Brown coal into hydrogen: Aussie PM Malcolm Turnbull's dumbest idea. Ever.

The PM seems certain to start on pole position ahead of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un at the World’s Most Scientifically Illiterate Leader Grand Slam in Victoria...

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The report is about how the Australian government cannot even get the most obvious future transport fuel right.

At a quiet press event on April 12, the Prime Mincer, Minister for Harbourside mansions and man who could never be Winston Churchill but seems unafraid to try, Malcolm Turnbullshit, and his entourage, proved what a spectacularly bad idea it is to form a scientifically illiterate government.

Let me explain.

Lignite >> is the world’s filthiest common fuel - you probably know it as brown coal. It’s compressed peat - essentially dirt that burns. It has a super-low heating value and a staggeringly high water content. It’s filthy and low yielding, basically. And we have heaps of it in ‘Straya - yesssss!

Mr Turnbillshit was grinding his organ yesterday at the corner penthouse of Brown Coal Central, Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, together with the feral treasurer and former minister for treating refugees like nothing more than human garbage, Scott Morrison. (Personal opinion.) Also present at this event were some empty corporate suits from AGL and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, plus Victoria’s Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford.

In overdrive: Kawasaki's bullshit machine >>

EPIC BULLSHITTERS CONVENIENTLY MISSING THE POINT

 This is what an environmental disaster looks like: Latrobe Valley brown coal mine

This is what an environmental disaster looks like: Latrobe Valley brown coal mine

All these people have two things in common, in my view: They could not tell their arses from their elbows in the domain of basic science, and of course they are epically talented bullshitters. Just what the country needs.

This, I assume, is why they say it’s such a good idea to turn the world’s filthiest fuel into hydrogen … for $500 million. And export it to Japan. Because that’s the crackpot plan.

For this staggering pilot project cost - half a billion big ones - we’ll be producing (quote-unquote) “up to” three tonnes of hydrogen in what the scientifically illiterate bigwigs are collectively calling a (quote-unquote) “world first pilot project”. That’s some pretty expensive hydrogen, and some world-class bullshit...

Small point of order, on this ‘world-first’ business: The human race has been converting coal into hydrogen and other gasses since about 1850. So that’s roughly 170 years too late to claim “world-first” status in point of scientific fact. More on coal gassification >>

We stopped doing this filthy conversion process in the 1960s because natural gas was cheaper and cleaner, and a byproduct of the burgeoning oil industry. So there’s that. Plus, the street lights were electric by then, and the gas was kinda superfluous as a result…

The boss of AGL, Andy Vesey, said:

 Newsflash, Mr Vesey: Brown coal cannot be clean, irrespective of the bullshit spin and the end use application. Suggesting it is simply bullshit

Newsflash, Mr Vesey: Brown coal cannot be clean, irrespective of the bullshit spin and the end use application. Suggesting it is simply bullshit

"As we transition to cleaner technologies this project may spark a reinvigoration of Latrobe Valley’s energy industry by generating a competitive edge in a new market." - AGL boss Andy Vesey

Painting this project in three coats of clean, is just … I don’t know how Mr Vesey can tolerate his own reflection. Perhaps he does not have one.

ULTIMATE ENVIRO-FILTH?

 People will say: That's only steam. I'd suggest: Think harder. What about the energy used to create it to drive the process?

People will say: That's only steam. I'd suggest: Think harder. What about the energy used to create it to drive the process?

This coal-to-gas business is a filthy, energy-intensive process. You need to pulverise the coal and blow it into a high-pressure chamber at several hundred degrees C. It’s actually like 700-1100 degrees - which is a lot hotter than you need for a conventional Sunday roast.

This vessel to turn coal into gas needs to be full of superheated steam and a little oxygen. That turns the coal into a mixture of hydrogen gas and carbon-monoxide, a deadly poison. The mixture is called syngas.

You can then convert the carbon monoxide to CO2 by heating the whole thing up again to about 360 degree C with even more superheated steam.

More on steam reforming >>

So, dumbing this down to the point where the even most scientifically illiterate organ grinding PM would get it - maybe - every kilo of hydrogen you produce in this way also makes about 20 kilos of CO2, because that’s just how hydrocarbons roll.

That’s not including the CO2 produced in making the energy you use to drive the process, which is also astoundingly high. So these sideshow clowns were not really announcing a $500 million “world-first” project to make “up to” three tonnes of hydrogen.

So I put it to you that bozo and his troupe of un-funny entertainers actually announced a $500 million project to manufacture 60 tonnes of CO2 - at least 60 tonnes. And the only “world first” aspect to this whole sad state of affairs is that it’s a world-first in terms of breathtaking environmental stupidity.

And then we’re going to export the hydrogen to Japan because, hey, why use the only ‘clean’ output of the project here in our fine nation when we are so stocked up on filthy energy?

 Future fuel fool and wannabe Winston Churchill, Malcolm Turnbull is specacularly wrong if he thinks this is a good idea.

Future fuel fool and wannabe Winston Churchill, Malcolm Turnbull is specacularly wrong if he thinks this is a good idea.

The Organ Grinder in Chief said:

“It’s amazing to think brown coal here in Victoria will be keeping the lights on in Japan.” - PM Malcolm Turnbull

Yes, Prime Minister. It is. Amazing. Astounding. Absurd. Horrifying. Indefensible. Ridiculous. Disgraceful. Morally bankrupt. You do know how absurd this looks, to anyone who paid even vestigial attention in science classes at school, right?

You’re a banker. Rhymes with ‘wanker’. But some of us actually learned about stuff that makes society better.

Local ABC News in Victoria did an ace job sucking up to the project >>

Now I’d like to talk to you, if you are a climate-change denying moron. I’d suggest that it’s still very hard indeed to get behind an industrial process that has among its key byproducts: Coal tar, volatile organics, polycyclic aromatics, heavy metals and cyanide - essentially the ‘who’s who’ of things not to sprinkle on the kids’ breakfast… Accept it, however: Climate change is real >>

In the manner of the highly trained monkey dancing to the beat, former child actor Scott Morrison said:

 I'd rather wash myself in a bath full of brown snakes than let Scott Morrison near anything that mattered

I'd rather wash myself in a bath full of brown snakes than let Scott Morrison near anything that mattered

"We've got $100 million going to that project over the next four years, we're investing in jobs in the Latrobe Valley."
- Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison

You know this is, like, paying way over the odds for up to three tonnes of hydrogen, right? I know for a fact you could build a wind and PV-powered 50 megawatt electrolyser for $600 million and that would deliver 20 tonnes of hydrogen every day with no CO2 output and no deadly poisons.

That plan was announced by the South Australian Labour Government shortly before it lost the recent election. But of course the PM would never grind his organ anywhere near a good idea suggested by the other team… This is of course why people cannot stand politicians.

You know why a great white shark has never eaten a politician? Professional courtesy.

(Let’s be crystal, however, that I am not a lefty hack - I lean further right than left, but over-archingly I have unmitigated disrespect for both sides of politics. And the greens. All equally arseholes. Nor am I a hydrocarbon hater - here's the proof >>

CARBON CAPTURE MAKES IT OK? REALLY?

 Just remember: CO2 has never been successfully captured, despite a $1.3 billion attempt

Just remember: CO2 has never been successfully captured, despite a $1.3 billion attempt

Perhaps I am being unfair on this. Carbon capture spin doctors say say we can simply collect the carbon dioxide and store it underground in the voids left behind from previously exploited gas reservoirs on the floor of Bass Strait. They say this makes the process clean and cost-effective.

Some weapons-grade BS on this >>

In fact, the Government has already squandered $1.3 billion in botched carbon capture projects, with no return on that investment. So if you believer we’ll just pump the CO2 under the ocean and forget about it, perhaps I can offer you a killer deal on the Sydney Harbour Bridge…

Because in the fine print of this carbon capture business, it’s definitely worth pointing out that this ‘technology’ (probably the wrong word) anyway, they haven’t actually done it yet. So the ‘carbon capture’/’sequestration’ part of the organ grinder’s routine yesterday also qualifies in my view as nothing more than convenient empty rhetoric orbiting planet pie in the sky. Bullshit, by any other name.

WHAT ABOUT THE SUN, SON?

 Sunlight: We're awash in it. Isn't it amazing what politicians don't know

Sunlight: We're awash in it. Isn't it amazing what politicians don't know

Everything required to electrolyse water with solar electricity and/or wind is here now. It’s a done deal. And our fine nation with vermin on its Coat of Arms, including all the busted-arse tick-haven scrub that I can view from the palace of my castle here in shitsville on a clear day, is bathed in sunlight. One kilowatt for every square metre.

In fact, incident sunlight on planet earth delivers 15-to-20-thousand times the hydrocarbon power requirements of humanity. The earth is awash in free energy, and drowning in water.

To Mr Turnbullshit I would say: remove your hand from your over-enthusiastically ground organ, and leave the monkey be (that’s Volkswagen’s job in any case). We already have all the ingredients we need in ‘Straya to be a clean energy superpower.

Therefore, stop literally brown-nosing the vested interests behind the filthiest fuel on the planet and get renewable hydrogen out of the blocks. Stop being breathtakingly imbecilic when it comes to anything scientific.

I'm not the only one who thinks doing this is a joke >>

Let me put this in terms even a politician can understand: Malcolm: Do you want history to declare you a visionary in the mould of Jack Lang, or just another socially disconnected, up-himself wealthy banker/wanker? It’s up to you.

Scientifically literate people vote, too.

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