Google analytics tag

Showing posts with label Carbon price. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carbon price. Show all posts

Friday, January 3, 2014

Coal may be the Problem and the Solution too!

Can renewable energy really stop GHG emissions and global warming? Renewable energy is slowly but steadily becoming a choice of energy of the people due to its potential to reduce GHG emissions and global warming. The changing weather pattern around the world in recent times are testimony for such a warming globe. Can renewable energy really reduce the GHG emissions and reduce the global warming predicted by scientists? Thousands of large coal- fired power plants are already under implementation or planning stages. According to World’s resources institute, their key findings are : 1. According to IEA estimates, global coal consumption reached 7,238 million tonnes in 2010. China accounted for 46 percent of consumption, followed by the United States (13 percent), and India (9 percent). 2. According to WRI’s estimates, 1,199 new coal-fired plants, with a total installed capacity of 1,401,278 megawatts (MW), are being proposed globally. These projects are spread across 59 countries. China and India together account for 76 percent of the proposed new coal power capacities. 3. New coal-fired plants have been proposed in 10 developing countries: Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Laos, Morocco, Namibia, Oman, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan. Currently, there is limited or no capacity for domestic coal production in any of these countries. 4. Our analysis found that 483 power companies have proposed new coal-fired plants. With 66 proposed projects, Huaneng (Chinese) has proposed the most, followed by Guodian (Chinese), and NTPC (Indian). 5. The “Big Five” Chinese power companies (Datang, Huaneng, Guodian, Huadian, and China Power Investment) are the world’s biggest coal-fired power producers, and are among the top developers of proposed new coal-fired plants. 6. State-owned power companies play a dominant role in proposing new coal-fired plant projects in China, Turkey, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Africa, Czech Republic and many other countries. 7. Chinese, German, and Indian power companies are notably increasingly active in transnational coal-fired project development. 8. According to IEA estimates, the global coal trade rose by 13.4 percent in 2010, reaching 1,083 million tonnes. 9. The demands of the global coal trade have shifted from the Atlantic market (driven by Germany, the United Kingdom, France and the United States) to the Pacific market (driven by Japan, China, South Korea, India and Taiwan). In response to this trend, many new infrastructure development projects have been proposed. 10. Motivated by the growing Pacific market, Australia is proposing to increase new mine and new port capacity up to 900 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) — three times its current coal export capacity. The above statistics is a clear indication that GHG emissions by these new coal-fired power plants will increase substantially. A rough estimation indicates that these new plants will emit Carbon dioxide at the rate of 1.37 mil tons of CO2/hr or 9.90 billion tons of CO2 /yr in addition to the existing 36.31 Gigatons/yr (36.31 billion tons/yr) in 2009. (According to If this is true, the total CO2 emissions will double in less than 4 years. If the capacity of new PV solar plants are also increased substantially then the CO2 emissions from PV solar plants will also contribute additionally to the above. There is no way the CO2 reduction to the 2002 level can be achieved and the world will be clearly heading for disastrous consequences due to climate change. The best option to reduce GHG emissions while meeting the increasing power demand around the world will be to recycle the Carbon emissions in the form of a Hydrocarbon with the help of Hydrogen. The cheapest source of Hydrogen is coal. The world has no better option than gasifying the coal instead of combusting the coal. Capturing Carbon and recycling it as a fuel : Solar power, wind power and other renewable energies generated 6.5% of the world’s power in 2012. This is part of a rising trend , but there is a very long way to go before renewable sources generate as much energy as coal and other fossil fuels. Solar panel of 1m2 size requires 2.4kg of high grade silica and Coke and it consumes 1050 Kwh of electricity, mostly generated by fossil fuel based power plants. But 1m2 solar panel can generate only 150kwh/yr and it will require at least 7 years to generate the power used to produce 1m2 solar panel in the first place. More solar panels mean more electricity consumption and more GREEN HOUSE GAS EMISSIONS.A large quantity of CO2 will have to be emitted into the atmosphere for the production of several GW (Giga- watts) of solar power.With thousands of newly planned and implemented coal fired power plants in the near future the greenhouse gas emission is likely to go up. It could take at least thirty years before renewable energy is as strong in the marketplace as non-renewable sources. In consequence, there is a need to use fossil fuels more effectively and less detrimentally until the renewables can play a major role in global energy production. One approach tried for more than a decade has been carbon capture, which stops polluting materials getting into the atmosphere; however subsequent storage of the collected materials can make this process expensive. Now an Australian based company has gone one step further and designed a process that not only collects CO2 emissions, but also turns it into a fuel by using the same coal! Clean Energy and Water Technologies has developed an innovative solution to avoid carbon emissions from power plants. The novel approach uses coal to capture carbon dioxide emissions (CO2 ) from coal-fired power plants and convert them into synthetic natural gas (SNG). Synthetic natural gas would then replace coal as a fuel for further power generation and the cycle would continue. No coal is required for further power generation. Through this method, the captured Carbon could be recycled again and again in the form of a Hydrocarbon fuel (SNG) with no harmful gas emissions. Carbon is an asset and not a liability. If Carbon is simply burnt away just to generate heat and power then it is a bad science, because the same Carbon can be used to generate several products by simply recycling it instead of venting out into the atmosphere. Carbon is the backbone of all valuable products we use every day from plastics to life saving drugs! As well as seeking a patent for this breakthrough innovation, Clean Energy and Water Technologies is seeking investment for a demonstration plant. Once demonstrated, it would then be possible to retrofit current coal-fired power stations with the new technology, increasing their economic sustainability and reducing their impact on the environment. 1. The Economic Pressures : Power is an integral part of human civilization. With the steady increase in human population and industrialization the demands for energy and clean water has reached unprecedented levels. The gap between the demand and supply is steadily pushing the cost of power and water higher, whilst the supply of coal, oil and gas is dwindling. The prospect of climate change has compounded problems. Many countries around the world have started to use renewable energy such as solar, wind, hydro and geo-thermal power; but emerging economies such as India and China are unable to meet their demands without using fossil fuels. At present, it is far cheaper to use the existing infrastructures associated with non-renewable energy, such as coal-fired power stations. Renewable energy sources are intermittent in nature and require large storage and large initial investment, with sophisticated technologies pushing the cost of investment higher. Governments could use environmental tariffs on power use to help make renewable energy more competitive, but politicians know that the public tend to not like such an approach. 2. Demonstration Plant: The estimated investment required for a demonstration plant is likely to be $10 million; however the potential for a good return on investment is high, as shown by the following estimation for a 100MW plant. • A 100MW coal-fired power plant will emit 98 Mt/hr CO2 • Coal consumption will be about 54Mt/hr • To convert 98Mt/hr CO2 into SNG, the plant needs to generate 390,000m3/hr syngas by coal gasification. • The gasification plant will require 336 Mt/hr coal and 371 m3/hr water. • The net water requirement will be : 95.70m3/hr • The SNG generated by the above plant will be : 95,700m3/hr and steam as by-product : 115Mt/hr. • Potentially SNG can generate a gross power of 500 MWS by a Gas turbine with combined cycle operation. • The plant can generate 500MW (five times more than the coal-fired plant) from CO2 emissions. • Existing 100MW coal fired power plant can use SNG in place of coal and sell the surplus SNG to consumers. • Surplus SNG will be about 75,000 m3/hr.( 2400 mm Btu/hr) with sale value of $36,000/hr. @ $15/mmBtu. • Annual sales revenue from sale of surplus SNG will be : $ 300 mil/yr. • The entire cost of coal gasification and SNG plant can be recovered back in less than 5 years. 3. Carbon Capture and Storage : Carbon capture and storage is the process of capturing waste carbon dioxide (CO2 ) from large point sources, such as fossil fuel power plants, transporting it to a storage site, and depositing it where it will not enter the atmosphere, normally an underground geological formation. The aim is to prevent the release of large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere. It is a potential means of mitigating the contribution of fossil fuel emissions to global warming and ocean acidification. The long term storage of CO2 is a relatively new concept. The first commercial example was Wey burn in 2000. Carbon capture and storage applied to a modern conventional power plant could reduce CO2 emissions to the atmosphere by approximately 80–90%, but may increase the fuel needs of a coal-fired plant by 25–40%. These and other system costs are estimated to increase the cost of the energy produced by 21–91% for purpose built plants. Applying the technology to existing plants could be even more expensive. 4. Global Warming : Global warming is the rise in the average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans since the late 19th century and its projected continuation. Since the early 20th century, Earth's mean surface temperature has increased by about 0.8 °C (1.4 °F), with about two-thirds of the increase occurring since 1980. Scientists are more than 90% certain that it is primarily caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases produced by human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels by coal-fired power plants. 5. Greenhouse Gases Without the earth's atmosphere the temperature across almost the entire surface of the earth would be below freezing. The major greenhouse gases are water vapour, which causes about 36–70% of the greenhouse effect; carbon dioxide (CO2 ), which causes 9–26%; methane (CH4), which causes 4–9%; and ozone (O3), which causes 3–7%. According to work published in 2007, the concentrations of CO2 and methane have increased by 36% and 148% respectively since 1750. These levels are much higher than at any time during the last 800,000 years, the period for which reliable data has been extracted from ice cores. 6. The Future of Global Warming?: Climate model projections were summarized in the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They indicated that during the 21st century the global surface temperature is likely to rise a further 1.1 to 2.9 °C (2 to 5.2 °F) for their lowest emissions scenario and 2.4 to 6.4 °C (4.3 to 11.5 °F) for their highest. 7. The Impact of Global Warming? : Future climate change and associated impacts will vary from region to region around the globe. The effects of an increase in global temperature include a rise in sea levels and a change in the amount and pattern of precipitation, as well a probable expansion of subtropical deserts. Warming is expected to be strongest in the Arctic and would be associated with the continuing retreat of glaciers, permafrost and sea ice. Other likely effects of the warming include a more frequent occurrence of extreme weather events including heat waves, droughts and heavy rainfall, ocean acidification and species extinctions due to shifting temperature regimes. There is a divided opinion among scientists on climate science. Major power consuming countries like the US, Europe, Japan and Australia are reluctant to sign the Kyoto Protocol and agree to a legally binding agreement. This has resulted in non-cooperation among the nations and the world is divided on this issue. Such disagreement has hampered development of non-renewable energy. Ahilan Raman is the inventor of the innovative process mentioned in the article. If you have any further questions or like to become a part of this innovative technology, please feel free to contact him directly by writing to this blog.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Flawed Carbon pricing and the cost of global warming

The climate is changing with increasing global warming caused by man-made Carbon emission. The economic impact of global warming can no longer be ignored by Governments around the world because it is impacting their budget bottom lines. Weather is becoming unpredictable. Even if Meteorological department predicts a disaster 24 hrs in advance, there is nothing Governments can do to prevent human and economic losses within a short span of time but evacuate people to safety leaving behind all their properties. Governments are forced to allocate funds for disaster management every year caused by severe draughts, unprecedented snow falls, and coastal erosion by rising sea levels, flash flooding, inundation and power black outs. We often hear people saying,” we were completely taken by surprise by this event and we have never seen anything like this in the last 50 years” after every naturals disasters explaining the nature and scale of disasters. Nature is forcing Governments to allocate more funds for disaster managements and such allocations have reached unprecedented levels. The cost of natural disasters around the world in 2011 was estimated at $ 400 billion and in 2012 it was estimated at $160 billion. The only way to fund these disasters is to tax Carbon pollution which causes global warming. Countries should take long term decisions that will save their current and future generations to come. They should understand how Carbon is emitted and what the best way to curb such emissions is. It is a global issue and its requires a collective solution. There is no use of pricing Carbon when economic recession can jeopardize the pricing mechanism? Global warming is a moral and social issue and not just an economic issue. Developed countries have been emitting bulk of the Carbon since industrial revolution while developing countries such as India and China were emitting less carbon in spite of their vast population due to their lowest per capita consumption. But that trend has now changed with rapid industrialization and economic growth of India and China and other developing economies. Australia is still a leading emitter of Carbon in the world in spite of their low population because of their high energy consumption, availability of cheap and high quality Coal and increasing mining, industrial and agricultural activities. That is why Australia is one of the first few countries who introduced Carbon tax while rest of the countries is still debating about it. Now it is clear that Carbon emission is directly proportional to industrial, economic and population growth of a country and it can be easily quantified based on the growth rate of each country. It is time countries agree to cut their Carbon emissions to sustainable levels with a realistic Carbon pricing mechanism and sign a world-wide treaty through UN. “THE EUROPEAN UNION carbon emissions trading scheme—the biggest in the world and the heart of Europe’s climate- change program—is in dire straits. The scheme’s carbon price has collapsed. The primary reason: The economic recession has suppressed manufacturing, thereby reducing emissions and creating a huge over- supply of carbon emissions allowances. Carbon trading is a market approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in which each facility involved is given an emissions cap for the year, and each year that cap is reduced. A firm must record and report its facilities’ emissions and must obtain allowances for its total emissions. An allowance permits a facility to emit 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide or its carbon equivalent; some allowances are given for free by the government, others can be bought at auction or from other firms. If a facility exceeds its cap, the company operating it has options: It can reduce emissions, buy allowances from other companies, or obtain allowance offsets by reducing emissions at another pollution source. The cost of an allowance is referred to as the carbon price and is driven by market conditions such as supply and demand. If the low carbon price continues, the region’s ability to meet long-term reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions will be severely hampered because the trading scheme will fail to provide money for clean-tech programs and incentive for manufactures to adopt cleaner technologies. The trading scheme is a key component of the EU’s climate-change strategy because about 40% of all greenhouse gases emitted in the region fall under EU’s control. The mandatory scheme applies to 11,000 industrial installations, including power plants and major chemical facilities, across all 27 member states, as well as in Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. The aviation sector has been included in the scheme, but its active participation has been deferred to allow for an international agreement on aviation emissions, which is expected to be concluded in the fall. The goal of the European Commission, the EU’s administrative body and the architect of the emissions trading scheme, is to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020. To contribute toward this goal, the trading scheme has targeted a 21% cut in the emissions of participating sectors by 2020 from a 2005 baseline. In recent weeks, however, the EU carbon price dropped to a new low of $5.20 for each metric ton allowance of CO2, down from a high of $23 in 2011. This is despite an annual reduction of the EU emissions cap of 1.74% through 2020 and the introduction on Jan. 1 of a new phase of the scheme requiring companies to purchase allowances. AT ITS CURRENT carbon price, the EU emission scheme’s role in encouraging chemical firms to ditch fossil fuels and adopt greener technologies “is meaningless,” says AndrĂ© Veneman, director of sustainability at AkzoNobel. Many of the industry’s investments in low-carbon technologies that are marginally financially viable also will likely be delayed, he says. Without a strong carbon price, the underlying push to clean-tech in the EU will come only from the price of oil, Veneman adds. Veneman and other experts say that a carbon price of between $68 and $135 is required if industry as a whole is to be forced to shift onto a new low-carbon footing. Yvo de Boer, special global adviser for climate change and sustainability for KPMG—an audit, tax, and advisory firm—and form EUROPEAN SCHEME IS IN FREE FALL Record-low CARBON PRICE threatens to derail transition away from fossil fuels and ability to meet climate-change targets.” Source: EUROPEAN SCHEME IS IN FREE FALL Record-low CARBON PRICE threatens to derail transition away from fossil fuels and ability to meet climate-change targets ALEX SCOTT, C&EN LONDO The burden of Carbon tax should be borne by both power generators as well as consumers. Even if the Carbon tax is imposed on emitters it will eventually be passed on to consumers. Either way the cost of energy will increase steeply and there is no way to avoid such escalation if we want to maintain our power consumption levels or our current life style. In other words people will have to pay penalty for polluting the air either by generating or consuming power that causes Carbon pollution. All developed countries that have been polluting the atmosphere with Carbon emission should be taxed retrospectively from the time of industrial revolution so that emerging countries need not bear the full cost of global warming. Such a fund should be used for developing renewable and clean energy technologies or to purchase Carbon allowances. Current mechanism of Carbon pricing does not penalize countries who caused the global warming in the first place for hundreds of years but penalizes only countries who currently accelerate the rate of Carbon emission. Such an approach is a gross injustice on the emerging economies and not at all pragmatic. Most of the developed countries are currently facing economic recession resulting in plummeted Carbon price. This will only encourage existing Carbon emitters to emit Carbon cheaply and penalize Renewable energy and clean energy technologies with higher tariffs and drive them to extinction. In spite of Carbon level in the atmosphere exceeding 400 ppm according to the latest report, the world is helpless to reduce the Carbon emission anytime sooner making our planet vulnerable to catastrophic natural disasters. Countries that are reluctant to pay Carbon tax will pay for Natural disasters which may be many times costlier than Carbon tax. Countries like US, European Union, Japan, Australia the largest power consumers and countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, Libya the largest oil producers should bear the cost of Carbon pollution that caused the globe to warm since industrial revolution. Such a fund should be utilized in developing innovative Renewable energy and clean energy technologies of the future. More than anything else the rich and powerful countries should declare global warming as a moral issue of the twenty-first century and take some bold and hard economic decisions to save the planet earth.