Monday, 25 August 2008


Coal was traditionally gasified to make lighting gas and for running gas engines. With improved pipelines, natural gas began to become popular in the 1940s in the US and so manufacturing gas from coal fell almost into obscurity.

In the 1980s a coal gasification plant was built in North Dakota, with the purpose of converting the local brown coal into high purity methane that could be used for domestic and industrial heating in the local community.

At the time it was built, oil was cheap and so the economics didn't quite work out.

However, one of the by-products of the gasification was large volumes of pure CO2, and a pipeline was built to run 205 miles north up into Sascatchewan, so that the CO2 could be used to pressurise an oil field and get another 20 years of production from the declining field.

The process is detailed here:

Coal gasification will likely become a viable energy conversion technology and it has the following advantages:

1. It converts low calorific value brown coal into high energy natural gas that is easier to transport and use.
2. The by-products are easily separated from the process and have commercial value for fertilisers and phenol feedstocks.
3. The CO2 is captured and can be sequestered in oil wells allowing extended production
4. Waste products - toxic metals etc are separated from the mix and can be appropriately handled
5. There is no requirement for an exhaust stack so atmospheric pollution is low.

It is fairly obvious that the world will have to continue to use its coal reserves for producing primary energy - more so with declining petroleum reserves. Coal gasification could be one technique that greatly improves the utilisation of what is generally considered to be a dirty polluting fuel.

As coal fields are exploited, the most valuable grades are consumed first. Coal gasification allows the exploitation of the remaining poorer grades.

The natural gas can be added into the existing pipeline distribution network or can be used at the plant in a combined cycle gas turbine power plant. So the energy in the coal can be exported either as electricity or as methane.

If the coal gasification process runs continuously, the methane can fuel CCGT power plant at times of peak power demand, or compressed and stored at times of low power demand. So by storing the energy in the form of methane it allows you to meet the changing demands put on the power plant. Extra CCGT generators could be spooled up quickly using the stored methane when needed.

By locating these gasification plants close to the coalfields - coal transport costs could be reduced. Energy exported in the form of electricity - possibly using a new HVDC supergrid, would be in great demand during summer months for air conditioning, whilst in winter months, natural gas for home heating may be more appropriate. Either way there is flexability to tailor the exports to meet the changing demands.

Coal gasification is a scaleable technology. Plants could be designed to suit the output of the local coal fields and the demands of the population.

The ND plant uses nearly 6 million tons of lignite per year and from this produces 54 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year - enough to power a CCGT power plant of between 800MW and 1GW.

Saturday, 16 August 2008


Found this in my travels- Tells how to convert a freezer into a fridge. This can be a great way to make a very economical Fridge!

Friday, 15 August 2008


Using the free heat of the sun to cook our food is easy, fun, effective and energy efficient Using the free heat of the sun to cook our food is easy, fun, effective and energy efficient. It not only replaces the fuel you would have paid for, but during the warm months, it saves on cooling costs by not heating up the house. Solar cooking has several other benefits, such as lower cooking temperatures will not burn foods, so stirring is not required.

The slower, gentler cooking provided by many solar cookers preserves more nutrients, as well as flavor and aroma. Food can simply be placed in a solar cooker and left to cook, unattended, for several hours. I've heard that some folks will place their food in the solar oven, point it to the noon sun, and leave for the day, coming home in the evening to a hot, cooked meal. However, if you are available to adjust the cooker to track the sun, it will get hotter for a longer period, cooking food in a shorter time. I made a small table, which rotates, so when I am passing the cooker, I can easily adjust it for maximum solar input.

There are two basic types of solar cookers, the box cooker, which will perform as an oven or slow cooker, and the cook top, which functions more as a stove top burner, heating the food just from the bottom of the pot. There are many variations on these types, ranging from basic boxes made from recycled materials to high tech, expensive models.

The box cooker is the most common, and easiest to construct, the links below have plans for many designs. I have built several; the advantage of the commercial models is ease of use, longevity of the materials, and convenience.

I am now using a commercially made box cooker nearly every sunny day, we bake breads, cookies, and cakes in it, I make beef jerky, rice, beans, soups stews, and casseroles with it.

Solar cooking has many advantages, and is a low cost way for anyone to use solar energy. The links below contain much information on the subject, plans, where to buy commercial cookers, recipes, instructions, and lots more. Have fun!

Sunday, 10 August 2008


Fantastic website for kids and grown ups alike.


PDF report: Wind and Wildlife: Key Research Topics

* Wind Turbine Buyer’s Guide

Home Power magazine has collected information about a wide range of
different wind turbines that are available for home or small business use.
The 2007 Wind Turbine Buyer’s Guide is a small but information-packed
article with a wealth of information about available turbines for small wind
The review has information on 19 different small wind turbines ranging from
7 feet to 56 feet in diameter, including systems for battery charging, as
well as batteryless grid-tie systems.
*Web sites list from:
Related Websites (wind energy)
Information Sources:
American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
Argonne National Laboratory
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Energy Future Coalition
Energy Information Administration
International Association for Energy Economics
Iowa Energy Center
Midwest Ag Energy Network
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
National Wind Coordination Collaboration
Small Wind
Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program
25 x ’25 – America Energy Fuels

* PDF Diagram Basic - How a wind system works

Energy terms and definitions


Each abbreviation is linked to the EIA Glossary definition where possible (
Leave EIA site" will take you to a non-EIA definition source))
AC: alternating current
AFUDC: allowance for funds used during construction (Leave EIA Site)
AFV: alternative-fuel vehicle
AGA: American Gas Association
AMI:advanced metering infrastructure
AMR: automated meter reading
ANSI: American National Standards Institute (Leave EIA Site)
API: American Petroleum Institute (Leave EIA Site)
ARA: Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp
ASTM: American Society for Testing and Materials (Leave EIA Site) bbl:
BBL/D: barrel(S) per day
BBL/SD: barrel(S) per stream day
BCF: billion cubic feet BLS: Bureau of Labor Statistics; U.S. Department of
Labor (Leave EIA Site)
BOE: barrels of oil equivalent (used internationally)
BTU: British thermal unit(S)
BWR: boiling-water reactor
C/GAL: cents per gallon
CAFE: corporate average fuel economy (Leave EIA Site)
CARB: California Air Resources Board (Leave EIA Site)
CBOB: conventional gasoline blendstock for oxygenate blending (Motor
Gasoline Blending Component)
CDD: cooling degree-days
CERCLA: Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability
Act (Leave EIA Site)
CNT: cent
CF: cubic foot
CFC: chlorofluorocarbon
CFS: cubic feet per second
CH4: Methane
CHP: combined heat and power
CIF: cargo, insurance and freight CIF: cost, insurance, freight
CIV: customs import value
CMSA: consolidated metropolitan statistical area
CNG: compressed natural gas
CO: carbon monoxide (Leave EIA Site)
CO2: carbon dioxide
CPI: consumer price index CWIP: construction work in progress
DC: direct current (Leave EIA Site)
DOE: Department of Energy
DRB: demonstrated reserve base
DSM: demand-side management
DTW: dealer tank wagon
E85: A fuel containing a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent
E95: A fuel containing a mixture of 95 percent ethanol and 5 percent
EAR: estimated additional resources
EIA: Energy Information Administration
EIS: Environmental Impact Statement
EOR: enhanced oil recovery
EPA: Environmental Protection Agency (Leave EIA Site)
EPACT: Energy Policy Act
ETBE: ethyl tertiary butyl ether
EU: European Union (Leave EIA Site)
EWG: exempt wholesale generator
FAS.: free alongside ship
FASB: Financial Accounting Standards Board
FBR: fast breeder reactor
FERC: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
FGD: flue-gas desulfurization
FME: free market economies
FOB: free on board
FPC: Federal Power Commission
FRS: Financial Reporting System
GAL: gallon GDP: gross domestic product GNP: gross national product GVW:
gross vehicle weight GW: gigawatt GWE: gigawatt-electric GWH: gigawatthour
GWP: global warming potential H: hundredth H: hundred HDD: heating
degree-days HCFC: hydrochlorofluorocarbon HFC: hydrofluorocarbon HID:
high-intensity discharge HVAC: heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning
HTGR: high temperature gas-cooled reactor (Leave EIA Site) IEA:
International Energy Agency (Leave EIA Site) IOU: investor-owned utility
IPP: independent power producer ISO: independent system operator KVA:
kilovolt-ampere KW: kilowatt KWE: kilowatt-electric KWH: kilowatthour LB:
pound LDC: local distribution company LEVP: Low Emissions Vehicle Program
(Leave EIA Site) LHV: lower heating value LIHEAP: Low-Income Home Energy
Assistance Program LNG: liquefied natural gas LPG: liquefied petroleum gases
LRG: liquefied refinery gases LWR: light water reactor M: thousand MCF: one
thousand cubic feet MECS: Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey MM:
million (106) MMBBL/D: one million (106) barrels of oil per day MMBTU: one
million (106) British thermal units MMCF: one million (106) cubic feet
MMGAL/D: one million (106) gallons per day MMST: one million (106) short
tons MPG: miles per gallon MSA: metropolitan statistical area MSHA: Mine
Safety and Health Administration (Leave EIA Site) MSW: municipal solid waste
MTBE: methyl tertiary butyl ether MW: megawatt MWE: megawatt electric MWH:
megawatthour N2O: nitrous oxide NAAQS: National Ambient Air Quality
Standards (Leave EIA Site) NAICS: North American Industry Classification
System NARUC: National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners
(Leave EIA Site) NERC: North American Electric Reliability Council NGL:
natural gas liquids NGPA: Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 NGPL: natural gas
plant liquids NGV: natural gas vehicle (Leave EIA Site) NOAA: National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Leave EIA Site) NOPR: Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking (Leave EIA Site) NOx: nitrogen oxides NRECA: National
Rural Electric Cooperative Association (Leave EIA Site) NUG: nonutility
generator(nonutility power producer) NURE: national uranium resource
evaluation NYMEX: New York Mercantile Exchange (Leave EIA Site) O3: ozone
O&M: operation and maintenance (Leave EIA Site) OCS: Outer Continental Shelf
OECD: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development OEM: original
equipment manufacturers OPEC: Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries OPRG: oxygenated fuels program reformulated gasoline OTEC: ocean
thermal energy conversion PADD: Petroleum Administration for Defense
Districts PBR: pebble-bed reactor (Leave EIA Site) PBR: performance-based
rates PCB: polychlorinated biphenyl (Leave EIA Site) PFC: perfluorocarbons
PGA: purchased gas adjustment PPI: producer price index (Leave EIA Site)
PUD: Public Utility District PUHCA: Public Utility Holding Company Act of
1935 PURPA: Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 PV: photovoltaic
PVC: photovoltaic cell PVC: polyvinyl chloride PWR: pressurized-water
reactor QF: qualifying facility QUAD: quadrillion Btu: 1015 Btu RAC:
refiners' acquisition cost RAR: reasonable assured resources RBOB:
reformulated gasoline blendstock for oxygenate blending RDF: refuse-derived
fuel REA: Rural Electrification Administration RECS: Residential Energy
Consumption Survey RFG: reformulated gasoline RSE: relative standard error
RVP: Reid vapor pressure (Leave EIA Site) SEER: seasonal energy efficiency
ratio SF6: sulfur hexafluoride SI: International System of Units (Système
international d'unités) (Leave EIA Site) SIC: Standard Industrial
Classification SNG: synthetic natural gas SO2: sulfur dioxide SPP: small
power producer SPR: Strategic Petroleum Reserve SR: speculative resources -
coal SR: speculative resources - uranium SWU: separative work unit T:
trillion 1012 TAME: tertiary amyl methyl ether TBA: tertiary butyl alcohol
TH: thousandth TVA: Tennessee Valley Authority TWH: terawatthour U3O8:
uranium oxide UF6: uranium hexaflouride ULCC: ultra large crude carrier
UMTRA: Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978 USBR: United
States Bureau of Reclamation (Leave EIA Site) USACE or USCE: U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers (Leave EIA Site) V: Volt VIN: vehicle identification number
VAWT: vertical-axis wind turbine VLCC: very large crude carrier VMT: vehicle
miles traveled VOC: volatile organic compound W: Watt WI: withheld to avoid
disclosure of individual company data. WACOG: weighted average cost of gas
WH: watthour WTI: West Texas Intermediate

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Friday, 8 August 2008


Peristaltic pump

These are great pumps for using on WVO type burners to control the oil flow rates in a precise manner.