Sunday, March 29, 2009

New F-T Process for Synfuels: Good or Bad News for the Environment?

One new article in Science on a new more efficient process to create synthetic fuels. Two different takes.

Green Car Congress points out how it can help reduce GHG in the article Less Work Required Could Result in 15% Reduction in CO2 Emissions Compared to Conventional Route.

Researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), South Africa and Rutgers University are proposing new Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) reaction chemistry and process designs that they say could increase F-T process efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions by 15% compared to the conventional process.

The new process, which uses a carbon dioxide and hydrogen route rather than the traditional carbon monoxide and hydrogen route, could also open up a pathway for the direct use of CO2 and H2 derived from low-carbon processes (nuclear, wind, solar, bio).
Meanwhile, Wired stresses how it can increase GHG in the article Bad News: Scientists Make Cheap Gas From Coal.
If oil prices rise again, adoption of the new coal-to-liquid technology, reported this week in Science, could undercut adoption of electric vehicles or next-generation biofuels. And that's bad news for the fight against climate change.

The new process could cut the energy cost of producing the fuel by 20 percent just by rejiggering the intermediate chemical steps, said co-author Ben Glasser of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. But coal-derived fuel could produce as much as twice as much CO2 as traditional petroleum fuels and at best will emit at least as much of the greenhouse gas.
Funny how two articles can come to opposite conclusions from the same research.

While this research it promising, it is important to note that even the 15% improved process loses over 1/2 of the total energy during conversion.
If work is recovered from the heat rejected from the synthesis reactors, the net work required by the overall process in an 80,000 barrels per day facility is 820 MW—nearer the optimum (350 MW) than the conventional route (1000 MW).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Our biofuel ways are seriously damaging our envionment, it is known that planting palm groves on reclaimed marshland has released so much methane and Co2 into the atmosphere which collates to 20 times more polution per gallon that conventional fuels like petrol from oil.

The areas in which the palms grow never get any replenishment to the ground in which they grow so their time is limited, when the ground can no longer support the yeilds needed to make a profit they will become unproductive and the companies will either stop producing or move onto the next piece of land or forest destroy that and the whole process comes around again.

At the end of the day, modern cars are adding to the Co2 because all ars are now fitted with a catalyctic convertor or CAT for short which converts the hydrocarbons into Co2 which is most givernments key issue to lower as much as possible.

As we cut down more and more forests there is going to be an imbalance between the amount which is reabsorbed by the tress and how much is emmitted from the carbon fuels that we are trying to produce,

Destroying one habitat burning one fossile fuel to produce another energy is counter productive electric cars are so bad for the enviornment we should be thinking of leaving things as they are, it is ludicrous to burn petrol to procuce electricity, or any other fossile fuel come to that,

Our renewable energy will eventually come from and in this order, Solar, Water and then Wind but id we do nothing like we are just about doing, I know there are wind and water projects being erreced, but we need to do more now with the available resorces,because the world population is grown fast and we will not have enough energy to go around,not even a small amount of what we use today is being brough in via the systems we have today, I just hope we haven't left it too late or we are going to decrease in mumbers in order to survive,

On the other hand there will be plenty of people around to do the hard work which will be involved once things are depleted fossile fuel wise that is.

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