The Coalpocalypse

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by noonm, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. noonm

    noonm Member

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    David Roberts is one of the best journalists I've read on environmental issues and probably the top one covering the absolute collapse of coal in the U.S.
    Coal left Appalachia devastated. Now it’s doing the same to Wyoming. - Vox

    At some point, those communities are going to need to be bailed out cause that coal isn't coming back.
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    and they'll probably still vote for the guy who was going to bring back coal
     
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  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    And what will they burn?

    ... barren holes?

    Bob Wilson
     
  4. farmecologist

    farmecologist Senior Member

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    Yep...the economics are changing in favor of renewables. Whatever the current federal government administration does or doesn't want to do....the economics *always* seem to prevail. Hopefully they can retrain some of the coal workers to fill renewable energy jobs...but unfortunately, some of those same folks who will be out of a job are extremely resistant to that.
     
  5. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    Hummmm, this may be an opportunity for EVangelism. If I get some push back at a bar, I'll nod and say:

    You do realize that EVs get their power from coal fired power plants, right? My EV out there is supporting Trumps plan to bring back coal jobs. In contrast, a gas or diesel does nothing to increase coal demand.

    Nothing like taking an anti-EV trope and putting it on its head. The same person who is foolish enough to be anti-EV is likely to believe that EVs are not "green" because they emit CO{2} from coal fired plants. But they have probably been taught that bringing back coal jobs is a great idea. So put them in the position of having to resolve two, contradictory claims.

    Bob Wilson
     
  6. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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  7. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    I'm doing a little sales job on a downtown restaurant and bar that is going through a kitchen fire remodeling. They have a 50A NEMA 14-50 powering their food trailer which provides bar snacks while the kitchen is being rebuilt. I proposed they repurpose the external power plug as an EV charging spot:
    • ask City to install a parking meter and make two EV painted parking spots
    • discussion of EVSE management
    • shared six months of EVSE metrics from the Propst charger
    Bob Wilson
     
  8. t_newt

    t_newt Member

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    Wyoming probably has as much potential for generating low-cost, zero polluting geothermal energy as any state in the country. It could dwarf California, which already has 2.7 Gigawatts of geothermal energy production.

    The problem is that Wyoming has a small population, so doesn't need this energy locally. If the federal government wanted to help the situation, they could beef up the grid so Wyoming could generate clean energy and help out their neighbors and make a big profit in the process.

    Heck, NASA has even suggested that tapping Wyoming's geothermal energy could stave off a supervolcano eruption:
    USA, Wyoming: NASA Suggests Geothermal Power Plants Around Yellowstone
     
  9. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    They had no problem putting in a right-of-way for the trains dragging coal to market.... I'd think they'd be open to putting towers and lines along those routes too.
     
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  10. farmecologist

    farmecologist Senior Member

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    Well...North Dakota is a huge exporter of energy...and are actually (finally) growing their renewable capacity as well. So if ND can do it I'm sure Wyoming could do it. However, point taken that the grid out of Wyoming might need to be beefed up. If I understand it correctly, Wyoming actually exports the coal itself..not necessarily the power (electrons).
     
  11. 3PriusMike

    3PriusMike Prius owner since 2000, Tesla M3 2018

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    Most people focus on coal for electrical generation, but lots of coal is used for making steel.
    What state (or country) the steel is made in doesn't matter much...but where the steel is finally consumed.
    There are a lot of i-beams and rebar used for construction in states that claim to have low coal usage.

    Mike
     
    #11 3PriusMike, Jul 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  12. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Perhaps not for long. The industry is developing less carbon intensive means of making steel. Natural gas can be used, and charcoal could make a come back.
    U.S. Steel: Natural gas process will soon replace coke | TheSpec.com
    A new way to make steel could cut 5% of CO2 emissions at a stroke - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.csiro.au/en/Research/MRF/Areas/Community-and-environment/Responsible-resource-development/Green-steelmaking

    Then we don't use much coal for steel production begin with. The figure I came across for 2011 was that 12% of that's year's coal production went to steel.
     
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  13. noonm

    noonm Member

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    This.

    Climate impacts from coal used in construction material are generally far lower than coal burned to build/run/power that same building. In fact, they are usually lower than the impacts from the bunker fuel/diesel/gas used to transport those construction materials to its construction site. That's why green building programs, like LEED, give credits for sourcing heavy construction material (e.g. steel, aggregate for concrete, wood, etc) locally.
     
  14. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    are there any coal / coke fired US steel factories left in the US? Kaiser left SoCal way back in the early 1980's as manufacturing costs & environmental dynamics made China the best place to do our dirty work. At least a huge chunk of those coal cars are heading for the far east. Go exports.
    .
     
  15. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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  16. noonm

    noonm Member

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    Yeah, they still exist, but they are obviously far fewer than there were 50-60 years ago. Nucor is the biggest one I know of: Nucor Locations

    I toured their Seattle steel plant about a decade ago and it was nice to see US steel production still happening. That plant focused mostly on steel recycling, but they often had to add coke to meet their customer's product specifications. There is still a market for US steel, particularly in green building programs, such as LEED, that will give credits for sourcing building materials locally.
     
  17. RoadNoise

    RoadNoise Active Member

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    Bob and I live in an area almost 100% powered by an aging 3-reactor nuclear power plant, Brown's Ferry. This became evident after the devastating Spring tornadoes of 2011, which took out every trunk-line emanating from the plant, putting the entirety of North Alabama into darkness for 4 days. Power was initially restored via Widow's Creek coal-fired plant running full-tilt. That plant has since been shut down as TVA moves away from coal. Could explain why I seldom hear or see coal trains rumbling through town anymore.
     
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  18. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    We camped out in the house using our 2003 Prius as a 1.1 kW generator burning ~2 gallons per day. Since then, we've put in a 16 kW, natural gas fuel, generator with automatic cutover. This ensures if my non-technical wife is home and there is a power outage, within a minute, it will start and she'll have light, heat, and A/C. Since our plug-in cars draw ~7.2 kW, we can still charge even in a power outage.

    Bob Wilson
     
  19. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    couple questions -
    does the model 3 have the capability to dial down the amperage the way the model X & S does? They can drop charging all the way down to 5 amps (on 240v).

    Next - Generator charging; I take it that it's hooked up to the house ground? Portable EVSE's check for ground, & since many generators are portable - the evse will fault. We overcame the evse ground check on our 6.5 KW Honda inverter by adding a resistor to our evse between one hot & the ground plug.
    .
     
  20. 3PriusMike

    3PriusMike Prius owner since 2000, Tesla M3 2018

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    yes

    Mike