Clean Coal

Topics and issues of interest to cavers which are not related to caving. No political or religious discussions, please.

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Re: Clean Coal

Postby heathermcqueen » Jul 7, 2009 4:54 pm

Wow, what have I started? First of all, I didn't mean to open a political debate, and I thank each person who has resisted the urge to steer it that way, or throw insults at each other. (thanks to the moderator!) It doesn't matter what I think about CO2, or Global Warming. These are heated topics. I just wanted to know if anyone else had heard in detail about clean coal. Because I don't know. I am not trying to engage in politics, and I think it is possible to examine an idea like this without resorting to political sparring.
I was surprised when I heard the words "underground geological formations" in regards to where the waste would be put from this new "clean coal". This technology is new. A theory. Not even marketable yet, really. Lots of money going into the research. I wondered if any others in the caving community had become aware of this, or had any further information. My knee-jerk reaction was to be wary, and skeptical. However, I didn't want to jump to conclusions because I don't really know much about it.
I chose the article from Greenpeace because it went into the most detail about what the process included. And yes, I recognize they are on one extreme end of the debate- but I think that this doesn't exclude their view from consideration. I see it this way: if I want people to listen to my crazy ideas, then I have to sit through theirs, and give them the same consideration and respect that I hope they will give me.
It's hard to find a non-biased source. The Greenpeace article doesn't talk about specific sites for clean coal production, but in other articles, I have read there is a plan to build a new clean coal plant in SW Indiana. That's pretty close to my cave-stomping grounds! (and thanks to Teresa for her information on the developments in SW Missouri) Still, these reports gloss over the issue of underground waste storage.
I believe it is our vigilance that keeps the system in-check, and it's never stupid to ask questions.
It is my understanding that the "waste carbon" is not just CO2, it includes Mercury and "other" pollutants. Maybe the science hasn't been perfected enough to separate the useable elements. I don't know. But for those who say: "my veggies like CO2", and "I exhale CO2"- come on! Water is great too, but it will still drown us. The wider issue is really about consumption, because no matter what, we'll always be producing waste. I ran upon an interesting report about an operation in Iowa to "farm" algae using CO2 to produce biodiesel. This is also an exciting idea to me, but it's really not at all cave-related, so I left it out. (but if the clean coal people and the algae people could put their heads together, think of the possibilities...)
Thanks to the internet, we can find support for just about any idea a person has. I was hoping that someone with actual information about the topic of underground waste storage might speak up. (with respect to those of you who have!)
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Re: Clean Coal

Postby Billy » Jul 7, 2009 8:35 pm

I have read there is a plan to build a new clean coal plant in SW Indiana. That's pretty close to my cave-stomping grounds!

If you really want to familiarize yourself with this topic, you really should become aware of FutureGen and the role it has/had in Illinois (rather discouraging that it doesn't make news in Chicagoland and that you're not aware of it), and the role of carbon sequestration in Illinois (no, it has nothing to do with cave formations). Won't go into the minutia of the politics (not what's been discussed here, but the role of FutureGen in Illinois) or the science, but I don't think you realize how big a role Illinois was/is to play in the whole carbon sequestration/clean coal thingy.
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