Thursday, December 24, 2020

No more guilt trips? Revolutionary process converts carbon dioxide into jet fuel using cheap catalysts for emissions-free flights

Ya gotta laugh! Adding a hydrogen atom to CO2 to make a hydrocarbon seems obvious chemistry but it is not so easy in practice. So the scientists below deserve some credit for their achievement.

But where does the hydrogen atom come from? The usual source of hydrogen is natural gas, which is a "FOSSIL FUEL". So those dreaded fossil fuels are still being used to create the new "non-fossil" fuel. The non-fossil fuel comes from fossil fuel. Follow that? Clarity of thought is not to be expected from Greenies

Creating jet fuel for planes out of carbon dioxide – which could make flying guilt free – could soon be a reality.

The process from a team at Oxford University uses cheap iron catalysts to capture CO2 from the air and converts it into fuel for aeroplanes.

The academics have labelled their innovation a 'significant social advance' in how the abundant greenhouse gas is converted and its potential to make flying more environmentally acceptable.

The chemical reaction takes CO2 out of the air, and converts it into jet fuel, which is then emitted by the plane in flight.

As there is no need to extract oil from the ground, the process is carbon neutral.

Aviation is a large and growing contributor to the greenhouse effect – with its gases labelled by Boris Johnson as creating a 'toxic teacosy' around the earth.

It contributes around 10 per cent of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions, and is growing as air traffic rises here and abroad.

Flying has as a result become an environmental and political battleground – with environmentalists opposing expansion of air travel – for increasing CO2 emissions.

Teenage activist Greta Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic to the USA to avoid getting in a plane, and celebrities such as Emma Thompson and Harry Potter actress Emma Watson have been lambasted for lecturing the public on the evils of global warming, while regularly jetting round the world.

But the UK is legally bound get to 'net zero' carbon emissions by 2050, so to do this a new form of carbon neutral fuel must be found.

The issue for aviation is that its fuel breaks down and spews out CO2 and water, and both of these products are emitted into the atmosphere.

However, the new technique would capture the gas already in the atmosphere and create fuel, negating the need to fill up with new fuel extracted from the ground.

CO2 is highly stable, but the researchers led by Peter Edwards of Oxford University managed to convert it back into fuel by using a chemical reaction powered by an iron-based catalyst – at low temperatures – and adding hydrogen.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Professor Peter Edwards said the breakthrough could put Britain at the forefront of a revolutionary new green industry.

He said: 'This is a really exciting, potentially revolutionary advance, the most important advance in my four decade career.'

Professor Edwards said he expected it could scale up in two to three years to create jet fuel in large quantities.

He added: 'Our vision is that the world can see that captured CO2 can be used as energy carrier to enable sustainable aviation.

He added that the team are in advanced discussions with UK industries to set up a pilot plant demonstration.

'With government support this would provide the stimulus to grow a new UK synthetic aviation fuel manufacturing industry .

'This advance offers post – Brexit Britain a chance to lead the world in climate change , boost our science base and enhance our reputation.

'These scientific advances must now lead to break-through technology and innovation. We mustn't miss this opportunity.'

Writing in the respected journal Nature Communications, the authors said that their discovery could 'mitigate carbon dioxide emissions but also to produce renewable and sustainable jet fuel'.

Protect low-income and senior households by protecting natural gas

With such uncertainty in our lives today, the cost of energy should not be another problem people have to worry about. While the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic fallout has stricken people throughout the country, it is unfortunate that access to affordable energy is often overlooked. This is an especially troubling dynamic as cold winter weather looms, and the public faces an unprecedented $24 billion in electric and gas debt.

Environmental activists often ignore the human cost of energy inequity in our society as they advocate for bans on the use of natural gas in the home. They also fail to acknowledge the pivotal role that natural gas plays in providing reliable, affordable energy to seniors and low-income communities. Unfortunately, this has led to some communities forcing consumers to convert from natural gas. These mandates to ban gas in favor of an all-electric infrastructure will lead to higher energy costs and increase the financial burden for consumers nationwide without accomplishing their intended goals for the environment.

Policy-driven bans on natural gas will increase the average household energy bill by between $750 and $910 per year. But high energy costs and the lack of energy affordability already affect families across the country. Californians, for example, face some of the highest energy bills in the nation — which is notable, as the majority of natural gas bans have been proposed or enacted in the state. California residents are already required to pay tens of billions of dollars in extra costs related to renewable-energy mandates and transmission-system upgrades before even considering the costs associated with poorly conceived natural gas bans.

Before cities in California fast-track electrification policies, they must consider the economic ramifications of these hastily implemented natural gas bans on low-income families and communities. Not every Californian can afford the cost of these bans when compared to their speculated benefit. The median household income for Californians in places that have banned or restricted natural gas use is 78% higher than the national average and 45% higher than the California median.

Unfortunately, a one-size-fits-all approach to energy plans that ban consumer choice often affect low-income communities the hardest. What’s more, as the California Energy Commission explains, low-income renters are often unable to convert away from natural gas due to upfront costs or a lack of homeownership. While the policies in higher-income areas may not have as large an effect on low-income Californians now, they can be a slippery slope to an energy future that leaves the most vulnerable citizens unable to foot the bill.

Moreover, senior citizens, who often live on fixed incomes and face difficult financial decisions each month, are also vulnerable to the burden of high energy costs — and with close to 6 million seniors, the state of California is projected to age faster than the rest of the nation. While only 10.5% of California’s seniors currently live below the federal poverty line, as the senior population continues to grow, so too will the number of seniors who face financial strain. Compounded with increasing energy bills from natural gas bans, seniors could struggle to make ends meet each month.

Unfortunately, the issue of blindly banning natural gas isn’t confined to California. Similar natural gas bans are taking shape in New York, Massachusetts, and Oregon. We must ensure policymakers at every level of government are aware of the burden anti-natural gas policies place on their constituents, particularly those living on a low- or fixed-income, working families, and seniors.

Our energy future is more complex than wholesale bans. Utilities and environmental groups can work together toward a cleaner energy future that doesn’t disproportionately affect communities based on wealth. Gas utilities place a high priority on benefiting the environment and helping those who are most vulnerable. These priorities are an important part of our mission, especially the mission of public gas utilities nationwide.

Those advocating for natural gas bans also disregard the role natural gas can play in achieving climate-change goals. Gas utilities have led the nation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions for decades, adding 30 million new residential customers since 1970 with virtually no increase in emissions. Natural gas plays a valuable role in addressing climate change, all while remaining affordable.

The nation’s energy infrastructure shouldn’t create barriers and financial burdens for hardworking families, especially when it comes to how they heat their homes, cook their food, and fuel their appliances. As the nation braces for winter weather and continues to deal with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, energy affordability must be a priority. To make progress on climate goals while offering families a fair price on their energy bill, policymakers should protect consumers’ ability to choose affordable, efficient, and reliable natural gas.

How Subsidized Wind and Solar Power Threatens our National Grid

New book, "The Looming Energy Crisis: Are Blackouts Inevitable?"

(From the Introduction)
There is an ideology that threatens the grid. This book will examine how federal regulators, state governments, utility companies, and the operators of the grid themselves are imposing their beliefs about climate change on all Americans and placing the grid in great jeopardy. Unelected bureaucrats and self-imposed intelligentsia are making decisions that place all Americans in danger.

It can be argued that the actions these people are taking are making electricity more costly and less reliable and placing Americans at risk for little or no reason. The Looming Energy Crisis will show you why we must continue to use fossil fuels and why we must protect the grid from the actions of those who are imposing their personal beliefs on the rest of us. Our objective should be low-cost reliable electricity available for everyone. Reliability is a national security issue.

(From Chapter 1: The Grid)
The basic components of the grid consist of the equipment that generates the electricity, the equipment that carries the electricity across the country, and the distribution of electricity to the homeowner or business...

Traditional methods of generating electricity, other than hydro, are built to operate 24/7, year round, and are referred to as baseload power. Attempting to have these plants follow load, with load increasing and decreasing, has negative effects of a varying nature.

Nuclear plants can't be cycled up or down when demand varies. Coal-fired plants are damaged by the expansion and contraction of component parts when they try to follow load, due to the varying temperatures created with increasing and decreasing steam flows. Natural Gas Combined Cycle (NGCC) plants are more flexible and can adjust output more readily. Natural gas peaking units can ramp up and down rapidly. Their purpose is to provide electricity during peak periods of demand. Wind and solar PV, on the other hand, only operate when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining and can't be relied on to generate electricity when needed...

Storage has become an issue as attempts are made to use more wind and PV solar on the grid. Lithium-ion batteries have become the battery of choice. Lithium-ion batteries have to be replaced ever ten years or so, which adds to the cost of storage...

Capacity factor (CF) is an important measurement for evaluating different types of generation. CFs for the various methods of generating electricity are: Nuclear: 91 percent; Natural gas combined cycle: 87 percent; Coal-fired plants: 85 percent; Onshore wind: around 34 percent; PV solar: 12-25 percent, usually based on location...

(From Chapter 2: Framework for Mandates)
It's been demonstrated that capturing CO2 from a coal-fired power plant results in derating the plant by around one-third. In other words, a plant rated at 300 megawatts becomes a plant rated at 200 megawatts. Derating is the result of using about one-third of the power plant's output to run the equipment requires to capture and compress the CO2 so it can be transported and sequestered underground...

In pursuit of clean energy, many states have established renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that utilities must follow...The RPS usually begins with a small requirement, say 5 percent, and then increases until it reaches a fairly large requirement by 2050.

(From Chapter 3: Clean Electricity Mandates)
These twelve states listed in Table 1, plus any others that adopt 100 percent clean electricity goals, have unwittingly mandated three outcomes:

Substantially higher costs for electricity for every resident;
Less reliable service with more frequent interruptions;
Increased risk for extended blackouts.

While it's not easy to estimate the cost for a state or city, the cost for the entire country to replace fossil fuels is nearly $20 trillion, about equal to our national debt. Plus, most of this cost is repeated every ten years as batteries and equipment wear out and have to be replaced.

The increased cost of electricity will be substantial. Germans already pay four times more than the average American, and they have only cut their CO2 emissions by 31 percent. Imagine how much more they will pay when they start to add more than token amounts of storage...

(From Chapter 8:Market Structure)
At the direction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 1999, regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs) were established covering two-thirds of the population of the United States...We will establish that the integrity and reliability of the grid as well as the low-cost objective have been jeopardized by politicians at both the state and federal levels who have been pursuing policies based on political agendas. The fear of climate change, with the objective of cutting GHG emissions, is central to these political agendas. In essence RTO/ISOs have rigged the market to ensure that wind and solar replace fossil fuels.

(From Chapter 10: Rigged Auctions)
Real-time auctions (Note: in which RTO/ISOs buy power from power plants) operate in a similar manner to day-ahead auctions. Both have three immediate consequences.

First, they result in nuclear and coal-fired power plants being retired, which reduces the availability of baseload power...

Second, they encourage the building of unnecessary power plants. Wind and solar plants are built because they get subsidies and can always win these auctions, even though there may not be a need for the electricity they produce other than to meet renewable portfolio standards required by some states. Utilities and independent power producers are building these wind installations to take advantage of the tax credits.

Third, the levelized cost of electricity from wind and solar is higher than from NGCC, coal-fired, and nuclear power plants...

Wind and solar have a competitive advantage because they can bid zero and still have their costs covered by an out-of-market payment - a payment hidden in the bidding process.

This is skewing the bidding so that wind and solar can always win any bid they enter.

(From Chapter 12: Supply Must Meet Demand)
To protect against the collapse of the grid when wind or solar fail to produce electricity (there must be) gas turbines standing by in spinning reserve, ready to come online at a moment's notice.

This may not be possible during the winter in northern states where the supply of natural gas is unavailable to NGCC power plants because natural gas must go to homeowners for heating purposes before it can be used to generate electricity.

There are some areas, such as in New York and New England, where state government have prohibited the construction of pipelines, preventing the availability of sufficient supplies of natural gas in those areas.

This problem is migrating to other areas of the country as state governments prevent the construction of pipelines to meet the growing demand for natural gas. Protesters are preventing the construction of pipelines by using the courts to block construction for a variety of reasons. Many of these pipelines are essential if there is to be a guaranteed supply of electricity in certain areas of the country.

(From Chapter 20: Recent Trends)
In 2020 Professor Judith Curry drew three main conclusions from her latest paper, "Plausible scenarios for climate change: 2020-2050."

We are starting to narrow the uncertainty in the amount of warming from emissions that we can expect out to 2050.

All three modes of natural variability - solar, volcanoes, and internal variability - are expected to trend cool over the next three decades.

Depending on the relative magnitude of emissions driven warming versus natural variability, decades with no warming, or even cooling, are more or less plausible." (Net warmest scenario: +.7 degrees Celsius; Net moderate scenario: +.11 C; Net coldest scenario: -.5 C.)

The latest science has established we have nothing to fear from increases in atmospheric levels of CO2 and methane...

There is every reason to believe that we are not facing an existential threat, and that actions to curtail CO2 and methane will cause severe harm to Americans.

Email from The CO2 Coalition:

Virtue signalling and the hatred of coal

Comment from Australia

There has been more than one virus attacking the fibre of our society over the past 12 months as virtue signalling has leapt from business to business and executives have scrambled to join the race to be “woke.”

We are all now expected to conform to whatever shallow, vacuous position is currently in vogue and embrace every demand made by the chattering class lest we be condemned on social media.

Mackay small business man David Hartigan is the latest casualty of this crusade by the corporate world to beat its collective chest and show the world it has a social conscience.

His company provides engineering advice to mining companies. “Good on you, mate,” you might say, for creating jobs and doing your bit to help grow the national economy.

Not so in the world of the woke with his insurance company telling him that he cannot make more than 40 per cent of his income from thermal coal mining clients if he wants coverage.

This, of course, is so the insurance company can proclaim to the world that it cares about climate change

The large number of financial institutions now too frightened to cover mining businesses has lessened competition and allowed those still in the business to ramp up their premiums, Mr Hartigan’s increasing by 300 per cent over the past four years.

Can someone please explain to me how screwing a small businessman in regional Queensland is going to save the planet.

It is stupidity writ large and goes hand-in-hand with the insistence by the woke warriors that no one is building coal fired power plants anymore, thus ignoring the inconvenient truth that Germany commissioned one this year, Japan will build 20 over the next five years and the Chinese are building them faster than you can count.

The truth? They can’t handle the truth, preferring to project an image of heartfelt care confected by a marketing consultant while damaging the economy.

Whatever happened to that once treasured Australian trait of declaring in a loud voice that if it looks like bull…t and smells like bull…t, the chances are it’s bull…t? Have we lost the ability to mock poseurs and impostors who wear their false virtue like a robe?




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