So what's going to replace coal?

 

Pinned post created by dthead

Posted 5 months ago

  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
Other than wood, oil and gas, what can replace coal to fire a steam loco?
(This is a rail forum after all...) Smile

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  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Coal ( and gas and nuclear) turbines have been tripping for generations. The bufree was always a spinning reserve. Like any piece of industrial equipment things go wrong.and honestly  big bloody deal.  smeg happens. This is just a media beat up so don't fall for it.

Solar and wind are not excempt although their smaller unit size reduces the impact.

Weather prediction is I suspect less reliable than a coal fired turbine and to date and back OT what is there when there is no wind or sun? Currently it's called a black out.
If the media factually reports that a unit has tripped out 5 times recently, whether it is unusual or not, how is that a beat up? There was no inference made about the bigger picture that we are discussing in this thread at all.

I hear what you're saying regarding the predictability of weather, but consider all possibilities:
Predictability of it being light during the day and dark at night is 100%.
Predictability of wind conditions conducive to wind powered generation is not 100%, but very high.
Predictability of a coal fired generating unit running reliably is not 100%, but very high.
Predictability of a coal fired generating unit NOT running reliably, and tripping out, is 0%.

These 0% events have been happening pretty often lately. If they are not unusual, it is even more reason to move on to something more reliable.
DirtyBallast
Solar relies more about the brightness of the sun, not impacted by cloud, smoke, fog, haze etc. These factors impact on output and while mostly predictable, the error margin is still significant.

In days of old, the network contained X amount of spinning reserve such that it could handle a trip as they do happen. If a trip these days  exposes the customer base to the trip, then its operational driven, not technological.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Also no one has mention geothermal
Dangersdan707
Most countries that are able to tap into Geothermal typically have volcanoes and other parts of plant earth's innards close to the surface in high temperature form.

My understanding is Australia has some Geo thermal opportunity, not alot, not cheap, not very hot and generally remote.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
You have billions to invest over a 25 year life and want a reasonable ROI.
The advance in technology is a given. Which energy sources will benefit the most from those advances?
Groundrelay
Right now in Australia, a fleet of 1MW diesel gensets is probably a huge money earner.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Other than wood, oil and gas, what can replace coal to fire a steam loco?
(This is a rail forum after all...) Smile
Graham4405
A pantograph on the cab roof and a big element in the boiler. (it has been done)Smile
  Dangersdan707 Assistant Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Other than wood, oil and gas, what can replace coal to fire a steam loco? (This is a rail forum after all...)Very Happy
Graham4405
bio coal
terraformed biomass (google coalition for sustainable rail)
Sugar bagasse, a by product of refining sugar cane (still used in Indonesian sugar mill locos and stationary steam, was used in Cuba for obvious reasons)
waste fryer oil (has been done in usa on the grand canyon railway)
Olive Oil?
bio oil
weed
methane?
waste food and plastic?
pantograph on steam loco Wass done in swisserland during ww2 (like YM stated, was only used for shunting and found to be inefficient
fireless locos
I will try to add more
  Groundrelay Deputy Commissioner

Location: Surrounded by Trolls!
Other than wood, oil and gas, what can replace coal to fire a steam loco? (This is a rail forum after all...)Very Happy
bio coal
terraformed biomass (google coalition for sustainable rail)
Sugar bagasse, a by product of refining sugar cane (still used in Indonesian sugar mill locos and stationary steam, was used in Cuba for obvious reasons)
waste fryer oil (has been done in usa on the grand canyon railway)
Olive Oil?
bio oil
weed
methane?
waste food and plastic?
pantograph on steam loco Wass done in swisserland during ww2 (like YM stated, was only used for shunting and found to be inefficient
fireless locos
I will try to add more
Dangersdan707
Basically anything you can burn. Also if you grow it, it's more sustainable.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
DD707, you left out waste paper and old car tyres. :)Weed - a bit costly !! Smile
Just don't expect the boiler to make steam on most of this stuff or think that you could carry enough of it to move anywhere let alone some of the emissions.

SmileSmile
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
DD707, you left out waste paper and old car tyres. :)Weed - a bit costly !! Smile
Just don't expect the boiler to make steam on most of this stuff or think that you could carry enough of it to move anywhere let alone some of the emissions.

SmileSmile
YM-Mundrabilla
Yes, well, I was aware of alternatives such as these, however I meant viable alternatives! Smile
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
DD707, you left out waste paper and old car tyres. :)Weed - a bit costly !! Smile
Just don't expect the boiler to make steam on most of this stuff or think that you could carry enough of it to move anywhere let alone some of the emissions.

SmileSmile
Yes, well, I was aware of alternatives such as these, however I meant viable alternatives! Smile
Graham4405
Short of throwing a piece of nuclear waste from Fukushima in the boiler, probably nothing apart from scrap wood which seems to be the common alt to coal by the HR operators.
  Dangersdan707 Assistant Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
ok, the weed is a reference to @Valvegear who said that the Byron bay railway would be fueled by weed. also @YM rubber tyres have been used as fuel refer to this video from the Glorious Nation of North Korea



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpTH2h9_WVw
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Also no one has mention geothermal
Nobody's mentioned fusion, Tesla's cosmic energy, Ley lines, fairy dust, unicorns and Unobtainium either...

A friend invested all his hard-earned in a geothermal startup. Last time I saw him he was extremely pissed off that he had lost the lot. Another great idea on paper that collided with reality and came off second best.
I read that NZ invested huge amounts of money in geothermal under Robert Muldoon in the seventies and early eighties but longer term the utility was marginal - aside from the fact that it's an ostensibly 'green' source. One of the biggest draw-backs is that you need to keep moving the pipes tapping the area of hot geothermal activity because the hot areas cool-off after they're tapped.
don_dunstan
- Solar panels decay with age and need cleaning, aimed panel arrays need mechanical maintenance. Require large cleared areas of land

- Solar Thermal uses complex salts, corrision, high temperatures, mirror cleaning/replacing, its a steam system that needs the usual ongoing maintenance and replacement of various components including turbine blades. Required large cleared areas of land.

- Wind turbines are mechanical and large disproportion stresses placed on them and suffer wear and tear like all mechanical items. Usually more modern versions are placed in same location as aging turbines but require new foundations, cabling and larger spacing. Require large semi cleared areas of land.

- Geothermal needs ongoing maintenance, new locations

- Fusion is down + $100B in investment and counting so when ever it does get commericalised they will want the investment back.

- Battery systems have a life of around 10 years or longer on degraded performance.

- Hydro involved leveling forests and valleys which usually contain the higher density of life, plants, animals etc

Renewable is often painted as green and clean, but the reality is not as rosey.
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: Your town.
^ You are absolutely correct. Too often, people think of wind or solar power as totally clean when in fact there is still an environmental cost when all factors are considered. Whether it be from the energy used in the manufacture of blades or panels, or some other factor.

From information readily available on electricitymap.org, the following CO2 emissions data is placed against the different sources of electricity generation, viz:
Solar 45g CO2 equivalent/kWh
Geothermal 38g CO2 equivalent/kWh
Hydro 24g CO2 equivalent/kWh
Wind 11g CO2 equivalent/kWh.

So, not totally green at all.

To be fair though, we need to make a comparison to the more traditional sources of electricity generation:
Coal 820g CO2 equivalent/kWh
Gas 490 CO2 equivalent/kWh.

It is patently obvious that just a little bit dirty is still far better than bloody filthy.

It is interesting to note that Nuclear comes in at just 12g CO2 equivalent/kWh.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

I'm sorry @ db but those numbers for co2 are just complete BS.  Yes, *everything* we do has some emergy and transport input as part of its cost.  

But the co2 "cost" of all this is entirely dependant on assumptions about the energy source mix.  If the manufacture came from a 100% RE and/or Nuclear, and transport were done by biofueled donkey carts, then the other techs would all be co2 0%.

And it also assumes co2 is the only form of pollution worth worrying about.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

I'm sorry @ db but those numbers for co2 are just complete BS.  Yes, *everything* we do has some emergy and transport input as part of its cost.  

But the co2 "cost" of all this is entirely dependant on assumptions about the energy source mix.  If the manufacture came from a 100% RE and/or Nuclear, and transport were done by biofueled donkey carts, then the other techs would all be co2 0%.

And it also assumes co2 is the only form of pollution worth worrying about.
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: Your town.
Fair enough, but it is still a comparison for comparison's sake.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Vic and SA could be in for some fun later this week as a heatwave hits.  Will Yallourn be back and running in time?:
http://www.theage.com.au/business/the-economy/is-victorias-power-grid-prepared-for-a-heatwave-20180115-p4yyhx.html
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: Your town.
Unit 1 at Yallourn came back on line late yesterday. Unit 3, the one which had the 'false start' on Monday, remains out of action but according to the article it should be online by the time the hot weather comes - and I have no reason to be cynical about that.

Another thing to consider about the overall scenario is that Hazelwood, which has now been out of the picture for almost 10 (admittedly benign) months, would have probably been largely shut by now anyway due to its poor condition and the legal requirements to do something about it. And, it didn't run at anything near nameplate capacity for years. Its closure did not affect reserves as much as some people think.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
^ You are absolutely correct. Too often, people think of wind or solar power as totally clean when in fact there is still an environmental cost when all factors are considered. Whether it be from the energy used in the manufacture of blades or panels, or some other factor.

From information readily available on electricitymap.org, the following CO2 emissions data is placed against the different sources of electricity generation, viz:
Solar 45g CO2 equivalent/kWh
Geothermal 38g CO2 equivalent/kWh
Hydro 24g CO2 equivalent/kWh
Wind 11g CO2 equivalent/kWh.

So, not totally green at all.

To be fair though, we need to make a comparison to the more traditional sources of electricity generation:
Coal 820g CO2 equivalent/kWh
Gas 490 CO2 equivalent/kWh.

It is patently obvious that just a little bit dirty is still far better than bloody filthy.

It is interesting to note that Nuclear comes in at just 12g CO2 equivalent/kWh.
DirtyBallast

Only Hydro listed above is 24/7/365 provided you don't over subscribe the resource. The rest apart from Geo, need large parcels of cleared or partly cleared land. Think food print of City of Melbourne to replace  a 2000MW coal power station with PV solar.

Waste heat from coal/gas can also be used to make desal  water. Currently Australia has almost zero if not zero waste heat industries hanging off its thermal power stations, thus reducing their CO2 efficiency. Plus the fact that Australia's coal power stations are mostly 60's 70's and 80's technology (hardy good examples of coal technology) and Vic's stations run on mud!

The  usual catch cry of solar by the Green Movement is that its seen as "free from the sun", likewise fusion. They are no more free than coal. Its takes complex technology to convert these energy sources to reliable and useful electrons.

Nuclear is the elephant in the room that everyone tries to not make eye contact with.
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: Your town.
^ You are absolutely correct. Too often, people think of wind or solar power as totally clean when in fact there is still an environmental cost when all factors are considered. Whether it be from the energy used in the manufacture of blades or panels, or some other factor.

From information readily available on electricitymap.org, the following CO2 emissions data is placed against the different sources of electricity generation, viz:
Solar 45g CO2 equivalent/kWh
Geothermal 38g CO2 equivalent/kWh
Hydro 24g CO2 equivalent/kWh
Wind 11g CO2 equivalent/kWh.

So, not totally green at all.

To be fair though, we need to make a comparison to the more traditional sources of electricity generation:
Coal 820g CO2 equivalent/kWh
Gas 490 CO2 equivalent/kWh.

It is patently obvious that just a little bit dirty is still far better than bloody filthy.

It is interesting to note that Nuclear comes in at just 12g CO2 equivalent/kWh.

The rest apart from Geo, need large parcels of cleared or partly cleared land. Think food print of City of Melbourne to replace  a 2000MW coal power station with PV solar.
RTT_Rules
The 20MW Royalla solar farm near Canberra covers 1km2 so it stands to reason that a 2000MW facility would cover an area of 100 times that. Your point is valid; for example, the total area for the entire Hazelwood power station + mine + cooling pondage + works area was about 50km2 or thereabouts for a very nominal capacity of 1600MW. What you need to take into consideration though is that solar can be fitted to existing structures (obviously not large scale solar farms, but you get my drift). It is common nowadays to see systems approaching 1MW being installed on commercial premises, hospitals, schools etc.

in 2017, about 1GW of solar was installed in Australia. I don't believe that any land got cleared for it!!!
http://reneweconomy.com.au/australia-adds-107mw-rooftop-solar-october-2017-heads-record-year-78481/
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: Your town.
More good news - In Colorado, USA, it has been found to be cheaper to install renewable + battery storage than to operate EXISTING coal fired power stations:

http://reneweconomy.com.au/coal-dies-super-cheap-renewables-plus-battery-storage-82743/
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Unit 1 at Yallourn came back on line late yesterday. Unit 3, the one which had the 'false start' on Monday, remains out of action but according to the article it should be online by the time the hot weather comes - and I have no reason to be cynical about that.

Another thing to consider about the overall scenario is that Hazelwood, which has now been out of the picture for almost 10 (admittedly benign) months, would have probably been largely shut by now anyway due to its poor condition and the legal requirements to do something about it. And, it didn't run at anything near nameplate capacity for years. Its closure did not affect reserves as much as some people think.
DirtyBallast
I suppose the question is not much should it have been closed (it should have at least 10 years prior),  but rather should it have been replaced? Maybe not the full capacity?
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
DD707, you left out waste paper and old car tyres. :)Weed - a bit costly !! Smile
Just don't expect the boiler to make steam on most of this stuff or think that you could carry enough of it to move anywhere let alone some of the emissions.

SmileSmile
Yes, well, I was aware of alternatives such as these, however I meant viable alternatives! Smile
Short of throwing a piece of nuclear waste from Fukushima in the boiler, probably nothing apart from scrap wood which seems to be the common alt to coal by the HR operators.
RTT_Rules
So, in the absence of a clean, green, renewable fuel for steam locos, they will all be scrapped... Twisted Evil
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
Unit 1 at Yallourn came back on line late yesterday. Unit 3, the one which had the 'false start' on Monday, remains out of action but according to the article it should be online by the time the hot weather comes - and I have no reason to be cynical about that.

Another thing to consider about the overall scenario is that Hazelwood, which has now been out of the picture for almost 10 (admittedly benign) months, would have probably been largely shut by now anyway due to its poor condition and the legal requirements to do something about it. And, it didn't run at anything near nameplate capacity for years. Its closure did not affect reserves as much as some people think.
DirtyBallast
In theory should have been closed well ago. was never intended to last this long.

If I remember rightly Hazelwood was running at 1200MW by the time it closed and that was the highest stable output it could sustain without anything breaking or failing quicker.
  allan Chief Commissioner

So, in the absence of a clean, green, renewable fuel for steam locos, they will all be scrapped... Twisted Evil
Graham4405
It's my understanding that the railways made that decision more than sixty years ago, and that, especially, city air is much the better for it.

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