Monday, 30 April 2018

We are the World Blogfest ... # 13 - South Africans leading the way to help power Africa ...




I spotted this article ... how 'Clean Coal could help power Africa' - South Africa is leading the way ... Witswaterand (Ridge of White Waters) University in Jo'burg has a Sustainable Coal Research Group ....

c/o Daily Maverick
c/o Clean Coal is the Way Forward

Professor Rosemary Falcon (see article) together with chemical engineer Dr Nandi Malumbazo from Wits, Dr Samson Bada from Nigeria, along with Dr Jacob Masiala from the Congo are working on ways to get the lights on in Africa and keep the air clean.


The Professor can tell where coal comes from ... each continent and country will have a different recipe of minerals and fossil matter ... 


Southern Africa: The mustard colour is where coal is found ...
the other colours denote other type of rocks.
NB these rocks were deposited in a vast inland lake
or sea ... when Africa was part of Gondwana land
See Wiki

... South African coal was formed at the end of an ice age burning longer and at a high temperature - while the coal in North America came from hot steamy swamps and burns rapidly.


South African coal burns so hot that it would melt a European industrial boiler ... that made me sit up and think ...


... the challenge, which these academics are addressing, is to get the coal to a stage at the mine to be appropriate for its subsequent use, or build equipment and plants designed for each coal type ...


Africa's use of coal is growing rapidly as demand for energy grows ... and this research aims to produce 'clean coal' from the mine ... i.e. taking away the bits that will not help the burn, but leave fewer fumes, more heat and a better burn ...


I just found the article so interesting ... with all the talk being against coal ... their research seems like a positive way forward for Africa - but very possibly for other countries around the world.


Wits have proved that clean coal is not only possible, but among the cheapest ways to generate electricity on a continent where more than half the population of 1.24 billion Africans live without power ...


...  yet they have the same aspirations as every person in the Western World, China and Russia ... they should have electricity on tap ... to run their lives, as well as to power water, cities, factories, mines, schools and hospitals ...


... electricity is just not an ethical issue, it's the key to security and growth ... both in Africa and other parts of the world ... something we need to encourage Wits' work ...

We are the World ...
in darkness, be light






... and what an appropriate post for our maxim for this monthly blogfest that we participate in #WATWB

We are the World - In Darkness, Be Light

I'm linking to my U for Union Bay post in the A-Z as it features the development of coal on Vancouver Island ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Story

54 comments:

Joanne said...

very interesting. I think any fuel can serve a purpose as long as it is used correctly. Scientists and engineers keep arriving at new solutions.
So good!

Denise Covey said...

Hey Hilary! You've finished the A-Z! Wow! I haven't read many of your posts but I will work my way through them. Been busy with WEP this month as you know.

Yes, I know there are different types of coal. Oz has clean coal and also some less clean brown coal. We export our clean coal overseas so others can have their lights burning, but our government is phasing out coal (even though Oz is built on it...it's everywhere!) and moving into renewables. At this early stage, moving away from coal too soon, the lights often go out in some big cities.

Our home is completely off grid with solar, batteries and 2 wind turbines on our roof. How cool is that?

Thanks so much for your post Hilary.

Denise x

Elephant's Child said...

We have some clean coal here, as Denise flagged in the comment above. However I believe that it is much more expensive to build clean coal facilities. I see that expense as an investment though.
And hooray for renewables. And questioning minds.

Patsy said...

Clean coal sounds better than the dirty sort – but extracting it must still cause environmental damage and burning it still pollute? It will run out too. It seems a shame that investment and development isn't focussed on sustainable sources such as solar (I don't just mean in Africa, but everywhere).

Susan Scott said...

Nice to see Wits on the map Hilary! We're moving into renewable energy with all the sunshine we have and already there are wind farms dotted all around our country. The Russian -Zuma nuclear deal was stopped by 2 SA women ...
Congratulations on your all posts and for finishing!!! One more to go (Reflections!)

Jo said...

That's interesting Hilary, clean coal would make quite a difference to many areas of the world. Not heard of it before.

Rhodesia said...

You have done it again. Education seems to follow you around. I never knew SA coal was hotter !!! Clean coal would be great for the many places in Africa that do not have electricity, Have a good week, Diane

Deborah Weber said...

What an interesting post Hilary. Cleaner hotter coal, formed under different conditions than North American coal - how fascinating.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Joanne - thankfully scientists and engineers manage to find different approaches to difficulties ... thanks for popping in ...

@ Denise - yes ... A-Z done and I know you've been doing WEP - just couldn't get my head into it - next time I'll be there ...

Interesting about your coal - and I know your govt is looking at its energy sources ... I do hope it doesn't mess the environment up and makes some sensible choices re renewables.

Good for you for being completely off grid = clever hubby - very cool I'd say! Thanks for coming by ...

@ EC - you've confirmed Denise's comment - I think the research and investment could well be a really good idea for Africa and Australia. I hope renewables will come into their own - as questioning minds continue their research ...

@ Patsy - solar energy does seem to be the way to go - it's the battery life that needs to be addressed. Coal extraction, solar placement and any work will disrupt the environment ... it's a challenge to find the best way forward for us all ...

@ Susan - thanks .. thought you'd like the Wits bit! Yes SA with its sun should be able to supply a degree of energy ... and the research facilities in SA are very good - despite the Zuma-Russian desires ... thank goodness for your two women stopping the nuclear deal.

@ Jo - clean coal could make a huge difference ... and I was interested in the article - which tied in with my Union Bay coal for my U post this year ...

@ Diane - I enjoy picking up and noting odds and ends - and I certainly hadn't considered different types of coal and how each would burn: logical, but I'd never thought that way ... I hope they get the clean coal project organised for Africa ...

@ Deborah - yes I was fascinated by the different coals in the two continents ... I expect Aussie coal is different again ...

Thanks so much for being here - now I must visit other #WATWB posters ... cheers Hilary

Kali Delamagente said...

Congrats to South Africa! It is the way of the future and no longer an impossible expensive approach to coal mining. I know it's the rage over here, too.

Mary Giese said...

Thank you so much for bringing this story to #WATWB. I don't believe many of us know or understand what it would be like to live without electricity...no ovens or microwaves, no coffee pot, no TV...everything we take for granted. I hope that many more Africans are given the power of power in the near future. What a difference it would make in their lives.

Sherry Ellis said...

I didn't know there was such a thing as clean coal. Scientist keep improving things.

cleemckenzie said...

This was very interesting, Hilary. Coal that can melt an industrial boiler? I'm really glad to hear some good news from Africa. Very positive, indeed.

Z? Are you finished? Can't believe April is already at the end.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Now I found this interesting, knew none of it till now so thank you

DMS said...

I honestly had no idea that there were different type of coal and that they each burn so differently. Fascinating. This makes sense now that I think about it. I learn so much here. :) Thanks!
~Jess

Liz A. said...

And here I thought "clean coal" was an oxymoron.

Debby Gies said...

Blow me away with a feather. I would never have believed 'clean' and 'coal' would be used in the same sentence. Wonderful share Hilary. I wish you had share buttons. :) Also, note, I never get replies to my comments here, so in case you do, just know I don't receive any notifications. :)

Marcy said...

I'm very much in favor of more light in this world, and for the people of Africa being able to enjoy the blessings of electrical power! Thanks for sharing an interesting article!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jacqui - I was interested to read the article and to know such research was still going on in SA ... it sounds so promising ...

@ Mary - thanks for coming over - I know I sometimes try and think what it'd be like without all our modern conveniences ... I too hope Africa catches up - it'll benefit the world a great deal ...

@ Sherry - it made an interesting read to me ... so thank you ...

@ Lee - I know sometimes the things we're told about amaze me ... and make me look at things in different ways ... and yes, the good news here is so encouraging. Z has been done and duzted!

@ Jo-Anne - delighted to read you found the post interesting ...

@ Jess - nor did I til I read the article, so I often I think why on earth hadn't that occurred to me before ...

@ Liz - yes good ... I guess these two words are an oxymoron ...

@ Debby - sort of surprised me too - hence the post: clean coal ... let's hope it happens.

Thanks re the share buttons - I just do simple, and I reply here ... not via email ... but thank you for wanting me to reply directly ... I'll try and sort something out over the summer ... if things work out ...

@ Marcy - yes we need more light and peace in the world ... helping Africans have an easier life would give them something to aspire to ... and give them a happier time ...

Thank you everyone ... so glad this #WAWTB post has resonated ... cheers Hilary

Pat Hatt said...

That is a lot of people possibly without power, wow. Never knew there were different strengths of coal.

Andrea Ostapovitch said...

I had no idea there were different types of coal in the world, but it makes sense and I'm happy to hear there are people trying to make proper use of it. What an important change it could be for Africa.
Andrea

Sandra Cox said...

Well, this post was an eye opener. I had no idea there were differentials in coal or that there was a clean coal.
Great post, Hilary.

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

Very interesting. And wow, that is a hot coal!

Truedessa said...

That was an interesting article, I am not sure about coal though. The important thing is that science is trying. If it can help bring light to places of darkness then there is hope for the future.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Pat - yes there are a great number of people without power ... so I was so interested to read about this project.

@ Andrea - took me by surprise too - and any help to get Africans powered up will so improve the economy of their families, as too the country ..

@ Sandra - nor did I til I read the article ... which I found really interesting ...

@ Holly - yes some hot coal ...

@ Truedessa - I guess the scientists believe it'll work ... and they're African ... so again let's hope it all comes together ...

Thanks to you all - so glad the article interested you - cheers Hilary

Kalpanaa M said...

I think it's wonderful that research is being done on helping fuel like coal to be more efficient and I'm with the people of Africa in their desire to have electricity. But coal is still coal and Solar energy really is the most sustainable.
I'm fascinated with this new information I gleaned from your blog - about coal that is so high in energy it would melt an industrial boiler. Amazing, isn't it? Thank you for writing this.

DeeDee said...

Thank you Hilary
A Special Shoutout to you

Norah Colvin said...

This is great news, Hilary. I really wouldn't have thought we'd ever have "clean coal" so it's good to read of this research. I hope they are successful.
I agree with you that everyone has the right to power and the opportunities it provides.

Nilanjana Bose said...

More power to them! Any fuel can serve as a vehicle for growth so long as it is eco-friendly. Glad to see work being done on electrifying Africa.

RO said...

I have not heard of this before, and the thought is brilliant, and clearly very well researched. I'm saddened that what I take for granted everyday me is not available to so many in other countries. Everyone has the right to comfort, power and convenience. Thanks so much for continuing to share such valuable information! Hugs...RO

Crystal Collier said...

Can you imagine living without power? That blows my mind. It would definitely be simpler in some ways, and so much harder in others.

The difference in burning temperature... Wow. Here's hoping they are able to implement a clean-burning system.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Kalpanaa - thanks for your comment ... the sun is definitely there to stay we hope! - but the batteries are the challenge at the moment ... as with coal, both are being addressed by the scientists. Just glad to know you enjoyed the post and the information it holds ...

@ DeeDee - good to see you ..

@ Norah - I certainly hope they are moving forward with this research ... it looks like it. And how everyone should have the right to a reasonable life, and thus with the opportunities it provides ...

@ Nila - the sooner Africa can be up and running with power to help their homes and businesses the better everyone will be - as you say ... it is good on the work being done ...

@ RO - I was so interested to read the article ... as you mention it reminds us that we are so lucky to be living as we do today, while others struggle on a daily basis.

@ Crystal - No I can't imagine living without power ... and makes it difficult for us to comprehend on a 24 hour continuous basis. I know I was interested in the different burning temperatures ...

Cheers and thanks so much for coming by for the #WAWTB post ... delighted it interested you all - all the best = Hilary

T. Powell Coltrin said...

We are spoiled in the US. Electricity and available water mean everything to civilization.

T

Chrys Fey said...

Their goal definitely sounds better and it can bring them so much, too.

Elsie Amata said...

It's amazing what we take for granted in the States. What an amazing amount of research they are doing. I truly hope that this can come to fruition. They need to have power that's not only reliable but affordable too.

Elsie

Yolanda Renée said...

How exciting, as long as it's done with the environment in mind, it's a great thing! Wonderful article!

Mark Noce said...

It all depends what someone means by "clean." I figure if you feel comfortable living next to a power plant, it has to be clean:)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Very interesting! It makes sense that coal from different parts of the world would have different characteristics, but I'd never considered it before. The idea of "clean coal" has been floating around for many years, but I'm glad to hear it's becoming a reality. Too bad it's still so dirty and unhealthy for the miners.

David Gascoigne said...

Interesting stuff, Hilary - but I am very suspicious about claims for “clean” coal.

Christine Rains said...

I would have immediately been against coal too, but this sounds fascinating and brings new hope. Thanks for sharing! Have a lovely weekend, Hilary.

dolorah said...

Hi Hilary :) I too have faith that our scientists and inventors will come up with something more eco-friendly. Something has to be done, so it will. I am equally sure there is already something better out there, and all the money makers just have to decide to implement it. World changes are not easy.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Very nice to know about the coal in Africa!

Lynda Dietz said...

What an appropriate and encouraging post, Hilary. Good find for "light-bringing" news!

troutbirder said...

Hoping there is something to it. A bridge to a non carbon future might help.....

Sandra Cox said...

Hilary, hope your weekend is filled with sparkle and sunshine.

Inger said...

I think about Africa often, I've read books about Africa all my life, but I never thought about the lack of electricity there. So glad some bright and thoughful people are working to fix this. And, again, thank you for this. Reading your blog is like going back to school -- in a very good way.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Teresa - yes we in the Western world are very lucky ... I just hope we can make sure everyone in the world has access of some sort ...

@ Chrys - yes it's a good goal isn't it ...and that co-operation gives us all hope ...

@ Elsie - unfortunately we do ... and even in the west we can have droughts. I too hope the research comes to fruition ...

@ Yolanda - it is exciting isn't it - I love the fact that scientists from different countries are working together ...

@ Mark - I think the work they are doing will make it easier for more to have access to electricity and water ... and that will really help so many families ... and the coal will not be so 'dirty' ...

@ Susan - I know I'd never thought of different sorts of coal temperatures; while I certainly hope this research leads to help those in need ... coal will be mined, we may as well ensure it can be mined more effectively and more safely ...

@ David - I can see where you're coming from ... but I'm sure the miners will be pleased to work in better conditions than those they are in now ...

@ Christine - it offers heat, light and water through its energy ... a cleaner approach makes so much sense ...

@ Donna - that's good - I agree our scientists seem to think differently and bring new processes to the world - benefiting many. It's a butterfly process ... the idea/s seeping out ...

@ Monti - thanks ... I am sure it will bring improvements to the mining industry ...

@ Lynda - thanks ... re the "light-bringing" news!! It is encouraging ...

@ Troutbirder - yes me too ... and all research development will help over time ...

@ Sandra - thanks ...

@ Inger - yes ... Africa - me too! We so often don't think about how others are living in the really poor parts of the world - yet scientists and researchers have over time helped to improve life for us all - it just takes forever to reach the poor.

Thanks re the blog reading ... just so glad it's in a good way - that's what I'm aiming for ... posts that people will appreciate and learn from.

Thanks so much everyone - lovely to have your comments ... and to know you all feel that we need to bring light, heat and water to the poorer parts of the world - cheers Hilary

diedre Knight said...

Hi Hilary!

This was outstanding! I'm so glad you shared it. Africa seriously needs a hand-up on things like this.
Have a wonderful week!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Electricity to me is the most basic and important of utilities. I have relatives that live in Congo and they frequently use solar panels to help generate it...but it's tough.

Claire Noland said...

So interesting but wouldn't it be cheaper and cleaner to use solar energy?

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I live in West Virginia and we are a big coal producing state. I remember when I was a kid, there would be the yellow smoke coming from the power plant stacks, but that's now gone with scrubbers in place and such. I'm sure it can be made even better. No sense abandoning it if it can be used to make the lives of people better.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diedre - thanks and delighted you appreciated the information and link ... as you say - Africa needs to get its energy ... so it can have regular light and heating facilities and water ...

@ Elizabeth - I agree ... and you'd realise with your relations living in the Congo - by hearing what they need to keep ahead with ...

@ Claire - the coal is there ... if it can be extracted more cleanly it'd help everyone ... the solar energy, power grids etc infrastructure would need to be set up and probably be liable to damage ... and interruption ...

@ Elizabeth - yes science has definitely helped and continues to do so ... the sulfur has gone, but other particles will be in the grey-white emissions. Glad you can see it can be improved upon ... there's a lot of coal in the world ... and more being built up from peat ... so coal as a source will be around for a while yet ...

Thanks to you four - good to see your interest - cheers Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

It's rather stunning to think some folks are still living without power isn't it?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sandra .. sorry I haven't got back to you earlier ... but yes - to think we still have such poverty, appalling treatment of women and so many people addicted to hate and negativity ... I really did think the world would be different in the 2,000s ... cheers Hilary