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"....Greenpeace said the UK risked becoming “a superpower in climate hypocrisy rather than climate leadership” and that the mine would do “absolutely nothing” for the country’s energy security because the coal it contains can only be used for steelmaking...."

also, surely only the stoniest of hearts couldn't let out at least a little chuckle at the idea of the Tories breathing new life into UK coal mining industry.......

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I was minded to return to re-read this piece, on the news the mine has got the go ahead! (ye of little faith Doomberg ;-) ). However I also wanted to highlight, amongst the obvious howls of protest, the response from Greenpeace, who did manage to correctly identify that this WAS a coking mine and wouldn't help energy security in the way thermal coal would, neglecting of course to then make the simple next logical connection to what keeps wind turbines standing. I do wish we could get some filmed debates going e.g. Greenpeace vs Green Chicken, I genuinely want to know if these folk are as empty under the surface as they appear to be........

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There is no need for any of this crap. Global Warming is a hoax!

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Well if Coking Coal has a branding problem, "Natural" Gas definitely has the opposite, I suspect if you go an old Jay Leno asking people on the street question thing, I dread to think how many would actually answer "yes" to " Is Natural gas just air that exists in nature?"

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Just in case you wonder who's in charge at the White House, I'd say it's the World Economic Forum. And they know quite well what they're doing. Once they have us all dead from starving and freezing in the dark, the carbon footprint problem will be fixed.

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Why? I don’t understand these environmentalists; they have beliefs that are clearly mutually exclusive with even the slightest analysis. I’m just so confused why specific green sources and getting to absolute 0 (not net zero!) is an article of faith when there are clearly many possible roads to Rome.

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Some commenters had a lot of fun with Keith here because of his suggestion of making steel with Hydrogen that's made with electrolysis from excess wind energy that's made during the night when electricity demand is smaller. Let me try to explain in a friendly way what these commenters are seeing but what Keith is not. The short version is this: It makes no sense.

Let's start with hydrogen. It needs to be produced from electricity. For the hydrogen to be clean, it has to be produced from a clean source (when it comes to co2) like for example nuclear, hydro, wind or solar. The efficiency of doing that is low. And after that hydrogen has to be pressurized, which wastes even more energy. And like one writer pointed out, hydrogen is also tricky to store, and transport.

Then electricity. The excess clean electricity simply does not exist. Like we can see in Europe, there's a lack of clean energy. If we are supposed to cut down on co2-emissions, we need to start by eliminating co2 from electricity generation. If we do that using wind and solar, we need 1) massive amounts of new generation and 2) massive amounts of storage. If we get there, the excess electricity will simply go to charging batteries instead of using the electricity to generate and pressurize hydrogen.

Like the Doomberg suggested, it is possible to build massive amounts of nuclear so that we can eliminate co2 in electricity production. After that it's possible to use that abundant electricity to create hydrogen or ammonia in large scale to use it as an alternative fuel. Any amounts of clean fuels created this way can replace oil that is now burned for transportation. For example: Shipping.

Oh, let me also point out that wind tends to be weaker during the night. So wind produces less electricity during the night and solar no electricity at all.

The world just isn't there for creating any meaningful amounts of steel with hydrogen. And if we get to the point where it'd start being possible in theory, we'd eliminate more co2 by using that directly as a fuel instead of making steel. That way we don't need to build huge amounts of battery storage or even huge amounts of wind and solar and by no having to build those, we save huge amounts of co2 waste a lot of less resources and have to build way less mines.

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Great post. Hopefully someday we won’t even need to mine for anything on earth thus ruining the landscape, instead building parks and wildlife preserves using robots so we can all learn art and music full time. In the mean time…

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we need green chicken T-Shirts

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100%. Doomberg, there's so much potential, we need this.

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Your note does not reflect the sense of urgency. The situation is getting desperate .The world needs shock therapy otherwise we revert to the business as usual attitude; which is not an option. Why can't Americans drive less or drive smaller fuel efficient cars like Europeans? Or promote public transport?? Govt's have to act. One has to understand the use cases and push renewables wherever possible. India is the worlds third largest emitter. Most of the daytime electricity demand (which is primarily from coal fired plants) comes from increasing use of Air conditioning (used 9 months of the year). PV rooftop solar alone is able to significantly reduce daytime electricity use in air conditioning even without storage. Fossil fuels are used in producing all kinds of stuff which the world really could easily do without for a while. Better to use the available resource to produce solar and windmills which are definitely needed.

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Americans do drive less and do drive more fuel efficient cars. It's a big country so yah, comparing to Europe is intellectually dishonest. IDK what city you live in that doesn't promote Public Transport, every single one i visit does. Aggressively, to the point that people laugh at it b/c it's so constant and over the top. If more people with your attitude would just pony up the money to pay for the livelihoods of people that make and distribute the stuff the world could easily do without for a while" I'm sure they'd be agreeable to it.

Part of treating this with the sense of urgency it warrants is not being so f*cking tone deaf to the implications that people just dismiss it. Sneering, scolding and "You should be more like" doesn't work. Educating people to the problem is the ony way it gets solved, this bs finger pointing does zilch but entrench people in doing the opposite.

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Read "Numbers Don't Lie" by Vaclav Smil to see more good information in this regard like " To make the steel required for wind turbines that might operate by 2030, you would need the fossil fuel equivalent of 600 Million tons of coal

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The electric arc furnace (EAF) process, which uses scrap metal as feedstock, is a much cleaner alternative than the blast furnace-basic oxygen furnace (BF-BOF) process which uses coking/metallurgical coal. Steel Dynamics in the USA exclusively uses EAF technology. Here's more: https://sustainability.steeldynamics.com/eafvsblastfurnace/

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Gentlemen, As DRS stated, Hydrogen is a VERY nasty gas. Using Hydrogen for Steel Production would be an unmitigated disaster. Hydrogen in combination with heat causes Hydrogen embrittlement meaning that the resulting steel is brittle and stiff with NO bend. ANY pressure on the steel would cause it to crack. Imagine a High Pressure Boiler at full boil. Now imagine the carnage that would happen once the Steam drum ruptured and went careening into some populated area. It's happened before and caused much Death and Destruction. LOL, H2 Steel...a disaster in the making!

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Well... Classical Chicken and Egg Problem (here we have the Chicken - again). Green Hydrogen is a very nice idea - however we'd need a transport infrastructure for that. Unfortunately Hydrogen is a very nasty gas that has a tendency to destroy most metals / alloys and diffuse through most plastics. Very bad for pipelines, very bad for gaskets and valves. Believe me - I know what I am talking about, because I was plant manager in a Hydrogen Plant some 20 years ago.

I am not saying it will never be possible to setup such infrastructure, but it will take time (>10 - 20 years). And until then we'd better use natural gas and the existing and very cost efficient pipeline infrastructure to transport it and make hydrogen close to the consumer. Steam Reforming of Natural Gas is emmitting 1 Molecule of CO2 per 2 Molecule H2 - thats a lot and means it is simply not viable (anymore). I am putting big hopes in BASFs Methane Pyrolysis - a process, where you make directly H2 and carbon black. They are running a relatively big pilot plant for that already and I'd expect them to commercialize within next years. And you could even use biogas to produce H2.

However - all this is probably too complex for most politicians (and voters) - and thus I expect deciders to take bad / wrong decisions, such as shutting down all nuclear power plants in Germany in a very short time frame after Fukushima. It's all frustrating...

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This is the pushback in the comments that's helpful. Not equating new techniques to alchemy.

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Addendum: Electrical Hydrolysis is probably the most inefficient way to consume green electrical energy. It simply does not make sense at this point in time. Regarding steel production: Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon (sic!) that is made from pig or crude iron - which is an iron alloy with more than 2% carbon. Making steel directly with hydrogen or electrical arc from iron ore is quite a technical challenge...

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It's not efficient. The whole point is to only do it when you have excess energy and your storage levels are fine. But if you can't sell your energy it makes more money doing this than just wasting the electricity being generated.

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Addendum 2: I do believe that opening a new coal mine in England would be indeed not exactly a very clever idea - as producing steel in the UK is also not exactly very clever, too. Simple reason: For what do you need steel in the UK? Manufacturing? Which manufacturing? When I visit the UK, I sometimes get the impression, it's economy has completely separated into a banking/service and into a rural farming society - and there's little to no room for producing industries in between those two worlds. Sometimes I am really shocked when visiting UK clients, how inefficient they are producing and how "traditional" their operations are. Their entire business model relied on cheap labour from eastern Europe - which is history after Brexit. So forget about steel consuming manufacturing industries in the UK.

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The whole steel revival talk in the UK was part of a scam with Greenhill right? They never did anything but take money and burn it on jets if I remember correctly. It's not like the UK couldn't use a massive increase in housing particularly near London. But they are anti-building for probably the same NIMBY reasons as California. So yeah steel for them is unnecessary and a major money losing endeavor.

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founding

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

I think I'm beginning to understand parts of Isaiah Chapter 3.

4. And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.

5. And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.

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I wouldn't take too many science lessons from the bible.

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It's not science, but social, political, and behavioral trends he's commenting on.

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Nov 2, 2021Liked by Doomberg

I don't understand this post. It's still coal. It's just useful for steel. But we can make steel with Hydrogen and while not cost effective yet, limiting coaking coal will make the process cheaper faster. As you point out steel accounts for 8% of carbon. That's a ton. If we want to limit carbon output steel needs to become cleaner. One thing you didn't mention for making hydrogen is electrolysis. That means that wind turbines at night (because winds tend to be stronger at night when power demand diminishes) can generate electricity to split water molecules. You then get oxygen, a critical valuable asset, and hydrogen, which can be used in steel making and reduce steel's carbon footprint 20-25%. For a blog that talks about tail risk you don't seem to really get the urgency in not implementing carbon reducing policies. The "it's too important" argument is wrong and dumb. You know what makes it hard to build new buildings? Those cities being underwater.

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steel is literally an alloy of iron + carbon (and possibly other metals). There's no getting around that.

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I think Keith seriously thinks energy generated by wind mills and solar panels can be used to make more wind mills and solar panels that's why he's been taking these massive L's on this post lol.

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Nov 2, 2021Liked by Doomberg

The author also forgot to mention the important process of alchemy where we could simply change something else like a rock, grass, a household pet or an unwanted child into valuable steel

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Nov 2, 2021Liked by Doomberg

Doomberg liked this comment. Yeesh. I guess this is what passes for discussions these days. So long dinosaurs.

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Keith has a dong in his arse mate

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I will say this and be done. It's irritating when people propose solutions not understanding the realities of the marketplace, technology and economics. A great example is Elon Musk solar roofs. Beautiful idea, but none of the realities work for it. There is a lot of these types of unproven concepts out there, but they simply are not ready or realistic at this point.

EU is getting an expensive lesson on energy right now taught by Russia.

Have a lovely evening,

Dino-saur

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How do solar roofs not work?

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Despite decades of improvements, solar panels - and "solar shingles" - are comparatively inefficient at converting the energy in photons to electric current, and for best output have to be carefully placed to receive the most direct sunlight for the longest period of time. Not all portions of the roof structure of commercial and residential structures are oriented properly to maximize the amount of sunlight that can fall on a PV panel. In the northern hemisphere, the south-facing (and, to a lesser degree, SW and SE) aspects are best. You could place PV materials on portions facing in other cardinal directions, but the efficiency would be poorer and the output negligible. Ideally, solar panels should be considered as part of the design process for new construction so southern-facing structural aspects can be maximized. It follows that solar panels, let alone solar shingles, are not always suitable for use on existing structures where this wasn’t a factor in the original design.

Moreover, the materials used in "thin-film" solar products and the proposed "solar shingles" are still less efficient compared to conventional PV panels, and are subject to rapid weathering and degradation with consequent loss of output.

YouTubers EEV Blog and Thunderf00t have covered this with better explanations of the pros/cons than I can offer. I'm neither a scientist nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn last night. I have, however, helped plan and install a couple of major residential PV systems, and discussed thin-film PV and the "solar shingle" idea at length with 'sperts back when I was a younger analyst, less cynical and more inclined to believe in things like solar shingles, beneficient government, "net zero" and fairies.

Don't get me started on solar 'frickin roadways. ;)

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TL;DR It's not that they don't work at all, it's that they work very poorly compared to conventional solar panels.

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author

I liked your comment too!

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Nov 2, 2021Liked by Doomberg

Then I'm just a dick today. Sorry.

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Nov 2, 2021Liked by Doomberg

Me too. 😏

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author

You are correct. You don't understand this post.

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Why not use hydrogen from electrolysis? You seem to be supporting a race to the bottom approach where we should never have limits on anything because other countries won't meet our standards. That's the same for labor laws. On that basis we should have sweat shops because if we don't then Vietnam will.

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Well, because of dumb stuff like yield or economics. I prefer leveraging PFM (Pure F*cking Magic) dust for hydrogen electrolysis as a catalyst instead.

Bro, lern2economics

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Economics. Like how clean energy is now cheaper than coal and is getting close to natural gas? Or how about charging for externalities? So we don't end up with Tragedy of the Commons world in 2100.

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Where do you get the idea that "clean energy" − which I presume you mean to be solar panels − is cheaper than coal? In the last decade, 2010-2019, solar received 113 times more subsidies per unit of electricity generated than coal (and 200 times more than oil and gas).

And if you're for charging for externalities, then the externalities of solar panels should also be considered. For example... By 2050, under current plans, the quantity of worn-out solar panels − much of it nonrecyclable − will constitute double the tonnage of all of today's global plastic waste. Yet, since I can't get a plastic straw I bought myself a set of reusable ones, made of stainless steel.

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author

Where do you propose the electricity for electrolysis will come from?

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Wind turbines.

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author

And where do you propose the steel for the wind turbines will come from?

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Hydrogen steel. The first one sure has to be traditional steel. Great. Now we can make cleaner steel. The first solar plants had to use dirty energy. Now they can be powered by solar. Should we never ever make cleaner steel because the 1st generation of plants need fossil fuels?

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