Friday, January 14, 2011

'Oh what a tangled web we weave

<$BlogMetaData$>“Oh what a tangled web we weave”

I’m getting a bit confused here and thought I should share my views with you so that we can be confused together. That way we know what each of us is talking about, we just won’t understand what we are saying. Hyperion calls this techno babble.

One of the things Hyperion has been ‘touting’ as part of the greenest refinery to be built in the last 30 years is a refinery built with IGCC capabilities. Here is the definition of IGCC just to refresh your memories.

An integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) is a technology that turns coal or pet coke into gas—synthesis gas (syngas). It then removes impurities from the coal gas before it is combusted and attempts to turn any pollutants into re-usable byproducts. This results in lower emissions of sulfur dioxide, particulates and mercury. Excess heat from the primary combustion and generation is then passed to a steam cycle, similarly to a combined cycle gas turbine. This then also results in improved efficiency compared to conventional pulverized coal. (The neighbors might not like the sulfur smell, but ‘that’s the oil biz.’) You understand that whole mess don’t you? I wish I did. When I took chemistry in high school, the only word I would have recognized in this whole paragraph would have been coal.

Now, if they are removing the impurities and then use ‘green’ technology to sequester the carbon gas there should be a reduced amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere because it is going to be pressurized, sent down a pipeline to some place that will pump the gas into an area underground where it will be sealed ‘forever’ and never leak. That is unless carbon dioxide is not part of the IGCC process, in which case it will just spew out the stack; 16.9 MILLION TONS of carbon dioxide. This does not include the ‘mistake’ made in their calculations for the methane. Right!

However carbon sequestration, which is a part of the IGCC process, isn’t going to be added to the refinery operation for two reasons. (Maybe there are more). They said long ago that carbon sequestration is not economically feasible. (They said this about IGCC as well but changed their minds.) This will raise the cost of the gas because of the added expense for sequestration. Where are they going to pipe it to? Texas? The other reason is I don’t believe they asked for it in their air permit and according to a very well versed individual they wouldn’t stand a snowballs chance in Hades of getting the permit if that was in it. Again, where are they going to sequester the carbon? It certainly won’t be around here.

Speaking of ‘mistakes’ (I’m putting a lot of words into quotes aren’t I?), does stretching the truth count as a lie or is it a mistake? Back when Hyperion was initially coming up with the data for the HEC, the power plant was going to produce 300KW of power. When they found out that any power plant producing over 250MW of power came under the operational purview of the state PUC, they suddenly revamped their figures and sure enough the plant will only produce 200MW of power instead of the figure first reported of 300MW. Hm-m-m-m-m

Here is an outright lie. Preston Phillips reported that the project would be profitable when the price of oil hits $60 per barrel. Oil hit $60 per barrel so long ago I can’t even remember when it was. As of today oil is at $90 -100 a barrel and pundits are predicting $200 a barrel by this time next year, so where the hell is Hyperion? Man are they missing the boat here. Oh I forgot, it takes money to build things these days and Hyperion doesn’t have any. Shame on me!

Then by golly they reported that the HEC would be using 10-12 million gallons of water from the Missouri river per day to cool the refinery and the coal plant. When they found out that any industry using more than 10,000 acre feet (325,000 gallons = 1 acre foot) has to be approved by the state legislature, they refigured their math and lo and behold they will only be using 9,000 acre feet per day of water. Shazam!

Now here comes the latest blast from the HEC that they ‘forgot’ to include the figures from the power plant when they were figuring the amount of methane that would be emitted by the HEC. It was originally 10, 500 tons of methane but with the power plant figured into the equation it suddenly becomes 20,600 tons of methane. Does the coal fired power plant at the Port Neal facility put out 20,000 tons of Methane and Sulfur Dioxide? The two together would be putting out a hell of a lot of pollution don’t you think? Should those figures be counted into the equation as well? After all, they are only 30 miles (as the crow flies unless of course you fall dead out of the sky) apart aren’t they? I don’t know who their engineering staff is that comes up with all this but they need to be fired. What really bothers me is that they haven’t even started construction yet. Can you imagine the mechanical engineers they will hire to do this if this is the best they can do on the permitting.

If you really want to see what is happening in Alberta, go to YouTube and in the search box, type in some of the following. ‘Tar sands’ Alberta tar sands’ Canadian oil’ there are both pro and con videos about the tar sands. Try to find the one that shows the status of the mining in the year 2020. Look at all the ancillary businesses around the refinery. Propaganda at its best.

Don’t you just love all the double speak that is going on here? Oh what tangled webs we weave when at first we try to deceive.”(Sir Walter Scott)


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