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Coal To Liquid Synfuels

Coal to liquid synfuels is a process using high temperature and pressure to convert coal first into a syn-gas and then into diesel or aviation fuel or other petroleum products. Supposedly, this is clean coal technology with little environmental impact, but when we look at the track record of the coal and fuel industry careful analysis must be done.

Large amounts of carbon dioxide are produced by the process, a global warming pollutant. From a climate change perspective, it is a step backwards.

About half of the total carbon in the coal ends up in the synfuel, the other half is emitted at the plant.

Both the carbon dioxide released in processing the coal into synfuel and the burning of synfuel in internal combustion engines is geologic carbon taken from the earth and exhausted into the atmosphere – a double dose of greenhouse gases.

Synfuel plants consume large quantities of water, 5 gallons of water per gallon of synfuel.

One ton of coal produces 1.5 barrels of diesel fuel.

Coal to synfuel projects require large-scale industrial development. Coal mines, power plants, railroad spurs, pipelines for water, carbon dioxide and liquid fuel production plants.

Is Montana going to be the boiler room of the nation?

Governor Brian SchweitzerGovernor Schweitzer has become an active advocate of coal to liquid synfuels and a 22,000 barrel-per-day plant near Roundup on the Musselshell River. This plant is projected to cost between $1.3 and 2 billion and would also include a 300 megawatt integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) electric plant. The synfuel refinery would consume most of the produced electricity, produce 3,500,000 tons of CO2 each year with 2,000,000 tons coming from the IGCC plant. Carbon sequestration would inject the CO2 deep underground. If it works.... CO2 gas is not poisonous, but it has killed people by displacing oxygen.

Musselshell River
Musselshell River

The Governor is advocating mining 600,000,000 tons of state-owned coal in Otter Creek coal tracts and producing 150,000 barrels of synfuels per day, equaling 55 Roundup-sized projects. It is not definite where the water for the Roundup plant will come from. The Musselshell River is a chronically dewatered stream from irrigation and usually runs dry at the Mosby bridge. 5,500,000 gallons per day are needed to produce 22,000 barrels per day of coal to liquid synfuel (5 gallon of water per gallon of synfuel). Conservation, renewable energy projects, wind, oil seeds, biomass, and use of tides in coastal areas may be better alternatives for nationally addressing our fuel shortages. ~

Also see: Musselshell -- An Endangered River
and
Roundup Coal-fired Power Plant Project

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