By Sonal Patel
PITTSBURGH, PA (Oct. 3, 2019) – Chemical looping combustion (CLC), an advanced coal power technology that could markedly simplify carbon capture at power plants, has moved significantly closer to commercialization, owing to a breakthrough in oxygen carrier durability, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) said.
The national laboratory, which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), revealed on Sept. 26 that a NETL-developed oxygen carrier based on “low cost” minerals demonstrated “a ten-fold increase in durability compared to previous iterations.”
The accomplishment, it noted, is a “significant step toward the commercialization” of CLC, a technology it said is “capable of delivering affordable and dependable power to the nation while reducing environmental impacts due to CLC’s more streamlined carbon dioxide (CO2) capture capability.”
While it can also be applied to natural gas, CLC is generally viewed as a promising technology that could boost coal’s environmental profile as the industry puts more emphasis on decarbonization. But though several concepts are being researched around the world at bench and small-pilot scale, experts note the technology is still at a “theoretical stage.” However, a July 2018 roadmap issued by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Carbon Utilization Research Council (CURC, an industry coalition focused on technology solutions to keep fossil fuels in a “balanced” U.S. power portfolio) envisions a first-of-a-kind commercial project using metal oxide and limestone-based CLC technologies starting in 2027.
By Derrick Hollie
Real Clear Energy
WASHINGTON, DC (Sept. 11, 2019) – It’s a popular theme—from Thomas Malthus to Paul R. Ehrlich to Thanos of Avengers fame: Only drastic action will avert catastrophe. We must consume less, accept less, be less.
We’re warned in ever more strident terms that we must act now or in 12 years (or 10 years or 18 months) there will be devastating consequences. That’s the message of the G-7 as it met in Biarritz, France, and it’s the message of every Democratic presidential hopeful who will meet in Houston for a debate in September.
One of those candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, unveiled his answer to the looming disaster last month. His version of the Green New Deal will cost 16.3 trillion dollars.
Under his plan, the government would control energy production and distribution, relying solely on wind, solar and other ‘renewable’ energy sources. (Imagine having to call the federal government because your power is out, only to hear a message that your expected hold time is over an hour long).
It calls for subsidizing consumers’ switch to electric vehicles, and it even calls for replacing every diesel school bus in America with an electric bus.
Sanders’ deal is enormous in scope, but like all others, it fails to address a very real and urgent problem—energy poverty.
Energy poverty occurs when low-income families and individuals can’t afford basic heating and electric needs due to high energy prices. And while energy poverty has no color, it disproportionately impacts minority, low-income and rural communities the most.
By Catherine Morehouse
WASHINGTON, DC (Oct. 2, 2019) – Six state regulators are pressing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to prioritize its resilience docket, citing concerns over rapid coal plant retirements, Bloomberg first reported Monday.
Utility commissioners from Wyoming, Montana, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia and Kentucky wrote separate letters to FERC, asking the commission to take action on the resilience docket opened in response to its unanimous rejection of the Department of Energy’s bid to subsidize coal and nuclear resources.
FERC had largely kicked the question of resilience over to regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs). “The fact that FERC hasn’t acted in an [administrative] docket like this is not particularly unusual,” Jeff Dennis, managing director and general counsel at Advanced Energy Economy told Utility Dive. “It really just reflects the fact that the inquiry didn’t reveal any need for FERC to take any action.”
By Roger H. Bezdek, Ph.D.,
Management Information Services, Inc. (MISI)
Carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) may be a technology whose time has come and gone, and come back again. Analysts and policy-makers have belatedly realized that any ambitious decarbonization goals are simply not feasible without CCUS. Even advocates of the “Green New Deal” have (grudgingly) accepted the need for CCUS as a necessarily large part of the program.
Here we assess the likely economic impacts of the 45Q CCUS tax credits enacted in 2018 and compare these with the impacts of those proposed in 2017. The enacted 45Q tax credits (ETC) provided less incentives than those proposed in 2017 (PTC) – primarily because they contain “sunset” provisions requiring that facilities begin construction by Jan. 1, 2024 to be eligible for the tax credit. The salient question is thus: “How do the likely economic and job impacts of the 2018 enacted 45Q tax credits compare to those proposed in 2017?”
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Cheyenne, Wyoming – The Wyoming Infrastructure Authority (WIA) announced the state was once again partnering with Japan to advance carbon utilization and carbon recycling technology.
The WIA entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Japan Coal Energy Center (JCOAL), GreenOre Clean Tech LLC and Columbia University today to bring a new research project to the Wyoming Integrated Test Center. The test is to be funded by JCOAL with additional support from project partners.
“Global challenges require global solutions,” said Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon. “Ensuring we advance and perfect technologies that can make our energy resources more efficient, cheaper and cleaner will require bringing together partners from across the country and around the world. I’m pleased Wyoming can continue to collaborate with Japan in bringing another promising testing project to the Cowboy State.”
GreenOre Clean Tech, employing a carbon utilization and carbon recycling technology under license from Columbia University, will utilize testing space at the ITC in Gillette, Wyoming. The ITC provides space for scientists and researchers to test carbon management technologies using the carbon emissions from an active coal fired power plant.
“The Wyoming ITC is a first-class facility that continues to draw interest from researchers working to advance carbon management solutions,” said Jason Begger, WIA’s Executive Director. “We are excited to expand our partnership with Japan and bring an additional tenant to the ITC.”
The State of Wyoming and JCOAL have been working together since 2016, when former Wyoming Governor Matt Mead and Osamu Tsukamoto, President of JCOAL, signed an initial MOU committing to cooperation in coal research and development of technologies and coal trade.
JCOAL operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and is supported by more than 120 member coal-related businesses, including Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Nippon Steel and Toshiba. The organization works to promote overall coal activities, from coal mining to the field of coal utilization, toward a stable energy supply, sustainable economic growth and the reduction of global environment emissions. Kawasaki is slated to test their solid sorbent capture technology at the ITC beginning in 2021.
The Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE) provides a plan for states to make realistic assessments and upgrade their power plants with clean technologies so that they can operate in a more environmentally friendly manner. ACE refocuses the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on sound science, transparency, supply diversity, and the rule of law, rather than bureaucratic overreach and politics. Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which ACE replaces, was never implemented. The United States Supreme Court stopped the rule, partly due to claims from over half the states that they would suffer “irreparable injury” without intervention. The stay on implementation was an extraordinary step for the Supreme Court, which many Court-watchers at the time said indicated displeasure with a vast rule with enormous consequences.
Affordable Clean Energy Rule
On June 19, 2019, EPA issued ACE, replacing the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan with a rule that establishes emission guidelines for states to use when developing plans to limit carbon dioxide at their coal-fired electric generating units. ACE regulates the electric industry on a plant-by-plant basis, allowing older plants to keep operating as they adopt improved, more-efficient technology. The new plan removes the federal government’s power to set emissions-reduction targets across the industry, regulating only “inside the fence line of” each plant. It creates a menu of technological options the plants can choose from to boost efficiency, using less coal to generate the same amount of electricity. States have the authority to design plans for power plants within their borders, with three years to develop and submit the plans to the EPA for approval.
More specifically, ACE establishes heat rate improvement—a measure of the amount of energy required to generate a unit of electricity—as the best system of emissions reduction for carbon dioxide from coal-fired generating units. ACE provides six “candidate technologies:”
• Neural Network/Intelligent Sootblowers
• Boiler Feed Pumps
• Air Heater and Duct Leakage Control
• Variable Frequency Drives
• Blade Path Upgrade (Steam Turbine)
• Redesign/Replace Economizer
ACE does not set a specific target for the power sector to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, giving states the authority to write their own plans for reducing carbon dioxide at individual plants. The Trump EPA estimates that carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced through both market forces and ACE by as much as 35 percent below 2005 levels in 2030, which is similar to reduction estimates calculated by Obama’s EPA for the Clean Power Plan. Trump’s EPA estimates ACE will directly reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 11 million metric tons by 2030—a 0.7 percent reduction compared to no regulation. There would also be benefits from reducing sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, and mercury emissions, which are already controlled by other regulations and have been declining rapidly.
EPA Finalizes the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, Replacing Clean Power Plan
By T.L. Headley, American Coal Council
MORGANTOWN, WV — Brian Anderson, Ph.D., was recently named the new director of the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg made the announcement of Anderson’s appointment November 11, 2018.
Anderson’s move was only a mile-and-a-half down the street. He comes to NETL from West Virginia University (WVU), where he served as director of the university’s Energy Institute.
“Dr. Anderson’s extensive experience and knowledge in engineering and science is extraordinary. As the only national laboratory that is fully owned and operated by the Department of Energy, I am confident the National Energy Technology Laboratory will continue to make strides in advancing coal, natural gas, oil and other energy technologies under his leadership,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.
Meet Dr. Brian Anderson – NETL’s New Director
By TERRY JARRETT
The controversy continues over the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) years-long attempt to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-fired power plants. The question is, can the agency’s latest effort withstand legal scrutiny?
The EPA’s quest to regulate CO2 emissions from coal plants began with the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan to address climate change. In 2015, the EPA rolled out the Clean Power Plan (CPP) with much fanfare. The CPP was an ambitious plan to reduce carbon emissions from power plants 32 percent by 2030.
Almost immediately, the CPP generated a host of legal concerns, including that it overturned decades of agency precedent and dramatically exceeded the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act. There are 150 entities – including 27 states – that have filed 15 lawsuits challenging the CPP. The CPP was of such dubious legality that the United States Supreme Court took the unprecedented step of staying implementation of the rule while the court cases were pending. As a result, the CPP never took effect.
Donald Trump became President in January 2017. During the campaign, he had promised to end the war on coal. One of his targets was repealing the CPP.
On Aug. 21, 2018, the EPA announced the replacement for the CPP. Called the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, its goal is to reduce power sector CO2 emissions similar to the CPP. Beyond that, the two plans are quite different.
By TERRY JARRETT
Waco Tribune-Herald (May 29, 2019) — Texas is once again at the center of America’s energy sector, thanks to emerging trends in both natural gas production and renewable energy. Not only does Texas lead the nation in both crude oil and natural gas production, but it also generates more renewable electricity than any other state. At the same time, however, Texas is rapidly transforming its electric grid. And that transition — to a greater reliance on weather-dependent and on-demand systems — could have serious consequences for reliable and affordable power statewide.
Texas’ electricity sector has undoubtedly become the envy of the nation, as it produces almost twice as much power as its nearest competitor, Florida. Part of that success comes from Texas leading the nation in wind-powered generation. In 2017, Texas produced one-fourth of total U.S. wind-generated electricity. And since 2014, Texas wind turbines have produced more electricity than the state’s two nuclear power plants.
This sounds impressive. But there may be trouble ahead. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) forecasts a tight margin for the state’s electricity use this summer. Peak demand could hit a new record — and potentially spur an Energy Emergency Alert needed to maintain grid reliability
By PAUL REAGAN
Sampling Associates International, LLC
Editor’s note: This article was written to provide information to coal exporters regarding shippers’ responsibilities and compliance with the new IMSBC Code regulations for Transportable Moisture Limit (TML) effective January 1, 2019. The article was reviewed for technical correctness by the Hazardous Materials Division of the United States Coast Guard, which is the “Competent Authority” for the United States and is responsible for interpreting and enforcing the IMSBC Code, including provisions related to the TML. This article first appeared in IHS Markit’s Coal & Energy Price Report and ran as a two-part series.
Paul Reagan is president of Sampling Associates International, LLC and can be contacted via phone at 757.876.5217 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) publishes the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code which specifies the requirements for carriage of solid bulk cargoes other than grain on vessels to which the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is applicable. This article will address the rules and regulations governing the Transportable Moisture Limit (TML) for coal that became mandatory as of January 1, 2019.
Testing for the TML is driven by the safety requirements for identifying and preventing the conditions that might cause a solid bulk cargo to undergo liquefaction in the hold of a ship and create dangerous conditions due to loss of stability of the vessel.
Liquefaction of a solid bulk cargo can occur for a number of reasons – but in the case of coal it is primarily related to the interaction between the particle size of the cargo and its moisture content.
The IMSBC Code states “Cargoes that may liquefy means cargoes which contain a certain proportion of fine particles and a certain amount of moisture. They may liquefy if shipped with a moisture content in excess of their TML.”
It is important to note that the recent IMO decision to develop a specific test method for determining the TML of coal cargoes was intended to provide clarity on determining whether or not a given coal is both Group B and Group A. It has long been known that certain coals have the potential to liquefy, as seen by the Group B (and A) classification since the first edition of the IMSBC Code. The decision by the IMO to update many requirements for cargoes that can liquefy was driven by a concern for safety for all bulk carriers after some serious accidents involving other bulk cargos – most notably, nickel concentrates and iron ore fines. The truth is that there have been no known coal shipments from the United States that have liquefied in transit.
While the risk of liquefaction of most US coals is remote, it does not relieve US coal shippers of their responsibilities as outlined in the IMSBC Code. Recent developments in the Code for coal place certain responsibilities on the shipper with respect to declarations to the master of the vessel regarding the cargo to be loaded – as well as certain testing and supporting documentation for those declarations.
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