Why Coal? In many remote locations coal is the only reliable source of affordable energy
Fossil Fuel Resources
Fossil fuel resources are plentiful and sustainable for hundreds of years to come. Many countries are dependent on coal and fossil fuels. Based on EIA.gov statistics United States power mix is 69% fossil, 12% renewable, and 19% nuclear. The global breakdown is 67% fossil, 22% renewable, and 11% nuclear. Finally, Asia consumes 68% of the world's coal.
- Coal is affordable, abundant, and readily available. Developing countries are heavily reliant on affordable coal energy. In Southeast Asia over the past 20 years there has been tremendous economic growth stimulated by a 500% increase in coal production and consumption.
Some countries offer cleaner coal such as Indonesia. An example is Indonesia's Adaro "ENVIROCOAL" with extremely low sulfur content resulting in very low SOx (195 lb/hr) and NOx (420 lb/hr) emissions, lower than that of heavy fuel oil typically with SOx of 1400 lb/hr and NOx of 1800 lb/hr.
Micronized coal achieves higher combustion efficiencies, requiring less coal to generate the same electric output compared to conventional coal facilities.
Our barge mounted plants will incorporate all required control devices to satisfy local air emission standards.
Pictured above: World coal consumption by region in *billion short tons from 1980 to 2015.
- Oil pricing is low at the moment - but could skyrocket again at any time - especially with events going on in the Middle East. This bars the possibility of negotiating a long term oil supply contract - with terms, conditions and escalation clauses that provide assurance of meeting debt service.
Term of any IPP contract will probably be necessary for at least a 15 year period – to allow sufficient time for reasonable returns on equity and retirement of debt.
Given the extreme volatility of oil pricing, there are few if any new base-loaded oil-fired power plants being developed. Most new oil plants are of smaller capacity – used primarily for peak power demand periods that operate for limited hours per day – utilizing either gas turbines or diesel engines – but not base loading.
- Gas supply contracts are possible to secure long term – but only where gas is readily available. It is unlikely such an institutional arrangement for long term gas supply is available in many underdeveloped countries. There are plentiful global gas resources – but – not so on most of the islands and remote areas that would be potential candidates for our technology.
The Realities of Renewables
There are always opportunities to supplement energy demands with renewable resources where available and feasible. There is a big push in first world countries to subsidize a shift over to renewable energy, but this is not the case in poor and underdeveloped countries. Renewable energy is often more expensive or in limited supply. Renewable energy capital equipment and materials are often sourced from fossil fuel powered facilities.
Impediments to renewable energy sources include some of the following issues:
- Solar and wind power systems have proven to be very costly and only financially viable with tax subsidies in the U.S. It likewise, has proven to be uneconomically feasible in several European countries, such as Germany and Spain, among other countries. Since electricity cannot be stored, these systems can only function during daylight periods or when the wind blows. In turn, they must have “back-up” gas turbine generators operating very inefficiently at very low speeds in order to come on line when “clouds” move in or breezes cease.
Pictured above: The 100MW utility-scale solar array in Perovo, Crimea is the fourth largest in the world. The solar farm needs 494 acres to create the same amount of power as one SeaPower barge which has less than a one acre footprint.
- Tide and wave power systems are potentially so costly and structurally insurmountable when dealing with oceanic forces, that these concepts are mostly relegated to being talked about, but never implemented.
- Developing new hydroelectric plants is almost impossible in the U.S., and exceedingly difficult in most overseas locales primarily due to: a.) environmental issues related to “taking” of land and historic artifacts from populated areas, b.) diversion of waterways resulting in negative “downstream” impacts, and c.). exceptionally high capital costs.
- Geothermal is a very high capital cost technology, but viable only in geographic areas that have high thermal seismic activity.
- One of the biggest problems with wood-based biomass systems relate to the logistics of gathering and supplying wood sources to maintain a constant power output. In the U.S., environmental groups generally oppose these systems because of the perceived negative impact on clear-cutting and culling-out forest resources.
- Waste-to-energy plants were very popular in the U.S. back in the 1980-90’s. They have since become economically unattractive because most cities have incorporated recycling mandates. These regulations capture many materials that can be reclaimed; however, most of these materials comprise the combustible portions of the waste stream. What remains behind is mostly materials that do not burn (e.g., raw garbage, etc.); thus, creating an unsuitable fuel source.