peak coal

Trends in U.S. recoverable coal supply estimates and future production outlooks

Publication date:
2010-09-01
First published in:
Natural Resources Research
Authors:
M. Höök, K. Aleklett
Abstract:

The geological coal resource of the U.S. is abundant and proved coal reserves are listed as the world’s largest. However, the reserves are unevenly distributed and located in a small number of states, giving them major influence over future production. A long history of coal mining provides detailed time series of production and reserve estimates, which can be used to identify historical trends. In reviewing the historical evolution of coal reserves, one can state that the trend here does not point towards any major increases in available recoverable reserves; rather the opposite is true due to restrictions and increased focus on environmental impacts from coal extraction. Future coal production will not be entirely determined by what is geologically available, but rather by the fraction of that amount that is practically recoverable. Consequently, the historical trend towards reduced recoverable amounts is likely to continue into the future, with even stricter regulations imposed by increased environmental concern.

Long-term outlooks can be created in many ways, but ultimately the production must be limited by recoverable volumes since coal is a finite resource. The geologic amounts of coal are of much less importance to future production than the practically recoverable volumes. The geological coal supply might be vast, but the important question is how large the share that can be extracted under present restrictions are and how those restrictions will develop in the future. Production limitations might therefore appear much sooner than previously expected.

Published in: Natural Resources Research, Volume 19, Issue 3, September 2010, Pages 189-208
Available from: Global Energy Systems or SpringerLink

Estimating coal production peak and trends of coal imports in China

Publication date:
2010-01-01
First published in:
Energy Policy
Authors:
B.Q. Lin, J.H. Liu
Abstract:

More than 20 countries in the world have already reached a maximum capacity in their coal production (peak coal production) such as Japan, the United Kingdom and Germany. China, home to the third largest coal reserves in the world, is the world's largest coal producer and consumer, making it part of the Big Six. At present, however, China's coal production has not yet reached its peak. In this article, logistic curves and gaussian curves are used to predict China's coal peak and the results show that it will be between the late 2020s and the early 2030s. Based on the predictions of coal production and consumption, China's net coal import could be estimated for coming years. This article also analyzes the impact of China's net coal import on the international coal market, especially the Asian market, and on China's economic development and energy security.

Published in: Energy Policy, Volume 38, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 512-519
Available from: ScienceDirect

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

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

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