Coal operators clean up

Coal plant operators in Texas and Wisconsin have caved in to pressures from green groups as they promised to retire older, less-efficient facilities; use emission-reduction technologies in their new plants; and invests in renewable alternative energy resources.

We Energies, Madison Gas & Electric and Wisconsin Public Power concede today to settle their dispute with environmental groups Sierra Club and Clean Wisconsin after three years of legal battle. The utility companies also promised to commit to several additional environmental initiatives including a $4m annual payment for 25 years for the protection of Lake Michigan’s ecosystem.

In Texas, NRG Energy will now be able to expand with a new unit their Limestone coal-powered station without the opposition of the groups Environmental Defense Fund and Texas Clean Air Cities Coalition (TCACC). NRG said the new unit will use new technologies that can offset or sequester greenhouse gas emissions by 50%.

2 Responses to Coal operators clean up

  1. John Richardson 8 August, 2008 at 6:39 am #

    Hi Doris

    A general comment and a possible theme for joint blogging?

    BASF is talking about a breakthrough in syngas technology using more advanced catalysts that will, according to Jurgen Hambrecht, “change the entire industry”.

    Providing renewable and much more competitive basic chemicals from biomass would, of course, make every green product chain potentially more viable.

    What’s interesting is how categoric Hambrecht is over the potential here – listen for yourself at –\ by navigating own to the BASF Chemicals Segment Day webcast and the first question in the Q&A session after Hambrecht’s speech.

    In my experience, CEOs tend to be a great deal more circumspect about their blue-sky research.

    What does he know that we don’t that could make the BASF research a watershed for the industry?


  2. Doris de Guzman 13 August, 2008 at 11:13 pm #

    Hi John,
    I have no idea how advanced BASF is in using syngas although I noticed that every chemical player involved in the syngas game are not really shy in talking about their progress in this area and quoting the “changing the chemical industry landscape” using their own technology.

    US-based Rentech already started producing syngas from its pilot plant in Colorado. They used natural gas for feedstock in this plant but said they will soon use biomass as well. IF successfully commercialized, the syngas will be used to produce jet fuel as well as specialty waxes and chemicals with the help of their partner UOP (the catalyst business of Honeywell).

    Dow is also working to produce chemicals using biomass-based syngas.

    I’m sure other major chems are already years ahead in this research (say Shell and Sasol for example who are big GTL producers).

    BASF just probably need to be [too] enthusiastic about it to assure its investors that they have alternative feedstock to use in the future. When asked about their time line in using syngas, I noticed they skirted this question and just said that their syngas-based pilot process is already competitive compared to using current naptha price. BASF said it will still rely in petro and naphtha in five years.

    Let’s see who will be ahead of the game especially if they start using biomass as feedstock!


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