[ExI] Cheap fuel from coal and solar

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Fri Oct 20 16:39:07 UTC 2023

On Thu, Oct 19, 2023 at 9:42 PM spike jones via extropy-chat
<extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat <extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org> On Behalf Of
> BillK via extropy-chat
> ... _______________________________________________
> >...I doubt that coal liquefaction will be allowed.
> >...The agreement by many nations (not China)... BillK
> BillK, thanks for including the parenthetical not China part, for my
> prediction is that it will be specifically China which is most likely to
> proceed with the project, for two reasons.  The first is that it was granted
> Developing Nation status by the UN.  There is no established criterion by
> which a developing nation stops developing.  So... they can do whatever they
> want with respect to coal liquefaction.  They want.  Second reason: if those
> four nations I mentioned, China is the most likely to try to buy a hunk of
> Africa and enforce a border with military force.

The future is impossible to predict, but I don't think you can defend PV

> Another factor: they have a big desert too, the Gobi.  It isn't as well
> suited for the purpose as West Africa, because it lacks availability of
> sufficient water needed for the Fischer Tropsch process,

To the best of my knowledge, Fischer Tropsch does not use a lot of water.

Please correct me if I have this wrong.

> so they would need
> to pipe in both seawater (for cooling) and fresh water (for the process) as
> well as pipe out the oil and truck in the coal.  It isn't clear to me if
> they would prefer to attempt to buy and defend a hunk of the Sahara.  They
> might try both.

The Gobi is far to the north making the PV output highly seasonal.
This method is less sensitive if you have an empty gas field to store
the syngas, but there are capital equipment charges to consider.  I
have looked into the PV in the Mideast and it averages 9/24 without
much seasonal variation.

Long run, perhaps West Africa will be used this way, but short term,
Qatar has 140,000 bbl per day (5800 bbl/hr) of existing F/T production
from gas.  I don't know when that gas will run out, but when it does
coal (if they use this trick) will come in by ship.

Hmm.  7,3 bbl.ton or 800 t/h. Carbon is 12/14 of this. Half of the
carbon is lost in making more hydrogen, so the coal input is 1370 tons
per hour.  Vaporizing a ton of coal takes 3 MWh/ton giving an
electrical input of 4.1 GW average and because it is intermittent, 11
GW when the sun is up. 11 GW is a large block of power, but the Saudis
have signed a deal for 300 GW of solar by 2030.

The Saudis pump about 6 million bbl/day.  It would take around 43 of
the Qatar plants to equal this and the plants would draw about 471 GW
while the sun is up.  I don't think this is likely, but the Saudis
*could* switch over and sell this kind of synthetic oil for at least
another generation.

Sorry for all the math but I can't say if something is a good idea or
not without working the numbers.  I realize I am an extreme outlier in
this respect.



> spike
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