Lecture26_EAS1600_Fall08 - EAS 1600 Introduction to...

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EAS 1600 Introduction to Environmental Sciences ____________________________ Lecture 26 – Coal, Power Plants, and Mercury ________________________________ Currently we get ~50% of electric power from coal burning power plants Cleanest power generating plants (and usually newest) are natural gas fired
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Fossil Fuel Reserves Clearly coal is most abundant fossil fuel and gas is lowest
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Natural gas prices have varied by almost a factor of four in a few years Dollars per MBTU
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Clearly there are economic reasons to increase coal fired power generation Currently there are ~100 coal burning plants that are in the planning, approval, or construction stage. Historically this is unique as there have been no coal plants built for ~ 30 years due over capacity, public utility commisions, and environmental impacts These plants are almost universally opposed by environmental groups e.g. Environmental Defense, Sierra Club, etc. Interesting article on coal cost - http://www.heatisonline.org/contentserver/objecthandlers/i ndex.cfm?id=3772&method=full
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Why the rush to construct/oppose? • U.S. electricity generation is nearing full capacity – remember the blackout in northeast and California • Current administration has friendly policy towards construction • Why do environmental groups oppose? – Understanding coal formation and some of the environmental impact of coal will be the focus of the rest of the class
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What is Coal? • Coal is a rock composed of organic material
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2011 for the course EAS 1600 taught by Professor Jimstjohn during the Spring '08 term at Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Lecture26_EAS1600_Fall08 - EAS 1600 Introduction to...

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