coal reserves

Forecasting coal production until 2100

Publication date:
2009-02-21
First published in:
Fuel
Authors:
S.H. Mohr, G.M. Evans
Abstract:

A model capable of projecting mineral resources production has been developed. The model includes supply and demand interactions, and has been applied to all coal producing countries. A model of worldwide coal production has been developed for three scenarios. The ultimately recoverable resources (URR) estimates used in the scenarios ranged from 700 Gt to 1243 Gt. The model indicates that worldwide coal production will peak between 2010 and 2048 on a mass basis and between 2011 and 2047 on an energy basis. The Best Guess scenario, assumed a URR of 1144 Gt and peaks in 2034 on a mass basis, and in 2026 on an energy basis.

Published in: Fuel, Volume 88, Issue 11, November 2009, Pages 2059-2067
Available from: ScienceDirect

Coal-to-Liquids: Potential Impact on U.S. Coal Reserves

Publication date:
2009-06-01
First published in:
Natural Resources Research
Authors:
R.C. Milici
Abstract:

The production of liquid fuels from coal will very likely become an important part of the hydrocarbon energy mix of the future, provided that technical and environmental obstacles are overcome economically. The coal industry should be able to handle a coal-to-liquids (CTL) industry of modest size, using 60–70 million short tons or 54–64 million metric tonnes of coal per annum, without premature depletion of the country’s coal reserves. However, attempts to use CTL technology to replace all petroleum imports would deplete the nation’s coal reserves by the end of the century.

Published in: Natural Resources Research, Volume 18, Number 2, Pages 85-94
Available from: SpringerLink

Potential for Coal-to-Liquids Conversion in the U.S.-Resource Base

Publication date:
2009-05-22
First published in:
Natural Resources Research
Authors:
G.D. Croft, T.W. Patzek
Abstract:

By applying the multi-Hubbert curve analysis to coal production in the United States, we demonstrate that anthracite production can be modeled with a single Hubbert curve that extends to the practical end of commercial production of this highest-rank coal. The production of bituminous coal from existing mines is about 80% complete and can be carried out at the current rate for the next 20 years. The production of subbituminous coal from existing mines can be carried out at the current rate for 40–45 years. Significant new investment to extend the existing mines and build new ones would have to commence in 2009 to sustain the current rate of coal production, 1 billion tons per year, in 2029. In view of the existing data, we conclude that there is no spare coal production capacity of the size required for massive coal conversion to liquid transportation fuels. Our analysis is independent of other factors that will prevent large-scale coal liquefaction projects: the inefficiency of the process and either emissions of greenhouse gases or energy cost of sequestration.

Published in: Natural Resources Research, article in press
Available from: SpringerLink

Historical trends in American coal production and a possible future outlook

Publication date:
2009-04-01
First published in:
International Journal of Coal Geology
Authors:
M. Höök, K. Aleklett
Abstract:

The United States has a vast supply of coal, with almost 30% of world reserves (BP, 2008) and more than 1600 Gt (short) as remaining coal resources (Ruppert et al., 2002). The US is also the world’s second largest coal producer after China and annually produces more than twice as much coal as India, the third largest producer (BP, 2008). The reserves are concentrated in a few states, giving them a major influence on future production. Historically many states have also shown a dramatic reduction in recoverable coal volumes and this has been closely investigated. Current recoverable estimates may also be too high, especially if further restrictions are imposed. The average calorific value of US coals has decreased from 29.2 MJ/kg in 1950 to 23.6 MJ/kg in 2007 as U.S. production moved to subbituminous western coals (Annual Energy Review, 2007). This has also been examined in more detail. This study also uses established analysis methods from oil and gas production forecasting, such as Hubbert linearization and logistic curves, to create some possible future outlooks for U.S. coal production. In one case, the production stabilizes at 1400 Mt annually and remains there until the end of the century, provided that Montana dramatically increases coal output. The second case, which ignores mining restrictions, forecasts a maximum production of 2500 Mt annually by the end of the century.

Published in: International Journal of Coal Geology, Volume 78, Issue 3, May 2009, Pages 201-216
Available from: ScienceDirect
also available from: Global Energy Systems

Expert: Coal Reserve Estimates Way Too High

Publication date:
2008-12-19
First published in:
Seeking Alpha
Authors:
Michael Kanellos
Abstract:

Government agencies have estimated that there is about 850 billion to 998 billion tons of coal in the ground that can be economically recoverable.

Not so, says David Rutledge, the Kiyo and Eiko Tomiyasu Professor of Engineering at Caltech, who has done his own estimates and showed them off this week at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

Rutledge estimates that the Earth had only 662 billion tons of recoverable coal in the first place and around 59 percent of the total remains. Thus, the real estimate of existing reserves is closer to 400 billion tons. (The earth, he added, contained the equivalent of 1 trillion tons of oil before the industrial age began.) He came to the conclusion by analyzing production data, similar to how M. King Hubbert in 1956 predicted U.S. oil production would peak in 1970. It peaked in 1971.

That number, to some degree, is good news for the renewable power industry. Nearly 400 tons of coal would be enough to provide electricity for decades. It would also add huge amounts of pollution to the atmosphere. Still, it makes a peak for coal more tangible and realistic and thus can prompt policy makers and investors to take even more interest in things like solar thermal power or nuclear...

Published in: Seeking Alpha, 19 December 2008
Available from: Seeking Alpha

World Coal Reserves Could Be a Fraction of Previous Estimates

Publication date:
2008-12-17
First published in:
Wired Science
Authors:
Alexis Madrigal
Abstract:

A new calculation of the world's coal reserves is much lower than previous estimates. If validated, the new info could have a massive impact on the fate of the planet's climate.

That's because coal is responsible for most of the CO2 emissions that drive climate change. If there were actually less coal available for burning, climate modelers would have to rethink their estimates of the level of emissions that humans will produce.

The new model, created by Dave Rutledge, chair of Caltech's engineering and applied sciences division, suggests that humans will only pull up a total — including all past mining — of 662 billion tons of coal out of the Earth. The best previous estimate, from the World Energy Council, says that the world has almost 850 billion tons of coal still left to be mined.

"Every estimate of the ultimate coal resource has been larger," said ecologist Ken Caldeira of Stanford University, who was not involved with the new study. "But if there's much less coal than we think, that's good news for climate."...

Published in: Wired Science, 17 December 2008
Available from: Wired Science

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