what way has he 'hacked' your message?  He simply quoted a statement that you made and explained why it was incorrect.
Did you bother to read what I actually wrote?
 

Offline Marco

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2016, 05:58:21 pm »
English is not my first language, but here's how I interpreted what you said :

Coal is almost pure carbon, so it burns to CO2 and little else.

Okay coal burns to CO2 and little else, guess it's clean.

Quote
Oil and gas are hydrocarbons, so they burn to some CO2 and some water. There's less CO2, but there's still an awful lot. What other nasty stuff gets thrown into the atmosphere depends on the trace materials in the fuel, which varies a lot with its exact source.

Since we already established "Coal is almost pure carbon", "the fuel" must refer to "Oil and gas". Because "Oil and gas" were handled as a separate class there is nothing strange about assuming "the fuel" refers to it, it's the interpretation which makes most logical sense.

I assume most people will agree with me that you said coal burns cleaner than oil and gas, LabSpokane took exception to that and took nothing out of context when quoting you and disputing that. You're certainly getting outvoted here and language is a very democratic process. You should adapt ;)
« Last Edit: August 20, 2016, 06:02:09 pm by Marco »
 

Offline Marco

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2016, 06:08:18 pm »
yep, solar is definitely the way forward ....  :-\

English climate isn't exactly comparable to the Australian climate. The subsidized rooftop and other public/private partnership SNAFUs are hardly relevant IMO.

If Australia wanted and put some moonshot effort behind it they could have 95% of electricity from the Sun in a decade IMO. All the problems are solvable, especially if you're willing to ignore patents.
 

Offline bitslice

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2016, 08:55:01 pm »

Quote
Oil and gas are hydrocarbons, so they burn to some CO2 and some water. There's less CO2, but there's still an awful lot. What other nasty stuff gets thrown into the atmosphere depends on the trace materials in the fuel, which varies a lot with its exact source.

Since we already established "Coal is almost pure carbon", "the fuel" must refer to "Oil and gas". Because "Oil and gas" were handled as a separate class there is nothing strange about assuming "the fuel" refers to it, it's the interpretation which makes most logical sense.

Clearly "materials in the fuel" refers to a solid material like coal, rather than gaseous contaminants, which would normally be referred to as components.

It's taken as a known fact that coal is going to contain more unwanted material since it is just dug up.

{English as a first language}
 

Offline coppice

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2016, 09:02:06 pm »
yep, solar is definitely the way forward ....  :-\

English climate isn't exactly comparable to the Australian climate. The subsidized rooftop and other public/private partnership SNAFUs are hardly relevant IMO.

If Australia wanted and put some moonshot effort behind it they could have 95% of electricity from the Sun in a decade IMO. All the problems are solvable, especially if you're willing to ignore patents.
The English climate may not be comparable to the Australian climate, but the cost of solar hardware has fallen a lot since most of those heavily subsidised installations in the UK were carried out. The hardware is no longer the real cost issue. Its the installation costs which load up the bill, and those haven't really changed. We need greater innovation in safely and securely mounting this stuff to see further improvements in system cost. A roof covered in panels that didn't cost a whole lot to put there doesn't need a huge output to be economically viable.
 
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Offline Marco

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2016, 12:41:50 am »
That's not really relevant to an Australian desert though. You can create automated tracked install bots for a desert, little harder for a rooftop.

I wouldn't bother bulldozing it either, just design the system to be able to follow some contour and put the cleaning robot on a rail.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2016, 12:49:47 am by Marco »
 

Offline Kleinstein

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2016, 03:48:02 pm »
The big trouble with solar power is, that it is not a reliable always on power source. Much of the power comes in a relatively short time around noon. So without extra buffering the grind can only use a limited amount (e.g. 5-10%) of PV. This can be better in sunny places than in foggy England, but this still is a major problem.  Germany (not much more sun than England) already is close to the point where more installed PV is not really helping much, as on sunny days all coal / gas might go off line. So additional PV would have to be turned off for increasing times and thus get less useful output.  Things are a little better with wind-power, but the problem is similar.

The part that is really missing is storage at an competitive price.  It's only the first about 25 % renewable that are easy, as this can work without much extra storage.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2016, 04:22:53 pm »
The big trouble with solar power is, that it is not a reliable always on power source. Much of the power comes in a relatively short time around noon. So without extra buffering the grind can only use a limited amount (e.g. 5-10%) of PV. This can be better in sunny places than in foggy England, but this still is a major problem.  Germany (not much more sun than England) already is close to the point where more installed PV is not really helping much, as on sunny days all coal / gas might go off line. So additional PV would have to be turned off for increasing times and thus get less useful output.  Things are a little better with wind-power, but the problem is similar.

The part that is really missing is storage at an competitive price.  It's only the first about 25 % renewable that are easy, as this can work without much extra storage.
England has very little fog. Where did that idea come from? The tails of pre-1960s London, with its killer smogs? Those are a thing of the past.

What really limits UK solar output is its northern location (obviously) and the large about of dense cloud that much of the country experiences for much of the year. Fluffy white clouds don't produce very heavy shadowing on the ground. However, for much of the time in the UK you can watch endlessly flowing shadow patterns sweep across the ground because of the dense clouds. In many places you can also hear endless creaking from houses as thing like plastic guttering heat and cool as each cloud passes.

As for storage, you are spot on. Look at any objective breakdown of what a country would need to do to achieve a high level of renewable energy, such as "Without the Hot Air". The potential methods of achieving a consistent flow of energy at the right time dominate the arguments made. Right now renewable energy schemes aren't even trying to hook in to traditional energy storage methods that many people already possess, such as well insulated hot water tanks. Sometimes the best use of spare PV energy would be to feed it to the grid. Sometimes the grid can't make good use of it, and it would be better to do something like heat water locally. Nothing currently manages this kind of dynamic resource allocation, so it just doesn't happen.
 

Offline vodka

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Re: The beginning of the end for coal
« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2016, 04:41:58 pm »
That's not really relevant to an Australian desert though. You can create automated tracked install bots for a desert, little harder for a rooftop.

I wouldn't bother bulldozing it either, just design the system to be able to follow some contour and put the cleaning robot on a rail.

And you too can clean and polish the solar panels when it produced a sand storm on desert, because if the wind blows little strong ,the sand can scratch the panels you imagine a storm.
The most logical would be to build a mirror tower plant on a tropical zone ,it can produce as much energy as a central nuclear
« Last Edit: August 21, 2016, 04:55:32 pm by vodka »
 


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