Friday, 19 March 2010

clean coal over dirty solar

... or vice versa?

Times Online: Carbon-capture powerstation planned for Hunterston

The headline is misleading; it sounds as if a 'CCS powerstation' was something to be grabbed from a shop's shelf, installed in no time: success!

No, nothing like that at all; none of the countries so far that have claimed to be the leaders in CCS technology, I heard it from the UK, Germany, France and the U.S., at least, have ever come up with a proven, working solution other than under laboratory conditions; with other words, nobody knows whether "CCS" will ever work in the big, rather huge scale of a 1,6GW dirty coal plant, and for how long?. The School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, part of Scottish Centre for Carbon Storage - is this in short the CCS lobby? - explains what it would/should/could be like: nice pictures!

This blog has discussed this several times, among others: First clean coal to be extracted... and CCS...

It makes sense that MSPs have now opposed the plans for Hunterston >BBC!

Approving a new coal-fired power station before CCS is shown to work at scale could mean millions of tonnes of unabated new carbon emissions from Hunterston.

... and millions of pounds of Pounds wasted!

It would be nice if it worked, sure, alone exporting the proven know-how to China (without giving it away!!!) would make a nice export boom, but then there are so many alternatives worthwhile some investment, incentives and in general terms the ambition to find the real solutions. Some technologies are about to really become sustainable, have formed complete industries driving efficiency forward and prices down - with the UK leaning back, watching, discussing, and most probably trying to invent the wheel again but name it differently...

The text is in German but the cake should be obvious; it is on the 'worldmarket of PV' in 2008, i.e. solar power, better named photo voltaic (not to be mixed up with the generalisation 'solar energy') . Did you find the UK on the list? No, but you should: it is an insignificant part of number 12!

I will try to find the latest figures which are clearly up again as the industry in 2009 has been booming - at least in those countries that invested in it and will now see the benefit.

In one of my next blogs I will also demonstrate how PV is even working in latitudes like ours here in Scotland, may be not quite as good as in Spain but then we must have one benefit from living on this island!

Carpe diem!


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