Clean Coal

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Cosmic, Jan 29, 2005.

  1. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    Anybody know anything about this plant located in W.VA.

    http://www.carbonxt.com/About2.html

    Might be a super home heating fuel if it is available. They show some forms of product that appear to be lump or small grained coal that would be nice for a coal stove or boiler.

    I've found coal is a far better buy than just about any other fuel if you have to buy something. At present I can get and use anthracite (hard coal), super stuff, burns extermely clean but does have an ash and can be a bit tricky to fire.

    This stuff might be even better with no ash and no sulfur or nasties. Maybe even for blacksmithing or home foundry???? They don't give enough specs to guess what its cost per ton / lb / unit might be or what its heat value or burning characteristics are, if they are engineered different for different fuel products or not.

    Anybody in that general area know anything about it??? Any local dealers selling any of it??? Might even worth a good trip to get if available. I didn't try emailing them yet. Be nice to get the mitts on some to try.

    I would think a product engineered for home heating would be a natural big hit, even if a tad on the costly side. Coals takes a lot less storage volume for a year's supply and is a lot less work than wood or many other alternative fuels.
     
  2. jgbndaudio

    jgbndaudio Well-Known Member

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    Coal is not really clean no matter how it burns!

    Why don't you try collecting Waste Vegetable oil from your local restaurants. In most parts of the country, restaurants pay to get rid of it and will be happy to give it to you free. It's very easy to modify a woodstove to burn it.
     

  3. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    Isn't that a bit premature judgement, seeing as how we don't know much about any of the products yet???? :rolleyes:

    Anthracite burns extremely clean and is a good answer to wood creosote problems when burned in combination with properly cured wood. Zero cleaning required on most years. So much less work, especially on really cold days.

    My approach will always to be to attempt to find some fuel to burn in combination with wood. The best are the combo fuel forced hot water boilers. Stoves are just too much work and don't give the comfort or automation potential boilers do.

    The other sort of bullet proof method is the wood gasification technologies. Their drawback, tho able to burn wood alone, tend to be they require heat storage systems in addition to the boiler to make a good working system. The burns tend to be shorter than what can be gotten with mulit-fuel designs. Coal in a multi-fuel design is a good option from many angles. Cost, load times, burn run, simple operation, no power required, long even burn rates. Could work well with many other alternative fuels. Using coal, you can even oversize the boiler and not be badly effected.

    Something like a coal product described in that source should be explored. Remove the ash and you have taken out the major negative on coal. This would seem to be just about a pure carbon source. There were some hard coal home boilers available way back when that could burn powdered coal similar to a large pulverized coal power boiler. One might even be able to build a dandy home brew version of a multi-fuel with a powdered coal / wood. Or even throw in some used oil, biodiesel, wood gas, etc. All just another tool in the box.
     
  4. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

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  5. Scomber

    Scomber Well-Known Member

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    I think what he meant was that, compared to other forms of fossil fuel, coal produces more CO2 per BTU than any other fuel type. As long as it's producing so much CO2, even if it has no sulfur or NOX emissions, it's dirty.

    Dan
     
  6. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    Yup, I too hate that dirty CO2 even if I can't see it!!! :eek: Like mine clean and free and well dressed.

    I am equally perplexed about the coal produces more CO2 per BTU than any other fuel type statement. Did Ralph Nader claim that??? :no:

    Duh, we are really only talking about carbon conversion in a pure sense. Moles of oxygen and carbon when you cut thru all the chatter. :)

    As in the standard when burned to completion:

    C + O2 = CO2 + 14,100 Btu/lb of C

    Doesn't matter your source of carbon in the perfect World. Actually coal usually produces less CO2 per unit of carbon than most other fossil fuels because it may have other fuel sources than carbon. For example:

    S + O2 = SO2 + 3,980 Btu/lb of S

    Throw in a little methane, claim even more CO2 "Credit"

    All about how a fellow counts his chickens. I do prefer mine to make a mess in the other fellows backyard. :( Something not discussed much is making your own homebrew fuel. A recipe with something like some powdered coal, little charcoal, a binder like vegtable oils, used motor oils or whatever as part of the binders, maybe a little sawdust to make it interesting. Course one can be a more responsible citizen and go solar, wind or Nuke. Dumping those Nuke ashes on your former wood ash pile might get the neighbors a bit exercised tho. ;) A-Yup .... that good olde boy's backyard always seems to have a glow about it ..... Kinda can't exactly put my finger on why. :haha:

    Your best recipes will probably involve incinerating something considered as garbage, least from a cost and PR viewpoint. Many tails on this dog to wag. I have always thought the better solutions are the house designs that incorporate a lot of mass in the structure, some form of radiant heating as part of the structure components, like rammed earth, cordwood/ stone built earth sheltered. Primary heated by earth wicking, tempered and topped up with solar energy. Totally backed up with some other more convention fuel.

    The real argument may be not about the fuel used but what is the amount consumed. I would rather consume 10 pounds of coal per year than 2 tons of biodiesel. It is the total impact that counts.

    BTW, the present clean coals technology in industrial settings has as one of its goals to capture all that dirty CO2 produced. They should be looking how to turn it into an industrial feedstock for making something else, not moaning about how it is produced. They still are mumbling about sequestation.
     
  7. Scomber

    Scomber Well-Known Member

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    When you burn methane, you get a bit of heat every time you break a chemical bond. With methane, there are four bonds, each holding a hydrogen to the central carbon atom. It looks like a water strider, kinda. With coal and heavy petroleum products, these are long chains of carbons with only two hydrogens (or possiblly less) per carbon. It looks like a catepillar with one set of legs (pair of hydrogens) per segment (carbon atom). So to break the same number of chemical bonds, you release twice as much CO2 as you would burning methane. It's not the recombining with oxygen that makes the heat, but the splitting of the feedstock molecule. Oxygen means nothing here, compared to the hydrogen/carbon ratio.

    No I didn't learn it listening to Ralph Nader. I learned it in chemistry class in college. :rolleyes:

    That sentence makes no sense, per unit of carbon. Besides, fuel sources are genrally evaluated on units of heat (BTUs).

    Well you start and end well, but remember that those two tons of biodiesel have zero effect on adding new carbon to the atmosphere. Until you take into account the four tons of fossil fuel it took to grow the biodiesel. ;) I agree that there's nothing like efficiency.

    Sequestration sounds nice, but I'm not holding my breath to see it actually work.

    My prefered homebrew fuel is cordwood. It takes CO2 out of the atmosphere as it grows, and puts only that much back when it burns.

    Dan
     
  8. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    These little dances can be anything a person wants them to be, depending on how you state your facts and make the arguments.

    With all fossil fuels you are primarily burning either hydrogen or carbon as the main fuel, no matter what the drift is. If you are burning carbon in any form are going to get CO2. Hydrogen in a pure state will not produce CO2. Many other critters can also get into the act. Sulfur being a good one. No CO2 production but you get heat (ignoring the pollution byproducts :p) Can be lots of sulfur in some coals. So just counting units of carbon in any fuel does not tell the complete story in terms of total energy output.

    So if you evaluate coal on its total energy production, must not only consider the carbon atoms but any other possible heat contributors as part of the burning process.

    Getting hairy with the newer technologies because it is really not going to be a burning process, more a chemical plant. In theory the IGCC will be able to convert coal to a hydrogen based energy source and use the carbon atoms as feedstock for other products at its extremes if proven out. Coal can be used to power fuel cells, make all sorts of products, including syn-fuels, maybe even hydrogen based GTL's in some complex staged plants.

    http://www.lanl.gov/projects/cctc/newsletter/documents/cct_spring96.pdf

    All I really wanted to do was get my mitts on some that new super clean coal. Have tried the old "Blacksmith coals". Darling stuff but a bit on the pricey side. :D I'll walk to the store to make up for my polluting ways. :eek:

    Just remember if you are using a chain saw to cut all that cordwood must account for that CO2 in your accounting claims. Better to use the crosscut saws, they only pollute once during the manufacturing phase, assuming your panting breath doesn't count afterwards. ;)
     
  9. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    Until we start building more nuke plants your pretty much stuck with coal.


    mikell
     
  10. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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  11. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

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  12. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    I remember burning coal,lot easier than wood burning.Too bad its a polluter,we cant get it out here anymore.

    booBoo