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US Representatives Introduce Coal-to-Liquids Legislation; CO2 Restrictions Part of the Proposal

Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA), Chairman of the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee, and Representative John Shimkus (R-IL), this past week introduced a bill to promote the use of coal-to-liquids (CTL) transportation fuels. The legislation would establish price certainty to provide incentive for investment in CTL facilities.

The legislation introduced by Representatives Boucher and Shimkus would enable the Department of Energy (DOE) to enter agreements with up to six coal liquefaction projects for the purpose of establishing price parameters which will provide the projects with a federal price guarantee.

Under the legislation, if the price of crude oil falls below an agreed upon price— approximately $40 per barrel—the federal government would make a payment to the facility owner, thereby establishing a price floor for the facility’s product.  Analysts consider $40 per barrel the threshold at which CTL becomes economic.

Conversely, if the price of crude oil were to rise above a certain ceiling, upwards of today’s market price per barrel, the facility operator would be required to make payments to the federal government. The legislation was established with both a floor and a ceiling to provide the necessary financial certainty to encourage the launch of coal-to-liquids projects while simultaneously insuring that participating facilities are not able to reap windfall profits simply by virtue of their participation in a program which lends federal backing in certain circumstances.

The exact price levels for the floor and ceiling as well as the amount of the payments would be established as part of each project’s agreement with the Department of Energy.   In addition, the legislation requires that in order to qualify for this federal guarantee, each project must be certified as producing a fuel which has life cycle CO2 emissions of at or below the levels of a comparable petroleum-based facility.

Multiple lifecycle analyses (LCAs) of different transportations fuels point to standard coal-based Fischer-Tropsch fuels (FT CTL) as having the worst Well-to-Wheels (WTW) greenhouse gas profile. The recent study done by the University of California for the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), for example, calculated the emissions of CTL transportation fuel on a full lifecycle basis to be 214 g CO2 equivalent per MJ—2.3 times the impact of conventional reformulated gasoline or diesel. (Earlier post.)

Baard1
Results of the INL-Baard study. Click to enlarge.

However, the US Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has just published a study modeling the greenhouse gas emissions of Baard Energy’s Ohio River Clean Fuels CTL project currently under development in Wellsville, Ohio.

The Baard project will co-feed the gasifiers with 30% biomass and 70% coal, and capture CO2 for sequestration. According to the year-long INL study, the Baard CTL fuels will yield 46% less emissions of greenhouse gases than conventional low-sulfur diesel transportation fuels. All emission reductions documented in the study were measured on a wells-to-wheels basis using the Argonne National Lab GREET (Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation) model of transportation fuels.

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Comments

eric

A quick question...

Does anyone know of a resource that has the amount of energy required to produce a standard lead-acid car battery? I am curious as to how much ghg is generated in the creation of the lead and other component parts. I have heard that it is a very dirty process, and I would like to know how dirty it is?

Thanks...

Floram

By Paul Dietz:
"We know for sure that the current CO2 pulse is due to combustion of fossil fuels ..."

Care to elaborate?
Would you have any proof of that?
Any fast and steady numbers?

CO2 fluctuates continuously over time. The sun spot activity and associated cosmic rays are likely to reason for that. What makes you believe that you are correct?
We don't even know the mechanisms or rather what influences the amount of clouds being formed. Clouds have a strong impact on global warming.

Just wondering. I don't know the answer either. I just don't know why your statement should be the only one that is absolutely right and nothing else.

Paul Dietz

Floram:

The irrefutable smoking gun comes from carbon isotopes. The oceans have a higher 13C/12C ratio than the atmosphere -- and the atmospheric ratio has been declining as CO2 concentrations in the air have increased. It is therefore impossible that the increase in atmospheric CO2 has been due to outgassing from the oceans. (And ditto for CO2 from volcanoes.)

Fossil fuels and biomass have lower 13C/12C ratios, due to isotope fractionation during photosynthesis. Biomass destruction can be ruled out as the source of most of the CO2 from 14C evidence and other sources.

Also, we have a fairly good handle on the CO2 output from fossil fuels, since governments keep track of what's being burned, if only to be able to tax it.

CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning have exceeded the annual increase in atmospheric CO2 since around 1900. That is, all other contributions to atmospheric CO2 have been, combined, a net sink for over a century.

Andrew

Ultimately CTL has the possibility to serve as an energy source (in addition to current renewables) that can eventually provide domestically produced hydrogen and/or electricity with extremely low carbon emissions assuming use of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). Now obviously the CCS technology is not industrially viable at this point but it has the potential to be. There are growing pains that the industry must go through before all of the CTL benefits are realized and that is what this bill is helping to do, encourage businesses to go through these growing pains (and mitigate some of the risk in the process). CTL is not the end-all to our problem but neither is anything else. This will require a number of different technologies working together and CTL and IGCC will each play a big part in it.

DOE Engineer

I would just like to say I appreciate the high level of intellect and thought on this comment board. All you see in the papers is "Coal is Filthy" ads.

This all revolves around Baard Energy because they plan to make jet fuel because the DoD will probably buy it. That's really what all of this is about. The government is trying really hard to do right by the CO2 issue in the fuels market, it would be nice to see biomass and sequestration be a part of the groundwork of a CTL industry (if it ever exists).

DOE Engineer

I would just like to say I appreciate the high level of intellect and thought on this comment board. All you see in the papers is "Coal is Filthy" ads.

This all revolves around Baard Energy because they plan to make jet fuel because the DoD will probably buy it. That's really what all of this is about. The government is trying really hard to do right by the CO2 issue in the fuels market, it would be nice to see biomass and sequestration be a part of the groundwork of a CTL industry (if it ever exists).

Karl

By KJD:
"Now if you are a politico from VA and you want some jobs for your miners, I guess that you might not think about melting ice caps and shortage of fresh water and crop failures and other small details like that."

Viginia's number one natural resource is coal and a way of life for a large number of Virginians. You can't try to sell somebody on some idea if it means that they'd be losing their job that their family's been doing for generations. TCL is really bad when it comes to global warming. Furthermore, the way they extract the coal is extremely bad for the local ecosystem. However, we must create jobs that will replace those lost. And those people who lost their jobs must be trained for those newly created jobs in the alternative fuel sector. Also, we must convince not only those who are environmentally concious, but also those who value America's energy independence. Although, TCL is extremely bad for the environment, it is one of the best options for the US' energy independence.

karl

Just noting that by mistake I wrote TCL instead of CTL*

KJD

I would agree with Karl that job creation is an important thing. I was unemployed for 9 months in 2001 and again for a couple of months in 2005. It is devastating to ones self esteem, not to mention my bank account.

The question is what kind of jobs do we want to create. If we could have a carbon tax of say a penny a pound and apply that to transportation and electrical production, we would create demand for clean alternatives in both industries.

We could use the revenues from a carbon tax to subsidize solar power and wind power. All we would have to do for jobs is require that to get the subsidy the PV panels and wind mills MUST be produced in USA.

This would create thousands of jobs here at home. We could do the same for mass transit with light rail. How is that for a jobs program?

SJC

I agree with the carbon tax and using the money for renewables. That makes so much sense that it is almost sure not to be implemented.

You see, if contains that one little three letter word TAX. That is the "3rd rail" in American politics...touch it and you die.

Dr.Mr Mouse Alex

Dear Sir/Madam,
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Dr.Mr Mouse Alex

Dear Sir/Madam,
I am Dr.Mr Mouse Alex,Chief administrative officer of CLAUDE ROYAL HOLDINGS,Paris,France,with corporate headquarters in London,U.K. An establishment that deals on raw materials such as cocoa,rubber,Cassava,cotton,Rubber etc ,and export them into Canada and America. We are searching for representatives who can help us establish a medium of getting to our customersin Canada,America and Europe,as well as making payments through you to us.

Subject to your satisfaction, you will be given the opportunity to negotiate your mode of payment and earn 10% of every transaction for your services, as our
representative.

If you are interested,please fill in the blank spaces
below:

1.Your Full
Names......................................
2.Your Full Contact
Address............................
3.Your
E.Mail..........................................
4.State/Country....................................
5.Your Phone number (prefarably your
cellphone.).................

Thanks.

Yours truly,
Dr.Mouse Alex

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