[ExI] Cheap fuel from coal and solar

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Thu Oct 19 17:25:21 UTC 2023

>... On Behalf Of Keith Henson via extropy-chat
>...Subject: Re: [ExI] Cheap fuel from coal and solar


>...Trouble with history is that there is so much of it, and it keeps piling up....Keith

That's only part of the trouble.  The job gets bigger if we take on the task of rewriting what has already been done in accordance with modern sensibilities.

>...Wikipedia article on Fischer–Tropsch.  ...

Keith, as I recall from having done the end-to-end calcs on this with Robert Bradbury about 20 yrs ago, this will pencil out much better if low-grade bituminous coal is the feedstock rather than air extraction or the high priced limited supply of anthracite coal.  If external energy is in plentiful supply, the lowest grade highest sulfur coal still pencils out, and even peat as a feeder, iiiiiifffff... the peat is right there, to reduce the transport cost.  Peat is cheap but it still hasta be close by.

There is bituminous coal available in or near the Sahara, but I don't know about peat.

My predictions stands: we will continue to need liquid fuels, eventually the Fischer-Tropsch process will be used, the energy will come from solar, good chance the facility will be close to the Atlantic coast in Africa (in order to have access to sufficient quantities of cooling water (and to transport coal in and to haul liquid hydrocarbons out.))

My prediction comes with a caveat: for a big segment of our population takes constant power for granted, without ever worrying where it will come from.  They will view any notion of converting coal to liquid fuel as heresy.  

However... I do hope everyone will ponder this next comment: we moderns are completely dependent on reliable power.  If we have major power failures or even major communications system failures, society will collapse and people will die bigtime.  


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