Clean Coal

Clean coal relies on separating out the carbon that causes greenhouse gases. But what happens to the carbon and other taxes? They go into the ground…and the ground water.

6 thoughts on “Clean Coal

  1. “What happens to the carbon and other taxes?” do you mean “toxins” or are you referring to the carbon tax and related taxes?

    I have a few complaints about this one. They don’t “take the carbon out” of coal. By definition coal is all carbon (plus typically a few impurities). Taking the carbon out of coal would be like taking the wet out of water. Coal is actually generally “dirty” because of the impurities it has in it (like sulfur containing compounds and aromatics like benzene). Burning pure carbon, minus the effects of CO2, is actually in VERY clean. When pure carbon is burnt fully efficiently their is no ash, dust, acid rain, ect… Pumping the effluent of efficiently burned pure carbon underground would be pretty harmless.

    Now this isn’t to say I don’t agree with the general thesis of this cartoon, precisely because there is non-carbon gunk in coal is why I am worried about them pumping it underground.

  2. Dang, someone beat me to it! “Taking out the carbon from coal” sounds like a statement from someone Chemistry-challenged. Which covers most eco-militants, I guess.

  3. As I read the comic, “so we take out the carbon” is an idea presented by a clean coal industry representative and a reasonable restatement of the industry’s “clean coal — it’s clean because we call it clean coal” perspective. I don’t see anyone chemistry-challenged in this comment on corporate deception except perhaps a public that might accept such industry claims at face value.

  4. Doesn’t a good deal of the free energy from combustion come from the entropy increase of transforming carbon in coal, which is a relatively ordered solid, into highly disordered CO2 gas? And wouldn’t a lot of that energy be lost if the carbon had to be re-organized into a solid state, whether as carbonic acid in water or as limestone? Ergo, it seems to me that “clean coal” would require burning significantly more coal to get a kiloWatt hour of electricity than dirty coal, since a significant amount of energy would be lost cleaning up the coal exhaust. I’m not chemistry-challenged and I’ve asked this question to people who are less chemistry-challenged than me and never got a straight answer.

    That could be the real reason for the coal industry’s enthusiasm for this technology, more demand. Perhaps next the oil companies will make us drive our jalopies with diapers on the tailpipes. That would kill our MPG. Thermodynamics is a bitch!

  5. Thermodynamics is a bitch

    I wonder how many people bitching about “clean coal” here and “clean energy” there realize that burning coal (or petroleum-derived fuels, for that matter, or f@cking ethanol) is more or less the same chemical reaction that goes on in your cells, thanks to the oxygen you inhale.

  6. The reality is clean coal is the best we currently have what people ignore is that the energy costs of creating alternative energy sources is significant, add to this the fact that solar power and wind power both require rare earth metals, which at this time we have a very limited know supply, and realistically you take what you can get. Clean Coal can cause issues, but its probably still better than coal.

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