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What Fossil Fuel Really Do To America?


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#1 Stephanie Kristensen

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:13 AM

Fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas—are America’s primary source of energy. America’s annual
consumption of fossil fuels grown rapidly. 89 % of this consumption is consumed by boilers,
transportation, residential usage, fuels for direct heating of process. The balance is used for feedstocks, raw materials, and other miscellaneous uses. And most of the dirty fuels such as coal and
residual oil go into boilers.
Fuel burned are by far the largest single source of air pollution. This pollution is from sulfur oxide. It
is also a significant source of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. Boiler combustion is sufficiently
important to warrant the effort to analyze the complete nature of the problems.
Fuel consumption in boilers is divided into three sectors: utility boilers producing steam for
generation of electricity which is actually consuming probably 59%, industrial boilers producing
steam or hot water for process heat, generation or space heat consuming about 24%, and boilers for
space heating for commercial and institutional facilities consuming the 17%.
The fuels consumed by boilers in large quantities are natural gas, distillate oil, and coal. Additional
energy is derived from the burning of waste such as bark, bagasse, liquid hydrocarbon waste
materials, etc. These said fuels contribute only a small percent to energy requirements. But they
may however present environmental problems. Although problems have not been address due to
the fact that these problems are not fully understood. New Sources performance Standards for
burning boilers waste are to be developed in the near future.
For fossil fuels, various combination of consuming sectors and type of fuel, have independent
significant and insignificant environmental consequences. Boilers have three different types, the
atertube, firetube and cast iron therefore to determine the overall pollution due to boilers are hard to
determine and complicated. In addition each type varies in type and application and other factors
influencing the character and quantity of environmental discharges.
Due to the complexity of analyzing the impacts of boiler operation in the United States, U.S
Environmental Protection Agency has given rise to a series of studies. These studies pave the way
for a better understanding of the impacts of boilers in our environment and the development of ways
to control specific pollutants.
Many of the environmental problems our country faces today result from our fossil fuel dependence.
These impacts include global warming, air quality deterioration, oil spills, and acid rain.
Air pollution is one major effect of fuels. Several important pollutants are produced by fossil fuel
combustion: carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and hydrocarbons. In addition, total
suspended particulates contribute to air pollution, and nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons can
combine in the atmosphere to form tropospheric ozone, the major constituent of smog. This is just
one of the effects; there is water and land pollution, and thermal pollution.
Global warming is another thing. Among the gases emitted when fossil fuels are burned, one of the
most significant is carbon dioxide, a gas that traps heat in the earth’s atmosphere. Over the last 150
years, burning fossil fuels has resulted in more than a 25 percent increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Fossil fuels are also implicated in increased levels of atmospheric
methane and nitrous oxide, although they are not the major source of these gases.

#2 belovelife

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:19 AM

yeah, thats why i was trying to get people to work on making carbon fibre building materials from the exhaust gasses from a coal power plant,

while in isreal, they are pumping the exhaust gasses into a algae fuel production facility, to improve the growth of the algae,

i would still like to see the carbon fibre material production done, while co2 is at its lowest energy state, i would like to find a catalyst that would allow for breaking of the bond
in a fashon that would be usable to make carbon fibre materials

#3 Moontanman

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 02:52 PM

Fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas—are America’s primary source of energy. America’s annual
consumption of fossil fuels grown rapidly. 89 % of this consumption is consumed by boilers,
transportation, residential usage, fuels for direct heating of process. The balance is used for feedstocks, raw materials, and other miscellaneous uses. And most of the dirty fuels such as coal and
residual oil go into boilers.
Fuel burned are by far the largest single source of air pollution. This pollution is from sulfur oxide. It
is also a significant source of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. Boiler combustion is sufficiently
important to warrant the effort to analyze the complete nature of the problems.
Fuel consumption in boilers is divided into three sectors: utility boilers producing steam for
generation of electricity which is actually consuming probably 59%, industrial boilers producing
steam or hot water for process heat, generation or space heat consuming about 24%, and boilers for
space heating for commercial and institutional facilities consuming the 17%.
The fuels consumed by boilers in large quantities are natural gas, distillate oil, and coal. Additional
energy is derived from the burning of waste such as bark, bagasse, liquid hydrocarbon waste
materials, etc. These said fuels contribute only a small percent to energy requirements. But they
may however present environmental problems. Although problems have not been address due to
the fact that these problems are not fully understood. New Sources performance Standards for
burning boilers waste are to be developed in the near future.
For fossil fuels, various combination of consuming sectors and type of fuel, have independent
significant and insignificant environmental consequences. Boilers have three different types, the
atertube, firetube and cast iron therefore to determine the overall pollution due to boilers are hard to
determine and complicated. In addition each type varies in type and application and other factors
influencing the character and quantity of environmental discharges.
Due to the complexity of analyzing the impacts of boiler operation in the United States, U.S
Environmental Protection Agency has given rise to a series of studies. These studies pave the way
for a better understanding of the impacts of boilers in our environment and the development of ways
to control specific pollutants.
Many of the environmental problems our country faces today result from our fossil fuel dependence.
These impacts include global warming, air quality deterioration, oil spills, and acid rain.
Air pollution is one major effect of fuels. Several important pollutants are produced by fossil fuel
combustion: carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and hydrocarbons. In addition, total
suspended particulates contribute to air pollution, and nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons can
combine in the atmosphere to form tropospheric ozone, the major constituent of smog. This is just
one of the effects; there is water and land pollution, and thermal pollution.
Global warming is another thing. Among the gases emitted when fossil fuels are burned, one of the
most significant is carbon dioxide, a gas that traps heat in the earth’s atmosphere. Over the last 150
years, burning fossil fuels has resulted in more than a 25 percent increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Fossil fuels are also implicated in increased levels of atmospheric
methane and nitrous oxide, although they are not the major source of these gases.



You give a lot of statistics and facts but what are you asking exactly? Could we do better? Yes no doubt, I personally think nuclear is our future or at least a huge part of it. I'm not really sure where you are going with this but I am looking forward to your thoughts.

#4 cujet

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 09:56 PM

The direct answer is that the practical use of energy has allowed earth's human inhabitants to grow from 2 billion to 7 billion. We can pump incredible quantities of water, creating industrial agriculture. We can travel easily, commute to a distant workplace with ease. Live in desirable locations and enjoy little things like running water, heat, air conditioning, smooth roads and modern medicine. Heck, we can even keep our food cold and safe.

Before you rail against the use of energy, consider the abject poverty, starvation and disease that would result without it.

#5 Racoon

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 07:42 AM

Clean Coal Technology to the Rescue! :rolleyes:

They are trying to shutter Coal in America, thus losing jobs. They say its for the Environment.
But for every coal plant that gets shut down here, they Fire Up 2 new ones in China..
So any environmetal gain is quickly offset.
So America needs to keep their coal plants alive and Americans working.

http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Clean_coal

The United States Department of Energy works with private industry to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.[7] Several methods are available under this technology including pre-capture, oxy-fuel combustion, and post-capture CCS. Perhaps the most popular example of a coal-based plant using (oxy-fuel) carbon-capture technology is Vattenfall’s Schwarze Pumpe plant in Germany.[8] However, no one has demonstrated that carbon stored underground will be able to stay there indefinitely.[9] Another technology under development is the Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle or IGCC.[10] Another problem is that for every ton of coal burned, 2.93 tons of carbon dioxide is created,[citation needed] meaning that for every train bringing coal to a CCS coal plant, three trains would be needed to remove the CO2.[citation needed]

A more recent technology being co-developed by Babcock-ThermoEnergy is the Zero Emission Boiler System (ZEBS). This system features near 100% carbon-capture and according to company information virtually no air-emissions.



#6 CraigD

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 10:30 PM

Clean Coal Technology to the Rescue! :rolleyes:

The prospect of “near-zero emissions coal technology” is attractive – there’s about 150 years of proven coal reserves at its current rate of use, and its principle drawback is that, like all fossil fuels, it produces a lot of CO2 when burned to generate useful power.

“Clean coal” technology proposes to do this by extracting nearly all of the CO2 from its exhaust and permanently disposing of it underground.

Alas, the technology, which in the US was to have been coordinated and promoted by the US government’s FutureGen project announced in 2003, has not yet resulted in a single working clean coal power plant. Although a test sites was selected from among 12 competitive proposals, federal government funding was suspended from 2008 to 2010, then in 2010, the local government of the test site refused to allow it to continue. As best I can tell, development of the technology is now entirely stopped.

They are trying to shutter Coal in America, thus losing jobs. They say its for the Environment.

Who do you mean by “they”, Racoon? And what is the source for your claim?

I’ve found it’s very important to be careful with sourcing claims like this, because they are often non-factual political rhetoric. Right wind US politicians often accuse left wing ones of causing people to lose their jobs to avoid damaging the environment. I’ve never, however, seen evidence that this actually happens. Rather, it appears to me that most jobs are lost when companies reduce their workforce in order to reduce expenses and maximize the money they make for their private owners or public shareholders.

From everything I’ve read, the great loss of jobs due to the failure of the FutureGen project is not due to closing coal mines, railroads, or power plants, but to failing to build new ones using the new technology. Like many proposed “green energy” technologies, in addition to the primary benefit of reducing CO2 emissions, a benefit of clean coal is that it would employ more workers to build and run than the “dirty coal” technology it was intended to replace.

I don’t know of any US power generation company or government agency that is trying to end the use of coal and cause jobs to be lost to protect the environment. To the contrary, the US executive branch has made extraordinary efforts to exempt coal power companies from long-standing US law, but been prevented from doing so by US federal courts, who every legal analyst I’ve read agrees are correctly interpreting the law.

The motive for eliminating existing jobs and not creating new ones in this industry appears to me to be maximizing the profits of US power generation companies. The “they” you refer to appears to me to be US power companies

But for every coal plant that gets shut down here, they Fire Up 2 new ones in China..

I think you have the cause and effect relationship here reversed, Racoon. The shutting down of coal power plants in the US doesn’t cause new ones to be started up in China. The starting of new coal power plants in China causes plants in the US to be shut down, because the new Chinese plants increase demand for coal, which increases its price, which makes coal power plants increasingly uneconomical for US companies to operate, compared to methane (natural gas) power plants, because there is currently excess supply of methane, and thus lower prices. That old technology methane power plants produce about 38% less CO2 than old technology coal plants for the same generated power, and produce fewer particle pollutants, and thus require no expensive upgrading to comply with US anti-pollution laws makes the move from coal to methane even more profitable for US power companies.

So America needs to keep their coal plants alive and Americans working.

I agree that the US needs to continue to generate electric power using many fuels. However, continuing to operate old coal power plants does not employ as many people as making new ones using clean coal technology, and generates more CO2 and particle pollutants.

I believe clean coal technology should come to the rescue of the coal power generation industry. Regrettably, the government and industry programs intended to make that happen have to date failed.

Sources: The Engineers toolbox article “Combustion Fuels - Carbon Dioxide Emission”; 01/26/12 HuffingtonPost.com article ”Coal-Fired Power Plants Closing: FirstEnergy Shutting Down 6 Sites In Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland”

#7 Racoon

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 01:46 PM

@ Craig D
I didn't say that shutting down a Coal plant here in the US was reason for 2 more starting up in China..
Obviously I don't get my energy from there..

No, no.

For every coal plant we shut down here in the US, there are simply two more taking its place in China..

So for all the environmentalists out there, of which I am one, I am simply stating that we are only causing Job Loss,... and not really reigning in Coal Pollution. China simply nullifies and doubles the pollution despite our efforts for shuttling Coal..

So for any poor family in West Virginia or Kentucky who got Laid Off because of environmental impact restrictions, those savings are quickly lost (on a Global scale) with China doing everything they can to generate more energy themselves..

Edited by Racoon, 26 October 2013 - 01:49 PM.


#8 CraigD

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 02:29 AM

They are trying to shutter Coal in America, thus losing jobs. They say its for the Environment.

So for all the environmentalists out there, of which I am one, I am simply stating that we are only causing Job Loss,...

Again, Racoon, can you back up your claims? What is you evidence that US jobs are being lost due to the enforcement of laws requiring lower emissions from coal-fired powerplants?

So for any poor family in West Virginia or Kentucky who got Laid Off because of environmental impact restrictions

Anecdotally, of the dozen or so people I know who work in coal mining (I grew up in Bluefield WV, and still have a lot of friends and family in the state, so have a personal connections to the coal industry), the only one I know who have stopped working in the past 5 years were not laid off, but retired.

This agrees with source I’ve found, such as this one, that show that the number of US coal jobs is increasing, from about 75,000 in 2001 to 86,000 in 2008 to 89,000 in 2012. It doesn’t appear to me that any government policy or market factors are causing job loss in the coal industry, because the industry appears to be experiencing steady job growth.

I believe adherence to lower emission “clean coal” regulations would increase the number of jobs in coal power generation, because new power plants would need to be built, or existing ones substantially upgraded, to comply with them, which would require more workers than continuing to operate old plants. As I explained in my previous post, the main barrier to this is not the regulations, but the current, and by all projections, likely to continue for some time, lower cost per unit energy of methane (natural gas) vs. coal. Even were the government to lift nearly all emission regulations on coal power generation, power producing businesses have a strong incentive to replace coal power plants with methane ones.

IMHO, no discussion of the environmental impact of coal is complete without discussion of the increasingly widespread practice of Mountaintop removal mining. Although this practice has allowed the US to compete effectively with other countries by greatly lowering the cost of coal production (Allowing the US to export about 10% of the coal it produces), I’ve seen (and tasted) first-hand its impact on people living downstream of it. IMHO, companies like Massey are stupidly hurting people by not voluntarily installing piped water systems to supply people who’s wells are made unsafe by MTR. Though many environmentalists object to its changing of geographic contours, in my experience, what bothers people the most is the loss of safe tap water, a problem that could easily, and at not too great a cost, be solved with piped water.

#9 haram

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 07:09 AM

yeah, thats why i was trying to get people to work on making carbon fibre building materials from the exhaust gasses from a coal power plant,

while in isreal, they are pumping the exhaust gasses into a algae fuel production facility, to improve the growth of the algae,

i would still like to see the carbon fibre material production done, while co2 is at its lowest energy state, i would like to find a catalyst that would allow for breaking of the bond
in a fashon that would be usable to make carbon fibre materials

 

You are truly visionary man. :bow: 

Perhaps you was contributed in that?

http://phys.org/news...2-valuable.html

 

Unfortunately, it's a bit late to avoid full scaled damaging consequences.



#10 haram

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 07:17 AM

The direct answer is that the practical use of energy has allowed earth's human inhabitants to grow from 2 billion to 7 billion. We can pump incredible quantities of water, creating industrial agriculture. We can travel easily, commute to a distant workplace with ease. Live in desirable locations and enjoy little things like running water, heat, air conditioning, smooth roads and modern medicine. Heck, we can even keep our food cold and safe.

Before you rail against the use of energy, consider the abject poverty, starvation and disease that would result without it.

 

How much of that 7 (and a half) billions are that "we"? And for how long?



#11 haram

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 07:42 AM

You give a lot of statistics and facts but what are you asking exactly? Could we do better? Yes no doubt, I personally think nuclear is our future or at least a huge part of it. I'm not really sure where you are going with this but I am looking forward to your thoughts.

 

How about thought that nuclear power so far makes about 10% of global energy production, around 2050. total energy demands will be doubled, and we yet don't know what to do about present obsolete nuclear power facilities?

https://www.scientif...ntling-nuclear/

... in unrealistic believe that no serious accidents will occur on proportionally scale, and no environmental damage will be committed by so large extent of uranium mining.


Edited by haram, 01 November 2016 - 08:05 AM.


#12 fahrquad

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 03:28 PM

Why does everyone keep skipping over oil, which is our biggest fossil fuel. NG is moving up, but it has quite a way to go before it catches up. I personally prefer solar, hydroelectric (which we have an abundance of around here), and nuklear, of which I believe we have 3 facilitiesss (commercial, not scientific)(I think we have one scientific and one military site). My last 3 houses (including this one) have hot water and space heating by natural gas, The wife and I had heat and hot water during the power outage a few days ago.

Lighting was by candles and battery torches.

#13 CraigD

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 07:35 PM

Why does everyone keep skipping over oil, which is our biggest fossil fuel. NG is moving up, but it has quite a way to go before it catches up.

You’re right.

The transportation sector is what’s keeping the petroleum source’s share of the US, and I’m guessing to a similar extent, the world, energy supply, high. It’s hard to replace gasoline and diesel as a road vehicle fuel.

These diagrams, from the US EIA, give a clear picture:
US energy 2014.png
US energy 2015.png
NG and renewables are gaining in the non-transportation sector, but the transportation sector is growing (27.0 to 27.6 quad BTus from 2014 to 2015), and petroleum retains its 92% supplier share
 

My last 3 houses (including this one) have hot water and space heating by natural gas, The wife and I had heat and hot water during the power outage a few days ago.

Lighting was by candles and battery torches.

A few years ago my Washington DC area neighborhood was plagued by multi-day electrical outages. During one cold-weather one, I was too timid to try rigging a 24 volts power supply to my NG forced air heater, so while we had hot water, so my wife, pets, and I spent our time huddled around the fireplace like 19th century pioneers.

We were seriously considering getting an expensive full-house NG-powered electric generator that would automatically turn on during an electric outage, but, under pressure from government, our local power company fixed up its aged, fragile system, so we’ve now not getting more than a short outage.

#14 fahrquad

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 08:20 PM

A few years ago my Washington DC area neighborhood was plagued by multi-day electrical outages. During one cold-weather one, I was too timid to try rigging a 24 volts power supply to my NG forced air heater, so while we had hot water, so my wife, pets, and I spent our time huddled around the fireplace like 19th century pioneers.

We were seriously considering getting an expensive full-house NG-powered electric generator that would automatically turn on during an electric outage, but, under pressure from government, our local power company fixed up its aged, fragile system, so we’ve now not getting more than a short outage.

 

 

Unless you have regular outages or have someone in the house with a medical need, it is not worth the price of installing the generator, the gas piping, and the shunt trip switch, all of which are beyond the capability of the average homeowner to install themselves.  The few generator installations I have inspected  are at medical facilities and were large diesel powered generators.

 

Kohler_Generators.jpg

 

https://power.kohler...roduct/30reozk4



#15 fahrquad

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 08:29 PM

Use of fossil fuels does not increase the amount of carbon on the planet.  Carbon that was sequestered millions of years ago is just being released.  Capturing and converting the carbon released back into a solid compound, such as Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3), would be energy intensive and impractical at this time.  Or we could just bottle a lot of Coca Cola.


Edited by fahrquad, 30 December 2016 - 08:31 PM.


#16 HydrogenBond

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 08:17 AM

Fossil fuels implies, that at one time, that the same carbon was not fixed, but was part of the earth's carbon cycle. The CO2 was sequestered by life, which then dies, decays to make fossil fuel. At one time all the fossil fuels, including what is still in the ground was part of the active carbon cycle of the earth. Life was still able to evolve and the earth was not destroyed. 

 

Sequestering the original high concentrations of CO2, by life, changed the planet. If we had been around when the CO2 was really high; before any fossil fuels had formed, and we saw life sequestering the carbon, the liberals would be afraid of that. They would correlate extremely high CO2 with what is supposed to be normal, while not taking into account earth's evolution base on life. 

 

Fossil fuels formed beginning about 300 million years ago accord to the DOE. The quote s from their web site. 

 

Think about what the Earth must have looked like 300 million years or so ago. The land masses we live on today were just forming. There were swamps and bogs everywhere. The climate was warmer. Ancient trees and plants grew everywhere. Strange looking animals walked on the land, and just as weird looking fish swam in the rivers and seas. Tiny one-celled organisms called protoplankton floated in the ocean.

 

 

​Below is CO2 and temperature data for the relationship between atmospheric CO2 and Temperature, when the carbon cycle contain far more CO2 than today such as before any fossil fuels has formed. I expected much high temperatures based on the 100 year computer models. If we burnt all the fossil fuels in the earth global temperature will peak at 25C. This same temperature was  reached even with 250 million years of carbon sequestered and stored as fossil fuels. How is that possible using the current logic? I also don't understand how CO2 went down from 175 million year ago until 100,000 year ago yet the temperature went up to the same levels before fossil fuels? 

 

 

image277.gif


Edited by HydrogenBond, 13 January 2017 - 08:25 AM.


#17 billvon

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 11:38 AM

They are trying to shutter Coal in America, thus losing jobs. They say its for the Environment.
But for every coal plant that gets shut down here, they Fire Up 2 new ones in China..
So any environmetal gain is quickly offset.
So America needs to keep their coal plants alive and Americans working.

So because someone else isn't doing the right thing, we shouldn't either? 

 

I'm all for clean coal.  So far, the few clean coal/CCS projects that have opened have been abject failures.  If they can get coal to work - to be as clean as natural gas from extraction through energy generation - then great.  But we're a long way from that.