Friday, 16 May 2014

Hogwash - Coal & Oil to "Run Out"

No beating around the busy, what utter rubbish, I just read this from the BBC:

That "UK's oil, coal and gas' to be 'gone in five years', what utter rubbish, perhaps the current pits left open will run out of coal, but the myriad of mines closed in the 80's and 90's lots still had coal to extract, the colliery my father worked at, Gedling, in Nottinghamshire.

It closed, and I remember at the time it was a stated fact "There are 100 or more years of coal down there", I don't doubt the UK would chew through 100 years of coal from that one pit in 5 years, but add all the closed mines together, and there's decades if not millennia of coal down there.

And here in Britain our mines never went to extreme depth, they get down to the hundreds of meters sure, but they don't go down to 1km+ very often.  And we have to look to the history here, coal is just fallen tree's and brassica yes, its compressed and over the years the minerals removed the carbon remaining.  But coal comes from a specific period in history when there were no evolved bacteria which could break down wood.

So as tree's fell they lay layer upon layer to build up.

In the interceding few million of millions of years bacteria have evolved which do break down wood and fibrous plant material, hence why coal is deep, because the conditions to form it stopped occurring.  So higher in the Strata you get gas and oil from old sea beds, but no coal from old forests.

Now, if we go deeper, if we open up the mines Britain is sitting pretty, we could also look at extreme deep mineral recovery off of our seabed and the continental shelf out into the Atlantic, France, Belgium & Holland may even be amenable to collaborating in better exploring the North Sea.

The challenge is to open up those mines again though, and retrieve those minerals, and crucially find a way to use them cleanly, such as sulphur & carbon scrubbers on the outlets of power stations (a technology I still hear of as being "new" yet I was taut all about it in GCSE Chemistry - as if it were the future - in 1991).

So, people should word their reports better, there's not 5 years left, there's 5 years of what we're accessing left, we could access more, we could have hundreds of years of fuel, we just have to invest in it, we just have to get at it... And whilst ever its cheaper to drive the stuff on lorries from Russia, or haul it on barges over the oceans that investment will never happen.

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