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December 1, 2009

December Chementator briefs

Gerald Ondrey

Osmotic power; Chlorine production; direct polymerization; and more...

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Comments (1) for December Chementator briefs
I am surprised to see the apparent credibility given to several of these proposed technologies, and especially the claims for value or viability. It seems that any wild idea for "alternative energy" gets a free ride. For instance, the "Power of Osmosis". There is no discussion of how stream or river water gets up to >12 bar (12 atmospheres, 180 psi) in order to drive the flow of clean water thru the membrane. That ain't free, nor is it cheap. I'd wager that the turbine on the salt side is more costly and the whole RO system is extraneous - why not just use the pressurized river water to "run" the turbine? Similarly for the BlueFire Ethanol process. Biomass, even or especially pres-sorted municipal solid waste, isn't free, and takes a lot of space and energy to get to the point it can be put into the hydrolysis reactor. I designed a process to deliver such material - it requires acres of ground, a pretty extensive infrastructure, there are enormous odor and emissions issues, sorting, grinding, etc. The pre-processing is a large fraction of the total operating and capital cost, yet no mention of it - as if it is free and just lying there! Or the Huber sewage sludge incineration: The flow-sheet would lead one to believe that this is a closed energy cycle (ignoring delivery and dewatering of the sludge from 4& solids to 25% solids). The dryer is a huge user of energy, and no dryer is all that efficient (see the article on p.25), plus flue-gas cleaning is not energy neutral. What happened to looking at the whole process, not at just one or a handful of selected and isolated unit ops? this is either politically motivated or sloppy journalism.
Posted by B Bullough on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 @ 02:05 PM

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