Thursday, September 26, 2013

Counting the Sins of China's Synthetic Gas - IEEE Spectrum

Counting the Sins of China's Synthetic Gas - IEEE Spectrum:

 Nine synthetic gas plants recently approved by Beijing would increase the annual demand for water in the country's arid northern regions by over 180 million metric tons, the Duke team concluded, while emissions of carbon dioxide would entirely wipe out the climate-cooling impact of China's massive wind and solar power installations.
Synthetic gas plants use extreme heat and pressure to gasify coal, producing a combination of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Steam and catalysts are then added to convert those gases to methane to produce a pipeline-ready substitute for natural gas.
I am at odds with IEEE Spectrum a lot recently. Synthetic gas plants might have more carbon footprint than fracking, but shall we compare  the process to burning coal, which is the source of this process?
Fracking requires technology China has not mastered, and burning coal put much worse elements in the air than CO2. Does anyone remember the horrifying pictures of Beijing in smog? To be honest, when you live in the smog for more than half the time through the year, CO2 is the about the last "pollutant" you would worry about.

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