What About Coal?

As the oil runs out, what about coal? Optimists imagine that higher energy prices will make it economic to exploit those high-sulphur, hard-to-extract, impure coal deposits enough to last us another 200 years. However, the giant machines needed to mine coal consume 757.08 litres (0.99 cubic yard) of diesel fuel an hour. If you can’t get back more energy than you spend mining, processing and transporting the coal, no matter how high the price of coal climbs, mining coal is still not an economically viable proposition. According to John Gever in  Beyond Oil: The Threat to Food and Fuel in the Coming Decades, if current trends continue, by 2040, it will cost $1.00 to extract every $0.50 worth of energy from coal. This means coal will buy us only a few more decades. Further, coal it is about the worst fuel imaginable when it comes to greenhouse and toxic gas emissions.

~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:69)