A Recipe for Success: clean coal + clean air = clean, and INEXPENSIVE, electricity

Written by Editor-in-Chief

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Vote R in November. If you’re a citizen of the US, or wherever you are, remember: clean coal plus clean air equals money in your pocket.

by David A. Anderson,Tried and True Rust Belter from Niles, Ohio

Something to think about: If the energy we harvest from the sun, wind, and rain is free (read: “windmills, solar panels and waterfalls”), why is it that our electric bills have quadrupled now that coal is officially despised? Coal costs anywhere from a penny a pound to three cents a pound these days, depending on who’s buying and who’s selling. And yet in the long era when coal was the fuel of choice to make electricity, we paid 2 to 4 cents/KWHr to power our homes and factories instead of the 16 cents or more we pay today. Seems that “free” doesn’t mean “free” to We the People, only to the “insiders” on the take, and the various government officials they buy off to get their way. The rest of us get to pay for their folly. They get the gold mine; we get the shaft.

President Trump wants to bring back coal, and I want 4 cent a kilowatt hour prices for electricity again. He wants to put the miners back to work, and I want to start back up all those coal-fired power plants closed down during the Obama Administration. America took a massive hit in the pocketbook by that Obama move! And Obama got away with it, not because he was so brilliant, but because the D’s, and their fellow travelers in the Republican Party, the RINOs fed us nonesense instead of truth--“Global Warming” instead of the chilling effect that truth has on lies, like coal costs 10 to 100 times less than the other “fossil fuels” per BTU, and a thousand times less than all those “free” sources of energy. It’s time we throw a wet blanket on the global warming nonsense.

And so, I’d like to focus on the matter of clean air for a moment, as the other element in the equation that will give us INEXPENSIVE ENERGY again. By clean air, I mean air without all that nitrogen in it. Take the nitrogen out of the air before it gets to the burner in a coal-fired power plant and you’d be amazed at what happens. All of a sudden the amount of wasted energy that goes up the stack is cut by something like 80%! That’s because air is roughly 80% nitrogen and only 20% oxygen. Actually, it’s 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% other, the chief “other” component being argon. Argon is 97% of the “other” category.  Carbon dioxide, the favorite molecule of the global warming folks to harp on, comprises only 0.03% of the air on our atmosphere, three hundredths of one percent!

When I first thought about the idea of using oxygen rather than air to burn coal back in the 1960’s, as an engineering student (BSME Rutgers, 1966) and working for an engineering firm in Cleveland during summers and vacations, and then full time after graduation, the idea didn’t go anywhere simply because there was no cost-effective way to provide the oxygen needed other than to use air. The idea wasn’t particularly brilliant, and no doubt other students like me considered it, however briefly. It was just one of those “what if” moments engineers are prone to have. I could be the only one that thought about it, but I doubt it.

You see, the “free air” used to burn coal isn’t so free. One has to heat the nitrogen in the air along the way to using the oxygen to get BTU’s out of coal, so those BTU’s can heat water to drive turbines to make electricity.  The nitrogen is just along for the ride, a cost of doing business. In addition, the nitrogen gets corrupted during combustion as some of it combines with oxygen because of the high temperatures of the combustion reaction, and then goes up and out the stack as noxious gas. That’s NOx, by far the biggest pollutant needing to be dealt with on the way to making electricity.

The idea of taking the nitrogen out of the air before it ever reaches the burner solves that problem. It wasn’t possible back in the 1960’s, but with refinements of molecular sieve technology in the 1970’s, oxygen concentrators started popping up everywhere, and today lots of people are living years longer by simply putting a small plastic tube up their nose and connecting the other end to one of these oxygen concentrators in their home. Why wasn’t the same technology applied to coal-fired power plants at the time? Good question. It’s only a matter of scale to build units big enough to provide oxygen to a burner of a coal-fired boiler instead of the nose of an individual. And the results will be as dramatic.  80% less stack gasses and no NOx! Those old power plants can be made to zoom like kids again.

I can only conclude that the rabid Left was already far along in their efforts to destroy America by the 1970’s, and so the powers that be wanted to shut down coal fired power plants instead of making them more efficient. I should add that the cost of building such concentrators would be far less than the corresponding medical equipment is, simply because adding the word “medical” sends the price into the stratosphere. Burners in a coal-fired boiler could care less about a few germs that might get in with the oxygen. They’ll have them for lunch! Fire does that to germs!

Actually, by cleaning the nitrogen out of the air, the stack gasses become virtually 100% carbon dioxide, a valuable byproduct instead of a waste gas. Just think dry ice. My family used it all the time to make homemade ice cream when I was a kid. You can’t buy better! If nothing else, mix the CO2 with all the flood waters around the country and pump the resulting carbonated water out to Utah and Nevada and turn them back into the Garden of Eden. We could use another grand project like the Panama Canal or the Hoover Dam. “The Great Farm Land Rush to the American Desert.” Food prices would be sure to come down. Maybe even the 40-acre farm would come back!

Nobody back in the sixties even thought about carbon dioxide being a pollutant. Everybody on earth exhales it and so far in recorded history (which is about 6,000 years, not the millions or billions of years that some would have us think about, for which we have no actual records, only fossils, rocks, and other types of derivative evidence that doesn’t require someone to attest that he or she was actually there and saw the evidence), there’s not been a problem with that reality. It is just one of those molecules that every plant consumes and every animal, including man, if you want to consider man an animal, gets rid of.  The plants get rid of oxygen and animals consume oxygen. It’s one big cycle that keeps going round and round every minute and every second of the day.  And the world is so efficient with this cycle, that the average carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere of the world haven’t changed at all, no matter how many volcanoes erupt, or coal fired power plants are built.  Oh, and don’t forget about all those coral reefs that suck up carbon dioxide like a sponge. That’s another element in the oxygen/carbon dioxide balance that the global warming folks ought to think about before doing all their fear mongering. Oh, and then there are all those soft drink companies that add carbon dioxide to water and make a fortune selling it. In other words, carbon dioxide is not something to be afraid of but something to be thankful for. We’d be dead without it--no food!

So, engineers still use 79% nitrogen and 21% oxygen in their calculations for the composition of air, and try their best to ignore the fear mongering of the leftist crowd that tries to convince us we’re all going to die from global warming. It’s way down on the list of things to be concerned about! I’m much more concerned about the skyrocketing price of electricity and starving to death because there’s no money left to buy food after the electric bill gets paid.

With less than 100 days before the November 6 elections, there’s precious little time left to persuade as many as possible to vote for President Trump’s agenda, as opposed to the usual method of voting for each individual and office on its own merits. Since I live in the southeast corner of Ashtabula County, Ohio, an area devastated by the shut down of industry, particularly steel and coal, known these days as part of the Rust Belt, I’m firmly behind Trump’s goal to bring back coal, starting with reopening all those coal fired boilers and power plants that wereshut down by Obama under the propaganda of “Global Warming.”

With the relatively small addition of equipment to feed oxygen to the burners instead of air, a whole new appreciation for these “old” plants could arise. Just start charging customers 4 cents per KWHr that get their electricity from those plants and the rest of the nation will go nuts! It could be bigger than the California Gold Rush of 1849. But we’ll have to bust up the monopolies that currently own them and claim to be in control of them. All they’re in control of is continuing to pay interest on the municipal bonds that built them. Either that or have a judge order them to be liquidated the day after the bondholders don’t get their interest payment.

My favorite is the plant in Niles, Ohio since it’s closest to where I live. Someone posted a flyover of it on YouTube after I started investigating two years ago, should anyone want to take a look. (Just type in “Niles, Ohio Power Plant” in the search engine and enjoy a cyberspace plane ride over it for a couple of minutes, complete with classical music to fly by.) It’s a pretty little plant that’s been sitting dead in the water since shut down in 2012.  What’s left of Niles got a new mayor in 2016, and one of the first things he pointed out was that the bonds that built that plant in 1954 still hadn’t been paid off. The sad saga of my humble efforts to get any answers locally about that plant and why it isn’t either started up again or torn down, I’ll leave for another time. Suffice it to say I’d like to see it started up again. I need a job!

To put the matter in perspective, when coal-fired boilers provided the vast majority of our electricity, the cost to every citizen paying their bill each month in America was about 4 cents per KWHr. Now it’s multiples higher, which, no doubt, is good for the deep state, but terrible for We the People. As C. S. Lewis once wrote, “There’s coming a time when the lion will lay down with the lamb, which may be heaven for the lion but hell for the lamb.” In short, we’ve been had big time! We’re paying not only for electricity but also for windmills where there is no wind and solar panels, where there is no sun, not to mention how much gets paid to such places as the Clinton Foundation and other deep pockets of the Deep State.

In conclusion, vote R in November. If you’re a citizen of the US, or wherever you are, remember: clean coal plus clean air equals money in your pocket. You too can live a life instead of merely lamenting the shortage and high cost of everything, until being led to the slaughter like so many sheep without a shepherd to defend them. Talk to the Shepherd instead of the Grim Reaper. You may win more than you ever thought possible.