Chapter: Banner Explanation
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Climate Change is a chemistry problem.                 Guidance for Upgrading Our Energy Systems in the face of Climate Change, Rising Energy Demand, and Legacy Infrastructure.
Switching to windmills clearly has the potential for bringing chaos to modern civilization. Replacing fossil fuels with carbon-neutral equivalents is a much
safer, quicker, and cheaper path.

The Nuclear-Hydrogen-Biomass Energy System - slides

Nuclear energy is not just for electricity.  Nuclear energy can solve the entire fossil fuel problem causing climate change.

Everyone understands how nuclear energy can replace the coal energy that is being used to make electricity. 

Energy scientists also understand how to use nuclear's energy to synthesize carbon-neutral equivalents of the other fossil fuels - oil and natural gas - to end the remainder of Climate Change.

Achieving "Carbon-neutrality".

The banner above could be described as a tableau-like graphic presentation of the main components involved: (1,) Using plant leaves to capture (2,) carbon dioxide (CO2) molecules from (3,) the air. This captured CO2 is then used as feedstock by a (4,) nuclear reactor powered (5,) synthesizing refinery to make (6,) electricity (7,) carbon-neutral synthetic biomethane natural gas, and (8,) carbon-neutral synthetic biomethanol - a "drop-in" replacement for gasoline.

After burning, the CO2 produced by the biofuels would return to the air to be recaptured again later by plants to be re-used again as feedstock for manufacturing more synthetic combustion fuel.

In 2006, Nobel Prize winning energy chemist, Dr. George A. Olah, published his influential book:
"Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy."

Dr. Olah and his co-authors explored the different fuels that could be made from captured carbon dioxide;    
how they would be made, their advantages, shortcomings, and potential problems.    

In 2007, Dr. Forsberg, a chemist and nuclear scientist from MIT and Oak Ridge Laboratories, prepared a slide show and academic paper to present this concept to a group of chemists.

  Nuclear-Hydrogen-Biomass System - Slides - Dr Charles W. Forsberg .pdf 
 Nuclear-Hydrogen-Biomass System - Paper - Dr Charles W. Forsberg .pdf

Conclusion: There is sufficient biomass to meet U.S. liquid-fuel needs
if the energy and hydrogen inputs for biomass-to-fuel processing plants are provided by advanced nuclear energy.


Using Fossil Fuel Now Instead Of Nuclear Fuel 10 Years From Now

It is this web site's position that carbon-captured and sequestered oil or natural gas could provide the same temperatures and quantities of clean energy as advanced nuclear. We do not have to wait another 10 years or so for the development work on the current family of advanced nuclear reactors to be completed.

We can begin engineering and prototyping a Hybrid CO2 Energy Park immediately, using carbon captured fossil heat instead of nuclear heat.

These days, there are many idle 100 to 200 megaWatt coal plant sites like the one below that would throw open their doors to such an opportunity.

The Midwest plant below happens to be sitting on both depleted oil fields and carbon sequestration salt beds several further miles straight down. No need to build CO2 disposal pipelines. And depleted, but useable, crude oil means very cheap energy.


The above banner explained.  >



1 Harvesting biomass for manufacturing into synthetic biofuel.

It is practical to capture air's carbon dioxide (CO2) by extracting it from biomass using plasma gasifiers.  See also Number 8, Below.
(Click on image to enlarge Image.)

          Billion Ton Biomass Report.                        

If non-biomass energy - either carbon-captured fossil heat or nuclear heat - is used to convert the biofeedstock into fossil fuel substitutes, it is possible a billion tons of biofeedstock per year would be sufficient to end future accumulating CO2 emissions from the United States.

Dr. Forsberg's slides and paper show how: Nuclear-Hydrogen-Biomass System - Slides - Dr Charles W. Forsberg .pdf   
Nuclear-Hydrogen-Biomass System - Paper - Dr Charles W. Forsberg .pdf

Classic Biofuels:  Biofuels - Introduction to Biofuels .pdf 

Although the carbon in biofuels originates in the atmosphere, there is controversy regarding the actual carbon balance for North American biofuels due to the need for fertilizers, the transportation of the biomass, and other impacts on the soil and groundwater. This is why we should make full use of biowaste - such as corn stover - before adding biomass such as switchgrass to the biofeedstock pool.

Synthetic carbon-neutral biofuels can be identical (fungible) to conventional ethanol (E85) or methanol (M85) ľ they can be dropped into the fuel distribution and supply infrastructure that we already have and power internal combustion engines that we already use.  Synthetic biofuels can be up-converted to diesel and jet fuel; other synthetic electrochemical fuels are also a possibility. Depending on the source of the electricity, these electrochemical fuels can be completely carbon neutral.

This approach would achieve several things: It would relieve the vehicle manufacturer of the need to make a battery that can tolerate years of heavy use with little or no maintenance, and it would render moot the concerns of battery weight and size, as the synthetic biofuel part of the system is stationary. By moving the capital expense and risk out of the vehicle and centralizing it, one might realize significant improvements in economy of scale and maintainability. It would also render moot the need to have time dedicated to battery charging, as the process that generates the fuel operates continuously and independently of the vehicle.




2  The standard chemistry symbols for the CO2 molecule.       



3  The fact that the CO2 in the air is accessible to everyone in the world enables everyone to recycle CO2 into clean synthetic liquid biofuels.

Since only energy and biomass is needed to create fossil-like liquid biofuels, this encourages abandoning Climate Changing fossil fuels everywhere forever.



4 New nuclear reactors that can be hotter than fire have been developed and are currently being engineered and tested for inexpensive mass manufacture by over 50 different companies worldwide. Perhaps as many as 10,000 of all sizes will be needed. Fortunately, the civil nuclear energy world is coming up with rational ways of disposing of the much smaller volumes of nuclear waste these improved nuclear reactors will create.
Under optimized circumstances, heat from nuclear can be as much as 2,000 times cheaper than heat from coal. 
(Click on images to enlarge Images.)


(Center.) This is the type of reactor designed to be hot enough to split water into hydrogen and oxygen to provide feedstock for synthetic biofuels.
(INL - [Idaho National Laboratories] Image.) Post-combustion carbon captured fossil oil or natural gas should be able to nearly match nuclear.  Click on the image with the green and yellow loops to learn how a 1,800░F nuclear reactor can split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Gordon McDowell's Thorium + Molten Salt Reactor YouTube Timeline: 

Instead of using fossil fuel heat to manufacture synthetic biofuels, we will soon be able to take advantage of far less expensive and far cleaner nuclear heat.
To take advantage of existing infrastructure, these new reactors can be installed in the world's 400+ large oil refineries to convert them into nuclear powered biorefineries.



5 Converting gaseous feedstocks of carbon from biomass and hydrogen from water into synthetic carbon-neutral liquid biofuels over catalysts under heat and pressure to replace both fossil oil and fossil natural gas. Coal has already been superseded by nuclear as a source of heat energy.

Thermal Plasma Gasification of Biomass:

"Principally all carbon and hydrogen atoms from biomass can be used for syngas production if biomass is heated to sufficiently high temperature. Maximum biomass to syngas conversion efficiency is achieved if all carbon is oxidized to CO. As most of biomass materials contain more carbon atoms than oxygen atoms, some oxygen has to be added to gasify all carbon. This can be done by addition of oxygen, air, steam or CO2."  - Milan Hrabovsky, Institute of Plasma Physics - Thermal Plasma Gasification of Biomass .pdf

[We are talking about blowing very hot biomass vapors thru an electric arc as powerful as lightning having temperatures over 10,000░F to break molecules down into their constituent atoms for reassembly into carbon monoxide synthesis gas molecules (syngas). Using nuclear electricity to power this process makes this process economically viable.]
(Click on image to enlarge Image.)


How it works.
Synthetic Fuels: 
How Plasma Torch Pyrolyzation Works:

Alter Plasma, Canada, (Westinghouse): Overview Video 6m
Alter Plasma, Canada, (Westinghouse): Overview Video 9m:  Up to 3,360░F high temperature heating rods for slag handlers.

Instead of just burning the carbon-neutral syngas to make a little electricity while disposing of city garbage - something nuclear can do much cheaper and cleaner - this web site is suggesting we use the carbon-neutral syngas as feedstock to replace fossil oil and fossil natural gas.

Example: The Dimethyl Ether (DME) molecule. Note the high number of energy-carrying hydrogens.   

Biodimethyl ether, a more powerful replacement for diesel (higher Cetane rating) that has the physical properties of propane and can also replace propane as biopropane.

DME is a promising fuel in diesel engines,[12] petrol engines (30% DME / 70% LPG), and gas turbines. For diesel engines, an advantage is the high cetane number of 55, compared to that of diesel fuel from petroleum, which is 40ľ53.[13] Only moderate modifications are needed to convert a diesel engine to burn dimethyl ether. The simplicity of this short carbon chain compound leads during combustion to very low emissions of particulate matter, NOx, and CO.

For these reasons as well as being sulfur-free, dimethyl ether meets even the most stringent emission regulations in Europe (EURO5), U.S. (U.S. 2010), and Japan (2009 Japan).[14] Mobil uses dimethyl ether in their methanol to gasoline process. [citation needed]

Dimethyl ether is being developed as a synthetic second generation biofuel (BioDME), which can be manufactured from lignocellulosic biomass.[15] Currently the EU is considering BioDME in its potential biofuel mix in 2030;[16] the Volvo Group is the coordinator for the European Community Seventh Framework Programme project BioDME[17][18] where Chemrec's BioDME pilot plant based on black liquor gasification is nearing completion in Piteň, Sweden.[19]

In 2009 a team of university students from Denmark won the Urban Concept/Internal Combustion class at the European Shell Eco Marathon, an unofficial World Championship for mileage, with a vehicle running on 100% dimethyl ether. The vehicle drove 589 km/liter, (1,384 miles/gallon), fuel equivalent to gasoline with a 50 cc 2-stroke Diesel engine.
As well as winning, they beat the old standing record of 306 km/liter, set by the same team in 2007.[20]




6 Abundant electricity that is cheaper and more reliable than the ephemeral electricity from windmills, solar cells, and magic batteries.
(Click on images to enlarge.)



This chart points out a very inconvenient truth. 
Wind simply isn't replacing fossil fuels, nuclear has far to go, and hydro can't grow much.
The world is still making most of it's electricity from CO2-producing energy sources - coal, gas, or oil.

Over half of the conventional thermal CO2 in the above left chart can be quickly and cheaply eliminated by replacing the plant's fossil fuel boilers with modular molten salt reactor steam generators.  The job is surprisingly small - see the above right chart.  These 1,200 "Supersized" coal burning power plants are only 2% of the world's fossil fuel power plant fleet. And, since some nuclear energies can be 2,000 times cheaper than coal energy, the economics are favorable as well as the plant becoming clean rather than "coal dirty", a much better place to work.

They are relatively new, being built after the anti-nuclear environmentalists convinced second and third world countries to build large coal burning power plants instead of large nuclear power plants. Since they are relatively new, these huge coal power plants will be around a long time.  See "Environmentalism's Nuclear Disaster."

Massive coal power plants that will be around for a long time is exactly what we don't want for fighting Climate Change.

See Taichung (#1) and Big Bend (#258) coal burning power plant suggested upgrades as examples of how this can be done using ThorCon's proposed molten salt reactors to replace just the power plant's coal boilers.



7 Synthetic carbon-neutral biogas that is 'drop-in' identical to fossil's 'natural' gas. This means we can heat our homes without making any changes to our furnaces, city gas utilities, or electricity generating plants that currently use 'natural' gas.
(Note the carbon dioxide molecules returning to the air.)



8  Synthetic carbon-neutral biomethanol to replace gasoline. M85 Biomethanol can be used as a lower-cost-per-mile "drop-in" replacement for gasoline.
(Note the carbon dioxide molecules returning to the air.)

Just as some of our cars are already "Dual Fuel" - Gasoline and E85 Ethanol - tiny changes in our cars costing less than $100 could bring them up to China's and Brazil's "Triple Fuel" standard - i.e., Gasoline, Ethanol (E85), and Methanol (M85).

The methanol used in the green chart below is from fossil feedstock - typically coal or natural gas - and thus adds to Climate Change.

CO2 numbers from using carbon-neutral biofeedstock should be about the same but, being carbon-neutral, this CO2 will not add to Climate Change.


If you want economy, buy methanol.  If you want range, buy gasoline.  If you want neither, buy ethanol.
  The Open Fuel Standard Act of 2013 .pdf