Chapter 4: Electricity Decarbonization, Large Coal Plants
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30% of all Climate Change comes from 2% of all power plants.

Coal to Nuclear: Taking On Large Coal Power Plants
If you can convert the largest plant, Taichung, to zero CO2, you can convert all of them.

TAICHUNG, Taiwan.  The world's largest single source of CO2.
The world built supersized coal power plants after the environmentalists convinced the world NOT to build nuclear power plants . . .  
Producing about 30% of all Global Warming, the world's 1,200 largest coal burning power plants
(only 2% of all power plants)
are the world's dominant sources of Global Warming CO2.
An average 500-megawatt coal plant releases about 3.7 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.

Virtually all coal burning steam power plants can be quickly decarbonized by conversion to either Depleted Oil Oxyfuel or Nuclear.

Taichung is a very large coal power plant on the island of Taiwan.  No nearby large oil fields for depleted oil so nuclear is the way to go here.

A 2015 report, “The Truth about China,” states that more than 2,400 coal plants are under construction around the world – many in China, India, and Japan. Even Germany, long-time disciple to climate improvement, has been building new coal-fired plants, in order to back out their use of nuclear power. Last year, 44 percent of Germany’s electricity came from coal – more than in any other EU country.
The Paris climate agreement fell short. Vague promises and hopes that countries like China and Russia will act against their self-interest are a fool’s game. Better to develop realistic solutions, like cleaning up coal. 


The Supersized 1,200.  Who they are and where they are:   1200 Largest Coal Power Plants - Countries and Locations .xls  (spreadsheet @ 1.095)

Where you can find out about the world's power plants and the Global Warming they make.

The world's power plant population count is 197,000 generating units at 91,000 power plant sites in 230+ countries. 
(Platts, below.)  Over 30,000 sites are fossil fuel.
Platts gives many technical and administrative details about the world's power plants but
does not provide Global Warming emissions information.

  Data from CARMA   ( )

CARMA asked their logo and link be inserted, something I'm delighted to do.


Data bases about the world's coal burning power plants are maintained by   and .   Platt's is a commercial database covering all electricity generating stations of every type.  CARMA's database is limited to smoke emissions from coal burning power plants.

In 2007, your author used Microsoft's Excel to sort and plot the world's coal burning power stations by emissions.  Expecting a normal distribution, I was shocked to see the curve on the above right emerge.  It depicts only a very few - the largest 2% - making perhaps 80% of the world's coal emissions while the vast majority of the world's coal power plant population - the 98% smaller - were almost innocent bystanders.

As you can see from the diagram on the left, about 30% of ALL the world's Global Warming CO2 is coming from about 2% of the world's coal burning power plants.  Clearly, mankind's No 1 environmental task is to convert the world's largest coal boilers to oxyfuel steam generators.


The advantages of converting an existing smaller coal power plant to
combined cycle oil carbon capture.


Boiler Replacement Advantages

Boiler Swapping Offers Many Economic and Speed Advantages. 

Swapping just the power plant's boiler preserves the power plant, its worker's jobs, its operating permits, the plant's access to cooling water, electrical grids and heavy transportation.  What's not to like from a deal like this? 

The Advantages of Swapping Out Supersized Boilers: Supersized Power Plants are job one:  2% of the world's 60,000 fossil fuel power plants, 1,200 supersized power plants, are making over 3/4 of coal's Global Warming.  The world will never be willing or able to provide much money for Global Warming mitigation.  This will enable us to re-use everything else at the power plant - including an already experienced workforce - a strategy much wiser than building the equivalent amount of generating capacity in new windmills.   

If you owned a coal burning power plant here are the biggest reasons why you would want to convert to oil combined cycle:

Permits.   Permits.     PERMITS.     PERMITS.    PERMITS!

Would you rather have an existing site that is already permitted or do you want a new site so badly you are willing to fight in court forever against environmentalists in the pay of your competition?

An existing old coal burning power plant has enormous local support for the idea that adding a small modular oxyfuel boiler unit is far better than shutting the plant down. 

Always get the identities and photographs of protesters and make sure everyone at every discussion meeting knows where THEY live.  Always photograph any protest demonstrations with a wide-angle lens - leaving plenty of space on either side - so everyone can see how few protesters there really are.


2. Already wired to our cities - NO NEW TRANSMISSION LINE RIGHT-OF-WAYS NEEDED


4. Already have access roads - NO NEW ROAD RIGHT-OF-WAYS NEEDED

5. Already have railroad tracks - NO NEW RAILROAD RIGHT-OF-WAYS NEEDED

6. Usually have ample land for several additional future units - NO NEW LAND NEEDED, COAL YARD LAND WILL BECOME LAWN SOON


8. Already have proven operators who know the equipment - FEWER OPERATORS LOOSE JOBS, EXISTING OPERATORS WOULD BE BETTER PAID

9. Cleaner working environment - OXYFUEL PLANTS ARE CLEAN

[A helpful power plant operator reader suggested I add the following. (Thank you)]

A few advantages you may want to list in terms of BOP. Feel free to use them or not...

1. Construction is made *cheaper* because all necessary roads, water transport and rail lines are already in place. A huge savings relative to a green field plant.

2. Licensing:
a. Water usage for everything from cooling to potable water. In place.
b. Sewage and waste water discharge. In place.
c. Air pollution (not that it's needed) in place, frees up carbon licenses if this occurs.
d. Hazardous waste storage/processing (all industrial facilities have to pay for this, regardless). In place.
e. Lube oil and chemical usage/storage licenses. In place.

3. Control Room(s). Only a retrofit of the existing coal plant controls have to occur.

4. Grid access. The grid and switchyard is *in place* and ready to swap over. If MW out put is close to the same, it's even possible the same main bank transmission can be used, a huge savings, along with, BTW, all the associated remote monitoring (relays for undervoltage, overvoltage, shorts, grounds, etc etc), already in place. No major transmission upgrades needed if MWs are to stay the same and even then, only minor ones at worse.

5. Human Resources. The coal plant will have trained operators and maintenance personnel many/some/a lot of whom will be able to migrate over (literally by walking) to the new plant after NRC qualifications.

6. Overall reduced footprint. Wildlife (my personal favorite) sanctuaries can be built as security belts around the formally soot-laden, coal spewed, plant site. Allows room for expansion for subsequent PBMR/LFTR use (desalination, chemical/hot process steam usage, etc etc).

If we built nothing but new renewables, what would we do with all the existing fossil-fuel burning power plants we now have? This is a major economic and grid logistics question no one is asking.  Many have 40 or more years of productive and profitable life remaining.  This is the most important consideration when second and third world countries think about ending their Global Warming CO2.

FUN COMMENT: (From a reader:) 

Jim:  Stumbled on your web site and want to congratulate you on your mission.  I have been working on a similar unsolicited proposal to convert one of our largest coal plants in [deleted] to nuclear. The interest in the large plants is that one saves the incredible investment in sites, cooling towers, electric generators, some of the lower pressure stages of the turbines( as you are aware the nuclear plants have lower steam pressures and temperatures but multistage turbines can be converted to salvage some of their cost), the condensing equipment, the switching yard, and most importantly the transmission lines and towers.  A very rough estimate is that half the cost of a new nuclear plant of the same size could be salvaged.  The federal government could loan the money and the utility smart enough to make this change could return the loan in carbon credits.  Large nuclear plants are very labor intensive and we obviously need the jobs.  Keep pounding your drum.  Solar and wind won’t hack it.  [deleted]        (This author regards this approach viable.)


Which countries have how many supersized coal burning power plants?
 66 different countries have these supersized coal burning power plants.  Who has how many?

Connecting the dots which will identify those countries most likely to receive World Bank financing via the UN's Clean Development Mechanism if the IAEA agrees.

The author has extracted the supersizers from CARMA's Excel Spreadsheets:  Supersized 1200 - Countries and Locations .xls  For more info see: 
Each individual supersized power plant is listed in this sub-database.  Plant name, owners, CO2 emissions, capacity, nearby city, state, country, latitude and longitude.

Countries in bold green, representing a total of 755 supersized coal burning power plants, out of the total of 1,200 supersized coal burning power plants, are not European Union or the United States and, as such, are not considered to be paralyzed by environmentalists advocating only renewables as a way of ending Global Warming.  To a very large extent, these are the countries that represent the best hope for individuals concerned about actually stopping Global Warming.

The ten developing countries with the largest CO2 emissions from electricity generation in 2005 were (in order of the magnitude of emissions) China, India, South Africa, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Iran, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and Thailand (IEA, 2007).

The total amount of emissions from electricity generation from the seven countries included (Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Kazakhstan were not included in the study.) in the study accounted for 75 percent of the total amount of emissions from electricity generation in all non-Annex I countries in 2005.

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as a real option for CCS - How do we get there? 

Developing countries according to the International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook Report, April 2010. 
See also: 
UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization)
Country Developing Developed
Argentina *                      Developing Country 1  
Australia   22
Austria   1
Azerbaijan                      Developing Country 1  
Belarus                           Developing Country 2  
Belgium   4
Bosnia-Herzegovina        Developing Country 1  
Brazil *                            Developing Country 2  
Bulgaria                            Developing Country 4  
Canada      17
Chile *                             Developing Country 3  
China *                            Developing Country 395  
Croatia                            Developing Country 1  
Czech Republic   7
Denmark   2
Egypt *              UNIDO     Developing Country 3  
Finland   1
France   5
Germany   41
Greece   6
Hungary                            Developing Country 1  
India *               UNIDO    Developing Country 64  
Indonesia *        UNIDO    Developing Country 6  
Iran *                 UNIDO    Developing Country 11  
Iraq *                               Developing Country 1  
Ireland   1
Israel *   2
Italy   19
Japan   45
Kazakhstan *                  Developing Country 5  
Kuwait *                         Developing Country 3  
Macedonia *                   Developing Country 1  
Malaysia *                      Developing Country 4  
Mexico *           UNIDO    Developing Country 8  
Moldova                         Developing Country 1  
Morocco           UNIDO    Developing Country 2  
Netherlands   6
New Zealand   1
North Korea *   1
Pakistan *          UNIDO    Developing Country 2  
Philippines *      UNIDO    Developing Country 5  
Poland                              Developing Country 14  
Portugal   3
Romania                           Developing Country 4  
Russia   56
Saudi Arabia *                 Developing Country 7  
Serbia *                           Developing Country 3  
Singapore *   3
Slovakia   1
Slovenia   1
South Africa *      UNIDO   12
South Korea   14
Spain   17
Syria *                            Developing Country 1  
Taiwan (China) *   10
Thailand *         UNIDO    Developing Country 7  
Turkey                            Developing Country 11  
Turkmenistan *               Developing Country 1  
Ukraine                           Developing Country 10  
United Arab Emirates *   Developing Country 1  
United Kingdom   22
United States   286
Uzbekistan *                    Developing Country 3  
Venezuela *                    Developing Country 1  
Vietnam *          UNIDO   Developing Country 3  
Zimbabwe       UNIDO   Developing Country 1  
Country Count = 66 594 606



How many of the 1,200 supersizers are on navigable water?

Be warned.  CARMA's Asian coordinates can be off by miles. 
Best way to find a supersized power plant: Google Earth to the CARMA coordinate then cruise around for a river or large body of water to find the power plant.
When sorted by greatest CO2 emissions, a group of 30 produced 16 plants with coal barges, 14 without.
When sorted by ascending sorted random numbers, a group of 22 produced 12 plants with coal barges, 10 without.

About 54% or about 650


(Below)  Why we will always need large power plants.




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