The Age of "King Coal"
America's coal energized the development of a young nation.
It fueled factories, warmed homes, and powered mighty trains and ships that made our country an economic giant.
Coal earned its nickname of the 19th century, "King Coal."
Today, however, despite the presence of enormous coal
World Recoverable Coal Resources
America relies on oil for the largest part of its energy demands.
But our growing need for energy has outstripped our ability to rely on domestic supplies of oil, forcing us to resort to foreign imports.
Hazardous to Our Economic Health
Over half of the oil that fuels America's economy is now sold to us from
Growing Foreign Dependence
But these sources may not always be reliable.
In 1973 and 1979, America experienced dual "oil shocks" -- cutoffs of supply that provided an important warning about our vulnerability to foreign disruptions.
Those crises should have served as lessons about dependence on unreliable offshore sources.
Instead, our dependence on foreign sources stands at an even higher level today than it did during the embargoes that plunged America into serious recessions in the past.
Today, America is vulnerable.
An Important Step
Toward Reducing Our Vulnerability
One logical alternative is coal.
American coal and waste coal reserve estimates
World Recoverable Coal Resources
Pennsylvania, a prime coal state, is estimated to have 34 billion tons of in ground reserves.
But until recently, environmental concerns about coal posed a large obstacle to attaining greater U.S. self-sufficiency in energy.
The environmental impact of mining and burning more coal was considered by many people to be too great to justify.
Today, new technology has made it possible for us to turn back to domestic energy sources -- and to do it cleanly.
Coal gasification/coal liquefaction will now allow us to tap the abundant energy stores within our own borders -- without compromising our standards of environmental quality.
In fact, these technologies may be our best hope for environmental progress in future years.
Using more of our domestic energy reserves would free us from reliance on potentially unstable sources and the economic drain that results from buying oil from overseas.
It would result in greater stability in fuel pricing, jobs and job security, and enhance our national security by lessening our dependency on foreign sources.
The "US Geological Survey estimates the total identified coal resources as being 1,600 billion tons.
Another 1,600 billion tons of unidentified resources are postulated."
Currently the US produces approximately 1.06 billion tons of coal annually.
If the US were to produce, from coal alone, the amount of oil equivalent to what the US imports, the US would consume an additional .912 billion tons annually.
Oil Imports = 10,000,000 bbl/day
x 365 days/yr
Conversion Rate = 4 bbl/ton
Total coal production/consumption would then = 1.972 billion tons annually.
(Not even considering the benefits of energy efficiency, biomass, renewables, high mileage vehicles etc., all of which would significantly extend our energy reserves.)
1,600 billion tons of coal / 1.972 = 811 years of fuel reserves.
Given these new conversion technologies the US is, in effect, sitting on a minimum of 811 years of worth of fuel reserves.
To the extent this message becomes clear to off shore oil suppliers, the perception of a sellers market should diminish (and the negative connotation/implications associated with that scenario) and the US would be positioned to purchase oil on its own terms.
Ultra Clean Fuels Technology:
Coal conversion technologies - - such as
Coal Gasification / Liquefaction
-- are process technologies adapted from proven production methods that have been in use for decades.
In sum, the process utilizes carbonaceous matter -- coal, coal waste, biomass, refinery waste and other materials -- to produce liquid fuel products that are environmentally friendly, known as Ultra Clean Fuels.
Ultra Clean Fuels are zero-% nitrogen, low in aromatics
with a high cetane (energy density) number.
Fuels meeting these criteria are already required in some areas of the country with strict emissions standards.
Ultra Clean Fuels would not only be plentiful, they could also play a large role in helping us meet the new goals for energy efficiency and cleaner air.
In addition, the production process extracts sulfur and other materials which can be used for other manufacturing and commercial purposes.
Economic Benefits of
Choosing Ultra Clean Fuels Technology
Making a commitment to Ultra Clean Fuels Technology will have substantial and long-lasting benefits, according to a study by the Center for Forensic Economic Studies.
Adoption of Ultra Clean Fuels Technology would re-energize the domestic coal production industry (Anthracite, Bituminous, Sub Bituminous, Lignite).
Construction and operation of Ultra Clean Fuels production facilities would create high-quality jobs, improve job security and productivity, and result in numerous spin-off benefits throughout the economy.
Reliance on domestic coal resources would revitalize communities in coal producing regions across the country.
Lessening dependence on foreign oil sources would improve the U.S. balance of payments dramatically and reduce the outflow of dollars to overseas suppliers.
Diversifying our sources of energy would reduce the threat of war or economic blackmail by foreign powers that control a portion of oil reserves, with potential savings of billions of dollars and thousands of lives.
Environmental Benefits of
Ultra Clean Fuels Technology
Ultra Clean Fuels are cleaner both in production and consumption than standard fossil fuels.
Utilizing Ultra Clean Fuels would reduce the overall amount of greenhouse gases introduced into the atmosphere.
Ultra Clean Fuels are generally more environmentally friendly than the production of electricity for electric "non-polluting" cars.
Coal wastes that have blighted the landscapes of coal producing regions for decades would be utilized for production, resulting in wholesale reclamation of those regions.
Building for the Future:
The Private/Public Partnership
Moving Ultra Clean Fuels Technology from the drawing board into production will require an enormous effort and sizable startup costs.
For this reason, the Private / Public Partnership for Ultra Clean Fuels
Technology represents the best means for making Ultra Clean Fuels Technology commercially viable in the near future.
In this partnership, private industry would be responsible for financing and construction as well as operation of the production facilities.
The public sector role would center around adoption of tax incentives that help offset the enormous capital expenditures required to make plants operational.
This step will ensure a more reasonable level of risk for commercial financing purposes.
The benefits of applying Ultra Clean Fuels Technology are substantial:
better utilization of domestic coal and other carbonaceous feedstock
an alternative to continued
on unreliable oil imports
our energy industry
creation of new high-quality jobs
reclamation of the nation's coal regions
economic benefits of lessening foreign debt burden incurred from imports
These factors are only the highlights of a program that will have an enormous positive impact on the living standards and quality of life of the American people.
Implementing Ultra Clean Fuels Technologies through a Private/Public Partnership represents a true "win-win" for the economy and the environment.
The time to act is now.