Coal

‘Clean Coal’ With Carbon Capture Debuts in North America (Not in US)

Publication: NBC News   Date: October 4, 2014   View Article

A first-of-its-kind coal-fired power plant retrofitted with technology to capture and store most of the carbon dioxide produced at one of its boilers officially began operations this week in Saskatchewan, Canada. Meanwhile, a similar project in Illinois to demonstrate a cleaner way to burn the world’s most abundant fossil fuel remains in legal and financial limbo.

Whether the U.S. government-backed project in Meredosia, Ill., will advance so-called carbon capture and storage, or CCS, technology is an open question, but experts deem the technology itself vital if the world hopes to stand any practical chance at staving off catastrophic climate change.

And CCS is being propelled forward by pollution-control measures such as the Obama admnistration’s proposed rules to limit carbon emissions from new and existing power plants.

New Carbon Rules: Here’s How States Could Be Forced to Cut Emissions

Publication: NBC News   Date: June 2, 2014   View Article

In a bid to stave off the dire effects of global warming on human health and the environment, the White House on Monday unveiled a new plan to slash carbon emissions from the power sector by 30 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030.

“That’s like cancelling out annual carbon pollution from two-thirds of all cars and trucks in America,” Gina McCarthy, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said in announcing the new rules.

Pacific Northwest’s Salish Sea Eyed as Fossil Fuel Gateway

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 9, 2014   View Article

Trains loaded with crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale formation rumble past the outfield bleachers of the Seattle Mariners’ baseball stadium several times a week. From there, the trains head north, their cargo destined for multiple refineries in Washington State.

The traffic is new: Just three years ago, no oil trains were coming to Washington. Bakken crude is filling a void created by dwindling shipments from aging oil fields on Alaska’s North Slope, and the petroleum industry wants to bring in more. But the push to build more rail and shipping capacity in the Pacific Northwest is spurring debate over how that oil flow will affect the region—and where it should ultimately go.

Surprising strategy to fight global warming: Cut down on soot

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 17, 2013   View Article

A quick hit way to slow the pace of global warming may be to tackle soot emissions from things such as diesel cars and coal-burning cookstoves, according to a new study that finds the black carbon these devices emit is the second-biggest contributor to global climate change.

All told, soot has about two-thirds the effect on warming as the best-known greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. The findings push methane, which is emitted by everything from belching cattle to fracking operations, from the No. 2 spot.

Tornado generator may create the energy of a coal-fired power plant

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 3, 2013   View Article

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s foundation recently invested $300,000 in a start-up company that aims to harness energy from tornadoes. A single twister-generator machine could produce as much energy as a coal-fired power plant without the downside of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Atmospheric Vortex Engine is the brainchild of Louis Michaud, a Canadian engineer who first started talking about the concept in the early 2000s. He’s successfully proven it works with 13-foot diameter version.

Classic 1937 steam engine soon to run carbon-free

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: May 25, 2012   View Article

A steam train built in 1937 is getting a makeover that will turn it into a “higher-speed” locomotive that runs on biocoal, a coal-like fuel made with woody plant material.

When finished, the train will be able chug along existing tracks at speeds up to 130 miles per hour without contributing to the greenhouse gas pollution blamed for global warming.

Materials wizard wins $500,000 prize

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: June 14, 2011   View Article

The man behind a stretchy heart monitor, an electronic eye camera, and a solar energy technology that is potentially price-competitive with coal has bagged a $500,000 prize for his creative, inventive mind.

John Rogers credits a fortunate upbringing by a physicist dad and poet mom, as well as a team of talented colleagues, for making him one of the most successful midcareer scientists in the country and recipient of this year’s Lemelson-MIT Prize.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach