Poorly planned or managed coal seam gas (CSG) exploration or extraction activities pose considerable risks to both groundwater and surface water systems. Key water quality issues, from my own perspective, are listed below. Specific issues may be of greater or lesser significance for particular projects, but all of these issues should be thoroughly and transparently assessed for all proposed (or existing) projects.
Coallercoaster: As U.S. coal production drops, international demand rises
According to a recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the number of new and reactivated coal mines in the U.S. hit a 10-year low in 2013 — down nearly 67 percent from 2008. Total coal production in the U.S. was also down during the same time period. The drop was driven by a number of factors, including regulatory pressure, reduced investment, shifting demand toward natural gas and renewables and weak exports. Overall, the total number of coal mines in the U.S. also declined,...
Organic pollution removal from coke plant wastewater using coking coal
Coke plant wastewater (CPW) is an intractable chemical wastewater, and it contains many toxic pollutants. This article presents the results of research on a semi-industrial adsorption method of coking wastewater treatment. As a sorbent, the coking coal (CC) was a dozen times less expensive than active carbon. The treatment was conducted within two scenarios, as follows: (1) adsorption after biological treatment of CPW with CC at 40 g L−1; the chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal was 75.66%, and the...
Recycling of coal seam gas-associated water using vacuum membrane distillation
Coal seam gas-associated water (CSGAW), which is a by-product of coal seam gas (CSG) production typically contains significant amounts of salts and has potential environmental issues. In this study, we optimized a bench-scale vacuum membrane distillation (VMD) process with flat-sheet hydrophobic polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membranes for the treatment of synthetic CSGAW (conductivity = 15 mS/cm). To study performance of the VMD process, we explored the effects of feed temperature (Tf = 60, 70, and 80°C), feed...
The Great Transition – Closing Coal Plants
We may wake up one morning in the not-too-distant future and realize that the world has reached a tipping point on coal. So concludes the Earth Policy Institute in Chapter 3 of its upcoming report entitled The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy. Use of this fuel will be declining worldwide, as it already is in many countries. Coal accounts for some 40 percent of global electricity generation. Natural gas accounts for 22 percent, hydroelectric power provides 16 percent, nuclear...
Difficult Complex Decisions For Coal-fired Power Plant Operators
Changing fuel prices, government regulations and technology all combine to make decision making difficult for operators and developers of coal-fired power generation facilities around the world. Power plant designers in developing countries face new local environmental regulations plus additional requirements stipulated by lenders such as the World Bank. In the developed world, the regulations keep getting tougher. So operators must not only deal with the current round of upgrades but the next round as well. Rece...