Prospects for Coal as a Direct Fuel and Its Potential Through Application of Liquefaction And Gasification Technology
- J.R. Bowden (Conoco Coal Development Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 1976
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 11 - 15
- 1976. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 4.6 Natural Gas
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- 76 since 2007
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Prospects for Coal as a Direct Fuel and Its Prospects for Coal as a Direct Fuel and Its Potential Through Application of Liquefaction Potential Through Application of Liquefaction And Gasification Technology
Examination of the resource base for coal indicates that there will be no problem (other than man-made) in availability, for legitimate domestic problem (other than man-made) in availability, for legitimate domestic energy requirements within the next 20 years. Coal production will increase greatly as more convenient forms of fossil energy decline in availability, and coal conversion plants will be built to verify, new technology.
In looking at the prospects for coal and its derivatives in our energy system, the stratagem of discussing this topic in terms of a 20-year time horizon is a simple one. Nearly every other approach divides the future into three parts: now to 1985, 1985 to 2000, and beyond 2000. Talking in these time brackets is easy. Not much of anything spectacular is going to happen before 1985. The next period does not even start for 10 years and then continues until period does not even start for 10 years and then continues until most of us are retired; therefore, it is obvious that nothing more than hazy speculation is required or even desired. And surely no one can expect anyone but Buck Rogers to speak with authority about the 21st century. A 20-year time frame is one in which something can and should happen in coal technology and use. However, should the approach be analytical or philosophical? Most approach the problem analytically. I call this method the 50-50-50 approach - $50 worth of information, 500 worth of judgment, and $50,000 worth of computer processing time. Here, I will give you my version of the 50-50-50 approach - the same $50 worth of information, hopefully $50 worth of judgment, and $50 worth of computation on a hand calculator.
My raw material is coal in the ground. Since I am giving a minimum-number, maximum-concept presentation, consider the resource base infinite with respect to the time period under consideration. Coal usually is classified on the basis of an A.S.T.M. standard as anthracite, bituminous, subbituminous, or lignite. Each class is further subdivided so that a total of 13 principal groups of coal commonly are listed. For our purposes, these groupings are trivial. More appropriate coal classifications are (1) suitable or unsuitable for coke making; (2) high or low sulfur content or, more realistically, compliance or noncompliance with respect to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or other emission standards; and (3) surface or deep mineable. Obviously, a given coal has a ranking in all three categories. If coal is suitable for coke making it should not be used as a source of simple thermal energy. Only a small percentage of coal reserves is usable in today's cokemaking processes. Although technology is under development to extend the range of suitable coking coals and ultimately will be successful, Rule 1 is that if it is high-quality coking coal, do not burn it under boilers, no matter how attractive its cost or emission characteristics. We are frequently helped in this decision by the fact that many metallurgical coals are not suitable for steam raising except in specially designed boilers. In reserving this premium coal for steel making, we have not altered the resource base for our purpose. It still is infinite. purpose. It still is infinite. The question of sulfur content cannot be dismissed quite so lightly, even though 'Its significance may be as artificial as some argue. Certainly in the pre-EPA days, sulfur was not a problem.
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