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Monday, March 24, 2008

Dept of Defense, Electricity Generation & Global Warming

AAEA believes the United States needs a program for electricity production that will supplement current efforts to meet our nation's power needs. In addition to a national grid similar to our federal highway system, we also need a massive building program that can meet America's appetite for electricity and transportation fuel. With global warming as the most important environmental issue facing us today, and with unrelenting growth in our electricity demand, we need a coordinated and integrated system for providing this power in an environmentally friendly manner that also creates green jobs.

America needs a public/private partnership that will simultaneously solve all of the problems mentioned above. We need electricity reservations that combine the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), electricity utilities, coal producers and oil companies into consortia that produce electricity from coal and nuclear power, convert carbon dioxide into diesel fuel and gasoline, produce hydrogen, use the separated oxygen for coal-fired oxy-combustion and reprocess/recycle nuclear waste - all in a closed loop system. Ten reservations strategically located around the nation producing 100,000 megawatts of electricity without releasing any greenhouse gases would provide a needed supplement to the planned rennaisance in nuclear power plant construction and pending national global warming laws. We are involving DOD to satisfy security issues related to reprocessing spent nuclear fuel. Such a reservation would also satisfy the combined goals of the Department of Energy's FutureGen and Nuclear Power 2010 programs. The technical processes are described below.

Nuclear plants will operate next to coal plants that use pure oxygen combustion in the firebox to reduce the volume of stack gases. A scrubber would still be needed for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury (Selective Catalytic Reducer). The nuclear plant (Pebble Bed Modular Reactor, Gen IV) is used to produce hydrogen via electrolysis (or high temperature electrolysis) or the sulfur-iodine cycle that will be piped away to produce fuel cells. The oxygen from the electrolysis process will be piped to the coal plant for use in the firebox. The hydrogen will also be mixed onsite with carbon dioxide from the coal plant stack in a water to gas shift to produce carbon monoxide, which will then be mixed with hydrogen using the gas to water shift in the Fischer-Tropsch process to produce a synthetic petroleum product (diesel fuel or gasoline). These processes need very high temperatures of about 900 degrees Celsius.

So carbon dioxide will be used from the coal plant to make a vehicle fuel while an adjacent nuclear plant will produce hydrogen for fuel cell production and oxygen for the coal plant firebox. The oxygen from the electrolysis will be used in the coal firebox to reduce the volume of emission gases by 80 percent, which represents nitrogen in the air. Excess carbon dioxide and CO2 from maintenance down times will be piped for sequestration. There will be little to no CO2 emitted from the coal plant because the gas will be used to make vehicle fuel. There will be CO2 released from vehicle use but these emissions would occur anyway from vehicle use.

We are still studying the energy penalties for these processes and the economics. We also believe that the transportation fuel should be used by the military with any excess sold in the marketplace. If you have any input we would appreciate it. In the Fischer-Tropsch model pictured above the coal would be replaced with carbon dioxide. (Additional Source: Ken Schultz)

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