Where others turn up their noses or launch protest actions when it comes to coal, Michael Bong goes into raptures. The fifth generation farmer is happy about his giant neighbor, the lignite power plant Niederaußem. His fields and greenhouses are only about a mile from the plant, the second largest in Germany. The man, mid-40s, is called a “beautiful location advantage”. For he heats his tomatoes in a greenhouse and the rhubarb on the field with warm water from the power plant.
In his fields here in the Rhineland west of Cologne Bong can reap five weeks before the competition, in the greenhouse throughout the year. The waste heat he gets low on power plant operators RWE and saves an estimated several thousand euros in heating costs per year. Exactly, he has not been calculated yet. But business is so good that Bong wants to expand. Soon an asparagus field comes to including huge, coal-fired “underfloor heating”, he says.
The plans by RWE to extend from 2017 Niederaußem him come in quite handy. Also, the Essen-based company is pleased with the purchaser of the heat that would otherwise escape unused into the atmosphere. Finally, the new block BoAplus to be “a showcase” for environmentally and climate-friendly electricity, promises the utility.
share of coal in the energy must decrease strongly
But farmer bong and RWE engineers are with their enthusiasm for the Coal quite alone. The 1.5 billion expensive project BoAplus, on the technologies, the Group researches for decades, could be a dead end for the utility – as hardly any fossil fuels is currently controversial than the coal
The carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-fired power plants heats up the air. No fossil fuels causes per kilowatt hour of electricity more of the greenhouse gas. Should not the Earth to warm by more than two degrees, the share of coal in the energy mix would drop dramatically (see chart). In addition, environmental organizations coal chalk in Germany alone to health in the billions. And they lose their most important fans: China, the world’s largest consumer of the raw material wants to put more because of the devastating air pollution from coal power plants to nuclear power and renewable energy. In the United States goes in the next few years, according to forecasts one quarter of the power plants from the mains, partly because President Barack Obama is planning stringent climate protection targets.
Currently, coal produces about 40 percent of electricity worldwide, making it the number one in this area – yet. The analyst Elad Jelasko by the rating agency Standard & amp; Poor’s of London recently summarized the situation as follows: “King Coal may soon lose his crown.” Conversely, this means: Will they have a future, they must be clean. But is that even possible?
1000 tonnes of lignite per hour
If you want to answer this question, you must go to Niederaußem. Here are the technologies for coal-fired power plant of the future in the test, there decides how clean coal can be at a reasonable cost and what place they will occupy in the future energy mix.
3000 signatures against the construction in Niederaußem ecologist collected. In addition, growing to satisfy the hunger of the power plant, the Garzweiler II. 1,600 people have resettled. Up to 1000 tonnes of brown coal alone would BoAplus eat – per hour.