Use access key #2 to skip to page content.

Increasing The Efficiency Of Coal By 1% Creates 30X The Energy Of All Solar



April 30, 2009 – Comments (8) | RELATED TICKERS: FSLR

I made a ton of CAP point red thumbing the solar hype, it looks like that opportunity may return.

CLusterstock has the story:

While there's plenty of hype and hope around improving solar technology, it would be better for the environment, and consumer, to improve coal technology, says Paul Maeder, general partner focused on clean tech at Highland Capital.

"Increase the efficiency of coal by 1% and you replace all the power from solar by a factor of 30," Maeder said while speaking about clean tech on a panel at the annual National Venture Capital Association meeting in Boston, yesterday.

It's an impressive statistic, but one of Maeder's Highland Partner co-workers reminded us later that coal provides half our energy, and can provide a terrawatt of power when the nation is firing on all cylinders during the summer, while solar is still a tiny part of the energy equation.

The reason the efficiency hasn't been improved is that the coal/power industry are not incented to do so. Maeder says he's talked to people working in the industry and they say they're told, "Whatever you do, don't touch the knobs" that control energy, because, "if you cause a brownout, it follows you for the rest of your career...I've talked to people that are 15 years away from retirement," all they want is to protect their job and pensions, says Maeder.

The rest is here:

The Next Big U.S. Bubble: Janszen on CNBC


8 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On April 30, 2009 at 5:30 PM, portefeuille (98.91) wrote:

sounds highly ridiculous to me

Report this comment
#2) On April 30, 2009 at 8:08 PM, devoish (65.42) wrote:

all they want is to protect their job and pensions, says Maeder.

They think they're getting pensions. How charming.

Report this comment
#3) On April 30, 2009 at 10:36 PM, Notforyoutoknow (< 20) wrote:

Of course it also produces 100% more carbon emissions...

Report this comment
#4) On April 30, 2009 at 11:02 PM, rofgile (98.97) wrote:

So if we don't have that much power being made by wind, an overall improvement to every single coal plant could equal the amount of power currently being made by wind 30X. 

The way that you had written the statistic was really misleading:

1) You are not going to go and overhaul every single coal plant in the United States.  That's a huge undertaking, and every power plant has a different framework - different age, different amounts of pollution, etc.

2) It might be 1 billion times the power we currently make from hamsters running on wheels.  So what!  It just shows that we currently don't have that much power being made by hamsters on wheels (ie solar).

3) Doesn't discredit  increases in the solar power production in the US.  I mean, why not keep adding on green power that doesn't pollute and doesn't consume natural resources?

4) A more interesting statistic would include the costs of increasing the solar power production vs the costs of increasing coal efficiency to have equal power growth.  Thats what's missing that makes this statistic from the blogger meaningless.


Report this comment
#5) On April 30, 2009 at 11:49 PM, Melaschasm (< 20) wrote:

Shifting from coal mined in Appalachian Mountains, to coal mined west of the Mississippi would reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions by more than all of the current solar power production in the USA, and all we would have to do is stop the government from subsidizing Appalachian coal, since it costs more to mine.

However, the government is not interested in reducing carbon emissions, they just want to expand government power, and thus increase the bribes paid to those with political power.  Sadly, most of the environmental groups are more concerned about expanding power than reducing carbon emissions, and play along with this game.

Report this comment
#6) On May 04, 2009 at 10:11 PM, jgseattle (26.10) wrote:

it seems some think that increased efficeincy means greater release of pollutants.  I disagree.  If you can find a way that makes the burning of coal more efficient due to it happening hotter, quicker, slower, in a closed systme, in an open system, heat capture, what ever I am not an engineer but I can imagine a lot of things to try.

Report this comment
#7) On May 05, 2009 at 4:53 AM, LawfordCap (30.59) wrote:

"coal provides half our energy"

The global coal market is £312B

1/100 * $312B = $3.12B

I imagine this is an incentive

The $3,12B is close to the size of the solar market at $3.8B in 2007

Report this comment
#8) On May 07, 2009 at 3:47 PM, OldEnglish (27.32) wrote:

Solar is a hopelessly inefficient method of generating power. I'm glad to see someone pointing this out. If the green crowd needs to be obsessed with something, let it be wind or nuclear. At least the return on investment is decent with those.

"Make the lie big, keep it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it."

Green jobs, green jobs, green jobs...

Report this comment

Featured Broker Partners