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Coal..
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Ballard



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 826
Location: Surrey

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:51 am    Post subject: Coal.. Reply with quote

Does anyone have any info on the state of the UK's coal reserves:-

How much coal is there in the UK ?
How many coal fired power stations are there?
How long does it take to build new ones?
Can existing powerstations be retrofitted to use coal?

It seems to me that the most likely future will be coal powered, whether this damages the environment or not..
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Blue Peter



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 1936
Location: Milton Keynes

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do believe that clsoing down the mines in the 80s means that it will be more difficult to reopen them than if they had been carefully looked after,


Peter.
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mobbsey



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 2243
Location: Banbury

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

>How much coal is there in the UK ?

1,500 million tonnes proven reserves (BP Statistical Review, 2005)



>How many coal fired power stations are there?

See Digest of UK Energy Statistics 2005, Table 5.11, for a full list of all UK power stations and their fuel type (it's an Excel file):
http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/inform/energy_stats/electricity/dukes05_511.xls



>How long does it take to build new ones?

Including planning permision/inquiries, 4 - 6 years.



>Can existing powerstations be retrofitted to use coal?

By definition, they're burnig coal already! Most of the other power stations are gas fired and so can't burn coal at all (un;ess you fit a gasifier on the front).




In reality, our coal reserves will only last about 26 years at current rates of consumption. If we tried to get all our current power demand from coal the reserves would only last 13 years.


P.
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mobbsey



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 2243
Location: Banbury

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I think I should add, we currently import just over half of all our coal, mostly from South Amercia, as it has a lower sulphur content than UK coal. This change occurred during the 1990s as power stations had to reduce sukphur emissions -- it was cheaper to switch supplier than install scrubbers. However, new Euro. regulations in 2008 could effectively close most of our coal fired plants unless they install scrubbers to cut the levels of pollution they emit.


P.
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revdode



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 317
Location: Hungary

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree we will almost certainly revert to coal in the short term but don't know how much this will really help. As an optimist I may just dig out my steam powered bike plans and get fabricating:)

I was recently in Longannet generation station (Just north of the Forth) and was shocked by the state of the place. Crushed coal, soot and water over the generator floor, steam and water leaks and broken plant easily visible to the casual visitor. AFAIK since the Longannet mine flooded most of the coal for the generator is brought in by truck or rail both using diesel. As diesel prices rise it must be becoming increasingly uneconomic which may explain the sites general state of dilapidation. I beleive Longannet is one of the larger coal powered stations in the country.

An interesting question would be what is the expected life of the remaining coal powered generation stations?
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beev



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 112
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coal is one of the reasons why I'm not about to panic. If all the oil ran out tomorrow, coal and carbon-rationing would get us through. It's not great for the environment, but it's better than starving!
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clv101
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Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 7634

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beev wrote:
Coal is one of the reasons why I'm not about to panic. If all the oil ran out tomorrow, coal and carbon-rationing would get us through. It's not great for the environment, but it's better than starving!

Get us through? Through to what? What makes you think we could ramp up coal use as fast as oil declines, do you want to be a coal miner? Look at the numbers mobbsey gave for coal reserves at present rates of consumption. It's not as if coal is a direct replacement for oil anyway. Coal can never take the place of oil.
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fishertrop



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 859
Location: Sheffield

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clv101 wrote:

Get us through? Through to what? What makes you think we could ramp up coal use as fast as oil declines, do you want to be a coal miner? Look at the numbers mobbsey gave for coal reserves at present rates of consumption. It's not as if coal is a direct replacement for oil anyway. Coal can never take the place of oil.


I have to agree with clv - effectively what we would be facing would be all the gas-fired plants going offline leaving only the coal fired units going flat out (and the nukes of course) but you can't build new coal fired plants overnight, you can't extract more coal overnight (much of ours is imported currently anyway, by diesel powered ships...) and it all needs supporting infrastructure that runs on oil.

For sure we will need the coal infrastructure we have but it isn't "the answer" - I bet you could work out what the rolling blackouts would be like by doing a few sums on current total consumption and coal-fired max capacity.

I'm not about panic either, but I'm not planning on a coal-fired future....
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beev



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 112
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Get us through? Through to what?


It will get us through until the coal runs out Smile
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mobbsey



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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Location: Banbury

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hate to plug my book in public, but in reality there is nothing that will provide as much energy to society as fossil fuels do today. We could "burn everything" -- all the oil, gas, coal and uranium -- to try and maintain our ever increasing energy supply and we'd exhaust the lot in about a century's time... there is no "what else" to compete with fossil fuels.

If you work it out, from within the boundaries of the UK mainland we can only sensibly get 40% of our current energy demand from renewable energy sources. Therefore we have about 60-70 years to cut consumption by 60%. That's 1% per year -- not a lot, but it requires reversing the trends established in the UK over the past 300 years.

Personally -- we're trying to get out of the south-east and cut ourselves off before the excreta hits the air conditioning unit.


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beev



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You seem to assume there will be zero technological developments in the next 60-70 years.
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fishertrop



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 859
Location: Sheffield

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beev wrote:
You seem to assume there will be zero technological developments in the next 60-70 years.


Personally I think there wuill be loads, and when TSHTF many people will be spurred on to work harder developing more genuinely useful techologies for a less-energy world.

With a bit of luck the gov will also spend billions on RnD for such.

But ultimiately, to what end will all this new technology be?

Will it be to allow us to live the same life we do today?

My own view is that this will not be the case.

Future risks in the Uk are as much related to people's inability to deal with big changes as they are to do with smart people in the UK's ability to make new technology.

We all know you could make huge changes to the UK today, HUGE changes, get everyone working on focused targeted technologies with a clear brief.

Will this happen, today, tomorrow, next year?
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Blue Peter



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 1936
Location: Milton Keynes

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mobbsey wrote:

Personally -- we're trying to get out of the south-east and cut ourselves off before the excreta hits the air conditioning unit.


P.


Do you want to leave the SE for positive or negative reasons? Do you want to be elsewhere? or do you fear remaining in the SE?


Peter.
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genoxy



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 127
Location: London

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An interesting page explaining the new ways of using coal and reducing the pollution it causes.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4468076.stm
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clv101
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Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 7634

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mobbsey wrote:
>How much coal is there in the UK ?

1,500 million tonnes proven reserves (BP Statistical Review, 2005)

In reality, our coal reserves will only last about 26 years at current rates of consumption. If we tried to get all our current power demand from coal the reserves would only last 13 years.


Are you sure about those figures Paul?

Looking at the BP Statistical Review, 2005 (4MB PDF) it states on page 30, 220 million tonnes and a R/P ratio of 9 years! Even at that rate it's meeting less than half our demand with the balance coming from imports.

Of course this is proved reserves, "generally taken to be those quantities that geological and engineering information indicates with reasonable certainty can be recovered in the future from known deposits under existing economic and operating conditions". Existing economic and operating conditions change all the time and will certainly change in coals favour when oil and gas are exhausted but still... The message is we haven't got lots of coal!!
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