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"A society built on green design, sustainable energy and closed loop systems, a civilization afloat on a cloud of efficient, non-toxic, recyclable technology." ~~Alex Nikolai Steffan

12.03.2007

Coal Plants, Carbon Emissions and the Silver Bullet

Usually when the family gathers for holidays such as Thanksgiving, there's plenty of political debate and this year was no exception. One of the comments made this year was about coal plants, Tallahassee and the inevitability of new construction of coal plants.

Here's a great website regarding the 151 coal plants planned for development in the US and how green efforts undertaken by some very large corporations, states, universities and US citizens are dwarfed by the reality of the Co2 emitted by a coal plant.


For example, the Campus Climate Challenge calls for all college campuses in the US to reduce their Co2 emissions to zero. If every college campus met this challenge, the carbon emissions from four medium-sized coal-fired power plants each year would negate this entire effort.


See Architecture 2030 for why elimination of new coal plants may be the "silver bullet" and for more on rising sea levels, research and more.

2 comments:

Enjoyed your Coal Plants, Carbon Emissions and the Silver Bullet Article.

The article has a picture of three power plant cooling towers. What we are seeing is condensed water vapor and not pollution. Pollution is emitted from chimneys. It is a common misperception.

Thanks Ken for stopping by and commenting on the picture in this post.

Ken's comment notwithstanding, it's important to remember that all power plants are a major source of air pollution, with coal-fired power plants spewing 59% of total U.S. sulfur dioxide pollution and 18% of total nitrogen oxides every year.

The reason many folks in Tallahassee and surrounding areas fought against the siting of a new coal plant in Taylor County was this reason. Coal-fired power plants are also the largest polluter of toxic mercury pollution, the largest contributor of hazardous air toxics and release about 50% of particle pollution.

We know that power plants release over 40% of total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, a prime contributor to global warming and are second only to automobiles as the greatest source of NOx emissions.

Particle Pollution and Soot
Coal-fired power plants are also the largest single source of sulfur dioxide (SO2), releasing about 2/3 of the total SO2 pollution each year. SO2 can combine with nitrogen oxide (NOx) and other particles to form particulate matter, giving us good old, soot, which we've noted here in previous posts, as well as acid rain.

In the U.S., coal-fired power plants are the single largest source of SO2 pollution (66%) and the second largest source of NOx pollution.

Thanks to the Sierra Club for its quick facts. www.sierraclub.org/clearair/

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