Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Texas Tar Sands

Canada and Venezuela aren't the only places in the world with significant volumes of tar sands. Turns out there is a fair amount underneath ranch lands in south Texas. http://www.osti.gov/energycitations/product.biblio.jsp?osti_id=6064076

I used to work for an environmental consulting company, and the majority of the work that I did was around helping petrochemical facilities obtain or amend air quality permits so they could begin construction on large capital projects. According to some of my sources there are a number of resource developers looking to begin extracting tar sands from Texas. Their current proposed method is to build a large network of relatively small (300 MW or so) solid fuel power plants to produce the steam needed to extract the tar sands. It will be a very interesting policy battle to follow coming up regarding using coal and/or petroleum coke fuels, which produce large amounts of carbon, to attempt to reduce our nation's dependence on imported oil.

There is no such thing as a free lunch...

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