Arno's EnergyIdeas (29)
Old U.S. coal-fired power plant overflowed, new U.S. president inaugurated
On 22 December 2008, the rupture of an internal dam at a coal-fired power plant near Kingston in Tennessee / USA gave way to some four billion liters of fly ash to destroy twelve houses. Approximately 160 hectares of land were overflooded. A large part of the ash emerged into Emory River, a tributary of the Tennessee River, which for many people is used for water supply in that area.
Caption: "Dust Suppression Schematic" is the original trivializing caption of this graphic. (Source: Tennessee Valley Authority, Knoxville, TN, USA)
The ash, resulting from burning of coal in the process to produce electricity, is highly contaminated with mercury and other chemicals. It is usually stored near the power plants. This power plant in Tennessee is 40 years old, it is owned and operated by the local power company Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).
While national and international media reported about the issue rather reluctant, local blogs featured the disaster with more detailed information. The Media platform, "Democracy Now" released a film report. The accident occurred in a phase, were, in the U.S. (and also in Germany)
increasing discussion are placed on the future use of "clean coal", so-called clean coal
CO2 capture....The technology for CO2 capture (CCS) is being used internationally as an argument for the implemenation of new, so-called clean coal power plants.This is, however, even according to the energy suppliers, can be feasible only at the earliest in 10 to 20 years in full commercial use.
In todays electricty processes, fly ash is produced in large quantities as residue combustion plants, incinerators, mostly in thermal power plants. The ash must be filtered and has to be removed from the flue gases. The composition of fly ash depends heavily on the original fuel used (brown coal or hard coal) and extends from residual carbon and minerals to toxic substances such as heavy metals (arsenic to zinc) and dioxins. Fly ash can, for example beeing used as an additive in cement and concrete or as a filler in the building industry.
What to do now? Various manufacturing processes to produce real clean electricity has existed for more than thirty years, but they are, protected by law in most countries, suppressed in the hands of power companies. These electrical or power utilities, understandably, are defending their monopoly with all means. The support by the politicians and administratians, mostly based on sheer lack of understanding, is supporting them. This is the same procedure all over the world. With such a movement, we will never reach a new energy supply system. First class technical possibilities for a decentralized, individual production and supply of electricity and power for mobility, are avilable now. Now the time has come to apply and to use them. The next generations will thank us for doing so. If it is not too late for doing so, already.
Was there anything else? Oh yes, in the United States of America, Barack Obama, the 44th President has moved with his family into the White House in Washington, DC. Congratulations. The new Website of the White House went online at the minute of the swearing in on January 22, 2009. Regarding the topics energy and environment, not too much new is to be found here: Obama's staff have, at this time, only done little work here. They simply copied one to one with copy / paste the text of their former campaign website to the new White House Site.
Here also the somewhat confusing passage about hybrid vehicles is showing up again: Quote from www.whitehouse.gov: "... Put 1 million Plug-In Hybrid cars - cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon - on the road by 2015, cars that we will work to make sure are built here in America ... " End quote.
50 miles per gallon works out to a use of 1.57 liter per 100km. That is challenging. However one million new cars are rather negligible, compared with the 53 million cars produced in 2007 worldwide. Of these, however, only 3.9 million were produced in the U.S., which is a meager 7.35 percent of the world`s car production (for comparison - Japan: 18.75 percent; China: 12 percent; Germany: 10.75 percent share in world car production). It therefore remains still exciting, in which direction the trend is going to head soon. The customer will decide.
The crucial phrase for the President Elected was actually already decected ahead of the inauguration: "We can not change Washington from inside Washington ..." This will probably be the hardest job for the New President. Oh yes: The words Hydrogen and Fuel Cells are not at all mentioned on the White House web site currently. "Clean coal" is however. Quote: "... Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology ..." Yes, we can.
Links to the news:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/energy_and_environment http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennessee_coal_sludge_spill http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2008/12/25/us/20081225_SLUDGE_GRAPHIC.html http://www.democracynow.org/2008/12/24/spill_at_tennessee_coal_plant_creates
Caption: "Dust Suppression Schematic" is the original trivializing caption of this graphic.
(Source: Tennessee Valley Authority, Knoxville, TN, USA)