Saturday, December 24, 2011

What Just Happened? Is Hydrogen Back in the Picture?

The EPA made a politically timed announcement that the Maximum Achievable Clean Technology (MACT) is now in force in the the United States. Under the guise of getting Mercury pollution from nasty coal fired power plants finally under control, the MACT will have impact on about 10 percent of the older coal power plants with 12 percent of the currently operating power plants already meeting the MACT tighter standards. While the Greens strut around proclaiming victory over nasty coal, the MACT seems to endorse clean coal technology, or cleaner coal technology if you prefer.

As usual, the industries that will bear the brunt of the regulation will not be the target mentioned in the media hype. Forestry and pulp products, smaller scale industrial power generation and institutional (university and military) power and thermal plants will have to get out of the power business.

Pulp mills have worked hard the past 20 years to bring emissions under control to meet the demands of encroaching residential property owners that build homes near pulp plants. Hey, the land was cheap for a reason guys.

It is all good, other than the suburban sprawl started the ball rolling. Cleaner emissions generally mean more efficient energy use.

Integrated Gasification combined cycle power generation, the cleaner coal technology, meets the EPA regulations which opens the door to a variety of mixed fuel and synergistic industrial applications. Only problem is, will the small guys feel the boot of big government and be driven out of the picture?

I haven't posted on this blog in quite some time because nothing has happened. MACT may be a big something. With some reasonable assurance that the rules are not going to change for the 50 years or so required to invest in new coal and unconventional fuel technology, the EPA may have unleashed the innovative potential of American entrepreneurs. The tide may have turned!

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