In the not so distant past we have heard the political chattering classes drag out the term “clean coal”, whatever that may mean! This would seem to most people something of an OXYMORON1, because whenever I pick up a lump of coal, my hands are invariably dirty, and if a piece of this coal touches my shirt, trousers and shoes, they get dirty.
The originator of this term I believe, is the intrepid Minister for The Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg MP, Member for Kooyong (in Victoria).
All the emotive bollocks about “dirty polluting coal” being bandied about by the press and the chattering classes (commentators and politicians), the under-educated, illiterate, intellectually challenged and the ideologically ill informed Greens and Labour politicians predominantly, does nothing to explain the coal shambles in a rational and coherent manner for the punters, those of us, who suffer this political leadership.
A line in the sand needs to be formed so that the public have access to the problem, and the correct solution for the real problem, economically and technically driven on physical engineering facts, and NOT ideology.Yes, some Liberal ministers are also guilty as well, particularly Josh Frydenberg, who looks decidedly uneasy in interviews and sends out an incongruous message on this subject. This term is even on the prime ministers lips these days, although I suspect he has no clue of what it really means.
What makes up coal as a “fossil fuel”
Just remember that all those trees and the vegetable / animal matter that go to make up coal as a “fossil fuel”, must have grown in the environment of the day, in the world, somewhere in time past. The fact that the trees grew to such size, and in such abundance, plus the aquatic animal species were in such proliferation, would suggest that the environment of that time was pristine, and not “polluted” in any way.
It is plainly obvious to the alert observer that the trees and vegetable matter were then transported hydraulically (Noah’s Flood) at some previous point in time to their current position, and then had huge quantities of sand, mud, rocks and dirt washed over the vegetable debris to compact it, which then lead to the formation of coal layers. This is what you see in coal mines, trunks of trees with root systems, ripped branches, leaf matter, turtle shells, sand, mud and rocks all mixed in.
My question for the mantra chanting Greens, the lunatic left of Labour, Get up, Crikey and the host of other self -appointed saviours of the planet is this: “How is it that when we dig this hard black stuff up, crush it into a powder, and then burn it in a high temperature furnace with excess oxygen, it magically gives off “pollutants”, as a by-product of combustion?”
Why are they not challenged about the absurdity of their utterances on the floor of Parliament and in the media to answer this question.?
It does not make sense really, but if you believe that you get “pollutants” from combustion of compressed carboniferous material, you must be smoking some mighty powerful substance!
By products of burning coal
The other by-products of burning coal, namely silicates, glass, slag and fly ash, are all remarkably inert substances. Just crushed rock really, full of silica, bauxite, ferrous compounds, and trace mineral elements. I will admit that the trees did tend to concentrate the sulphur and nitrogen compounds as they drew in water solutions, so that is why you get SO2 & NOx gases from coal-fired power stations emissions. Most of that can be scrubbed out chemically from the furnace exhaust gasses, leaving us with heaps of good old clean CO2, which of course is plant food, and hence the greening of the earth in recent times.
And by the way, to the members of the climate- catastrophe press gallery; Please do not show us any more pictures of power station cooling towers, which give out white fluffy steam from the top of the tower. This is not pollutants, but just water vapour, good old pure H2O, stuff that all plant and animals need to use to grow.
Newer generation of coal
The coal that will be burned in the newer generation of coal fired power stations ( HELO) being contemplated, is still the same coal as is currently being burned in older generation power stations. They still have the same CO2 output, with SO2 and NOx gasses. Magically, the coal fuel for these power stations now becomes “clean coal” if it is used in the new power stations!
Obviously this is plainly ridiculous, and illogical.
What must the public think? That our politicians are barking mad, to use that phrase!.
The only difference with the new generation coal- fired power stations is that they are more energy efficient, typically 4 – 5% above existing coal fired power stations i.e. they are able to maximise the heat output for a given quantity of coal, which translates into more electricity for every ton of coal burned.
Additional reading – The coal formation process
For further detailed explanation of the coal formation process, I would refer you to this link The Formation of Coal Creation Research Australia maintain an informative and technically rigorous web site run by a Professional Geologist, who has additional qualifications in biology and plant genetics, the two links below being a sample on this subject.
1. oxymoron – noun. a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g.coal and clean coal ).