Can brown coal be put to better use?

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Angela Helleren
Posts: 96
Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 6:45 am
Location: Victoria

Can brown coal be put to better use?

Postby Angela Helleren » Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:51 am

An ABC TV report last night (may have been on Stateline) showed scientists have been trying to find better ways to extract water from brown coal ... I missed most of the segment but was surprised that there was such a high moisture content so I did a little research.

What is Brown Coal?

Coal is formed when plant material is subjected to high temperatures and pressures lasting millions of years. Several stages are involved in the formation of coal. These are:
Plant material, wood
Brown coal (lignite)
Black coal (sub-bituminous, bituminous and anthracite)

Each successive stage has a lower water content and a higher energy content. This means that when the same quantity of each material is burnt, a greater amount of heat is released for each successive stage.

Victorian brown coal is brown in color and its texture is like woody soil. It contains more moisture than coal.

Victorian brown coal has a high moisture content. It can contain up to 70 per cent water. This high moisture content makes long distance transportation uneconomic. Brown coals have no export value in the raw state.

Read on at ... 6&item=278

This got me thinking, rather than burning brown coal and releasing the greenhousegases that had been sequested by plant materials over millions of years, could brown coal be used in agriculture especially regions where the land is so degregated?

So I googled again and found that trials have been conducted in a vineyard in the Yarra Valley, Vic.

Effects of brown coal derived materials on pH and electrical conductivity of an acidic vineyard soil

Report - ... mbufea.htm

Their Conclusion

Results from this field trial showed that commercial coal derived K-humate (18% K-humate and 26% K-humate) and Casulmag products are effective for use in ameliorating soil acidity, and for increasing the level of beneficial cations such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium in the soil.

Does it need to be derived materials? Why not by the base load? :)
Many hands make light work.
Unfortunately, too many hands stirring anti clockwise, has spoiled mother natures recipe.
Back to basics.

Posts: 167
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:50 am
Location: melbourne

Postby ColinJEly » Fri Jul 25, 2008 12:50 pm

Firstly we need to build the Nuclear Power Stations we should have built 20 years ago! If you are familiar with Melbourne, there is the Dandenong South 'Offensive Industries Zone'. That is where you put all those smelly factories you dont want over your back fence. It is very close to the South East Purification Plant, so an unlimited supply of treated water for cooling, and you are very close to a major city so you can hook up to the grid.
Having done all this you can get all the water out of the LaTrobe Valley brown coal, and use the remaining carboniferous products to enrich the soil. Simple!

Angela Helleren
Posts: 96
Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 6:45 am
Location: Victoria

Postby Angela Helleren » Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:22 am

Sorry Colin but I don't agree with your wish for nuclear power. Apart from the fact that uranium deposits will be exhausted in 20 years, nuclear has the dirtiest radioactive waste material of all. After 50 years the US nuclear industry is still unable to find a suitable means to store the waste for the next 450,000 half life years. My grandchildren don't need to grow up in a nuclear waste dump.

Renewable energy sources and NSF are a far better environmental mix.

Imagine if all the funding that pollutors have been getting over the years had been spent on developing/installing truely clean power. The fuel itself is free, only infrastructure/maintenance cost.

I'm tired of waiting for governments to act and have my money in geothermal projects but also support windpower and solar as our hope of giving our grandchildren a healthy sustainable future . :wink:
Many hands make light work.

Unfortunately, too many hands stirring anti clockwise, has spoiled mother natures recipe.

Back to basics.

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