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April 14, 2012


Mark Mitchell

Gas Works Park in Seattle is a site where natural gas was converted to liquid fuel during the war. After the gas works closed the site remained abandoned for many years because the cost of detoxifying the site was too high. The parks department fenced off the tanks and excavated soil and replaced new soil to make it the safe public park it is today. However, the tanks were not removed and are still toxic.


Of course our engineering today is more complete. The exit strategy is part of the design. And of course we are more aware what our processes produce... of course they were then, too. Unfortunately, companies are often willing to look the other way to increase the profit now. There are very few technologies that produce "clean" power without any side effects. But of course we are all looking, and hoping.

Question? How does the modern coil steam plant compare with producing liquid fuel? I have read that the modern plants are quite "clean", but I have not research exactly what that means.

In the equation is the electric car. It is being sold as the clean alternative to burning carbon fuels. But where does the electricity come from. Also the batteries only last so long and are full of toxic substances. Clean rechargeable batteries. This is a much needed technology.

Carl Schwab

Reply to Mark Mitchell--- Mark as much as I can find out the Gas Works Park in Seattle operated from 1906 until 1974. It processed abundant coal into coal gas for industrial use and other derivatives. Coal gas is about 40% CH4 and 40% H2. During and after WW2 it produced toluene which is a carcinogen. Certainly the CH4 and the H2 could have been used for feedstock for liquid gasoline or diesel production but I find no mention of that. Do you have a specific reference? After 1956 NG, CH4, was readily available for Canada and the need for manufactured coal gas was phased out. As far as pollution goes, these type sites usually had “settling pools” which, not barriered, leech into ground water. No reason for that today.
In answer to your question-----modern coal-fired electrical generation can be quite clean, BUT the question is what to do with the CO2 if you don’t want to put it into the atmosphere. One very good use for the CO2 is to sequester it below ground and use it help purge residual oil from “depleted” oil wells. Alternatively if you manufacture CH4, in the process capturing the CO2 is straight forward and it can be piped wherever you wish. You are aware that NG for electrical generation puts about ½ the CO2 and water vapor compared to longer chain hydrocarbons.
Electric only cars. I think the market driver here is simply a matter of “cost per mile”. Read my blog when it comes. BTW thanks very much for your comments. Carl Schwab

aviation school of mechanic

Sorry but I really don't understand, I can read here that a huge quantity of NG natural gas is available at a low price and that it can be used instead of expensive fuel. So how come it is not in use ?

Carl Schwab

Reply to aviation school of mechanic-----What this BLOG is referring to is conversion of NG to either gasoline or diesel fuel the later is in direct conflict with biodiesel heavily subsidized by the US government. That explains a lot. None the less when diesel fuel Is at or above $4.00/ gallon the justification of G-L conversion comes forward. There are a few locations elsewhere in the world where this process is competitive. All This will evolve when the US develops a cohesive energy policy this IS bi-partisan.
Thanks for your comment-------Carl Schwab

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