…Don’t ignore Coal…
Don’t ignore coal. Other countries aren’t.
In fact, the new high efficiency low emission (HELE), ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants are being built in China, Japan, India, and elsewhere.
These power plants operate at very high temperatures and pressures, with an efficiency of 45% HHV. This compares with the existing fleet of coal-fired power plants in the US that have an average efficiency of 33% HHV.
This means that pollutants from HELE power plants are 45% lower than from existing coal-fired power plants while CO2 emissions are cut even more.
Countries that are rich in coal, but lack plentiful, cheap natural gas, are finding that coal is the cheapest, most reliable source of electricity, other than hydro, they can have.
Wind and solar don’t come close, especially when they need expensive storage. For more information go to: Coal and the future of Energy
Japan is planning to build 22 HELE plants, largely to replace the nuclear power plants shut down after the Fukushima disaster.
China has plans to build over 300 HELE plants, some in China and the remainder in other countries around the world.
The fact is, China is tearing down its subcritical and supercritical coal-fired power plants and replacing them with new HELE, ultra-supercritical power plants.
The United States could benefit by doing the same thing, but EPA regulations prohibit building HELE coal-fired power plants in the US.
Replacing existing supercritical coal-fired power plants in the United Sates with HELE plants would reduce CO2 emissions, while also reducing pollutants such as particulates.
These power plants would provide baseload, reliable power, 24/7/365 at a cost lower than the cost of building a like amount of wind and solar together with their accompanying storage.
The HELE coal-fired power plant would last for at least 60 years, while the wind and solar installations would have to be replaced every twenty years, and their batteries would have to be replaced every ten years.
In addition, the HELE coal-fired power plants would generate over twice as much electricity.
The reason? HELE plants have a capacity factor of 85%, while wind has a capacity factor of 35%, and PV solar has a capacity factor of, at best, 22%.
The United States is blessed with a large amount of low-cost natural gas which allows the building of power plants even more efficient than HELE plants, but efforts to prevent building natural gas pipelines and preventing Fracking could mean that HELE plants could be competitive in some areas of the United States.
Coal shouldn’t be ignored anywhere in the world where HELE ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants can be built.
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