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Renewable Energy Hits Brick Wall in France and Germany

11/19/2017 4:17 PM

Germany has opened two new coal plants in the last three years....It's emissions are increasing and it's only going to get worse as nuclear power plants are retired...

..."Germany’s plan is to shutter all of its nuclear units by 2022 and to have renewable energy provide 40 to 45 percent of its generation by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050[ii]—up from 30 percent in 2025. Replacing nuclear power with renewable energy has proven difficult, however, mainly due to the intermittency of wind and solar power. When wind and solar are not available to generate electricity, German power buyers turn to coal. In fact, Germany opened over 10 gigawatts of new coal fired power plants over the past 5 years.[iii]"...

...and to make matters worse the price per kw is skyrocketing....

..."Germany is replacing its nuclear units with renewable energy (wind and solar) as part of its energy transition, the so-called Energiewende. It is using mainly coal to back-up its intermittent renewable energy and as a result, it has increased its coal-fired generation. Due to the higher cost of wind and solar units, residential electricity prices have escalated and are 3 times that of the United States."...

https://instituteforenergyresearch.org/analysis/france-germany-turn-coal/

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/nuclear-energy-and-climate-change-1.3296069

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#1

Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/19/2017 5:38 PM

What?! You don't care about Earth?

Serious stupidity!

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#7
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/20/2017 10:35 AM

People keep thinking there is no clean way to burn coal, and I say they are 100% wrong. It just has largely not been employed to date. It will be.

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#10
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/20/2017 2:12 PM

Having spent the bulk of my career doing Coal Utilization Research, I have to agree. The technology to burn coal with minimum or no air pollution has been around for decades, it's just costly. [That's the rub.] No company in a capitalist economy or even any country [Socialist or Communist] wants to bite the bullet for the costs. Improved coal recovery and preparation technologies will eventually bring overall costs into line.

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#13
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/20/2017 3:07 PM

One possible exception is the Allam cycle for coal, where C and O2 react in a stream of CO2, and the very high pressure CO2 is sent through the supercritical CO2 Brayton cycle. Any hydrogen in the coal burns to water, and this is condensed away (or by washing the CO2 prior to condensing to liquid CO2 for pipeline. There is no emissions stack. The mercury, and the sulfur get handled also by other means than usual.

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#15
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/21/2017 6:25 PM

The bigger problem with coal fired generators is the fly ash, the combustion waste that coal boilers generate....

..."People don't usually see the ash left over from the electricity that's burned when they turn on their lights or run their air conditioners.

But at coal power plants, fly ash builds up every day, laced with heavy metals and toxins—one of the most difficult waste-management issues in the developed world."...

..."Fly ash and the other residuals of burned coal add up to one of the largest waste streams in the United States: More than 136 million tons per year. In Europe, coal waste totals 100 million tons per year by some estimates. Similar figures aren't available for China, but since it is now burning more coal than the United States, the waste generation is significant. Scientists at the China Building Materials Academy and the Institute of Technical Information for Building Materials Industry calculate that their country has accumulated 2.5 billion tons of coal ash."...

..."For years, critics and communities have warned that the typical practices for disposal of coal ash—in landfills—posed a hazard to groundwater and to people who live nearby. The problem spilled into public view on December 22, 2008, when an earthen dam holding coal ash collapsed at Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Fuel plant, west of Knoxville.

(Related: "Giant Toxic Coal Ash Spill Threatens Animals")

Some 5.4 million cubic yards (4 million cubic meters) of wet coal ash surged from the facility, polluting the Clinch and Emory rivers and surrounding landscape, destroying three homes and damaging dozens of others. It was called the worst U.S. industrial accident of its type, and forced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to undertake a major reevaluation of coal ash regulation."...

https://earthjustice.org/features/coal-ash-contaminated-sites

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2011/08/110815-safer-ways-to-reycle-fly-ash-from-coal/

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#16
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/21/2017 7:34 PM

When you put it like that.. it makes it seem like the coal industry has been largely successful at containing it's mess and enjoys a low failure rate.

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#17
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/21/2017 10:17 PM

Coal Ash Is More Radioactive Than Nuclear Waste

..."the waste produced by coal plants is actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts. In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant—a by-product from burning coal for electricity—carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy. "...

..."other products of coal power, like emissions of acid rain–producing sulfur dioxide and smog-forming nitrous oxide, pose greater health risks than radiation."...

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste/

Coal ash disposal sites...140 million tons per year stored in 446 landfills and disposal ponds...

http://www.1sky.org/blog/2009/02/coal-ash-everywhere-with-map

http://www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/coal-ash-hazardous-to-human-health.pdf

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#18
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/22/2017 12:13 AM

That reminds us of who, these days, is pushing coal even more than miners and mine owners are.

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#19
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/22/2017 9:11 AM

Yes every coal mined within these United States contains about 1 mg/kg as Uranium.

After being burned, if the ash content is as low as 10%, this raises the issue to 10 mg/kg....it will definitely be radioactive to an unhealthy level in many instances. High ash content coals maybe not so much. A coal with 1% ash, 100 mg/kg uranium is the level we are talking about. Heck, that is almost extractable with a profit.

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#11
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/20/2017 2:35 PM

I have no issue with coal. I've always been a fan of clean coal power.

I have an issue with decommissioning of nuclear power plants and paying more than the rest of the civilized world (for power) in order to do so.

That's crippling to any business with slim margins and and heavy power requirements as well as those who do business with them.

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#12
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/20/2017 2:39 PM

Well, when the price of NG dropped, domestic coal plants could not afford to operate, and temporary shut down the coal generated power plants and bought the electricity off the grid... some of which was produced in Canada.

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#14
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/20/2017 3:18 PM

Yes, and is one more reason to commission the plants that can utilize high level nuke waste as fuel.

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#8
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/20/2017 11:35 AM

Well after Fukushima, could not the same be said for continuing to use nuclear generation?

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#20
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/22/2017 1:30 PM

Why do people keep using Fukushima and Chernobyl as examples when these poorly designed systems are not being built anymore....and certainly can't compare to the new gen III and IV designs being proposed...Would anybody here put backup generators in the basement of of a facility that was prone to flood and earthquakes and tidal waves?!? I mean really, for both of these examples the stupidity involved is not to be believed....and certainly does not have any relevance to today's technology other than as bad examples and total lack of common sense....And nuclear waste can be reprocessed, they do it in other parts of the world, and we have done it here in the past....The government chooses not to because they fear terrorist attack...When somebody finally decides that it's better to reprocess it into fuel rather than letting it continue to accumulate, then it will be done...but comparing it to pollution and other toxic waste streams makes no sense whatsoever....it's not released in the environment...it's safely stored...

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#21
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/22/2017 1:31 PM

Why do people keep using Fukushima and Chernobyl as examples when these poorly designed systems are not being built anymore...

It's the only support they have for their talking points?

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#22
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/22/2017 2:27 PM

Why do people keep using Fukushima and Chernobyl as examples

Probably because they show what can happen if something goes horribly wrong with a nuclear reactor. Massive areas left totally worthless for decades. Suppose a coal plant generator exploded. what would be the lasting environmental damage? Nothing compared to Chernobyl, which I didn't choose, because that truly is an example of a total cluster****.

Problem is these systems are built by humans and run by humans, which have proven to be not so trustworthy with very dangerous materials. I don't doubt we can engineer a very safe system, but then we have to throw in the doubts because it will be built by humans on a bid on contract, no doubt. Never any issues there, are there? And then run and monitored by humans, who never screw up, do they?

In 1979 I ran inspection tools down a bore hole in a newly poured concrete piling for a major bridge in Baltimore, and proved a contractor took short cuts and did not pour the concrete properly. There were actual gaps in the concrete in a hole run truly down the center of it. Now here we have a support for a structure that will support moving vehicles with people in them, no doubt millions of lives over the years of use, holding them up above the Chesapeake Bay. The contractor was quite willing to risk their lives and take a chance on future litigation just to make a few extra bucks now. See the point here? That is what concerns me. I used radiation nearly daily in that job and am not directly afraid of using it - just scared of depending on others to do their job correctly.

Carbon emissions takes decades to develop and we are just guessing at the consequences, and most likely exaggerating what will occur to promote a quicker response to curb it. Nuclear has already been documented what happens when things go wrong and it is a sudden and very prolonged effect.

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#23
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/22/2017 2:46 PM

When it comes to the Russians, Its the design of the reactors... at the time, they design the reactors with basically no containment in case of a accident.

Plus, there are other safeguards in place from what was learned from the disaster... the biggest. Skilled and competent technicians in place,

If not nuclear, Coal, solar, wind then what?.

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#24
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/22/2017 3:39 PM

I sit here in the middle of the Marcellus shale field. Below that is the Utica shale field, not tapped yet. Explored? Yes quite a few years ago. I know where that well is located. And, if you believe some of the more radical geologists around, it is all coming from even deeper than that, based on the studies of the huge, but not advertised, fault line from Alabama through W.Va., Pa., and into N.Y. (been there and seen that on my well logging instruments in W.Va. and Pa.) We got gas. We have time to develop solar and wind properly.

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#25
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/22/2017 4:27 PM

I agree,... Now is the time to develop Solar and Wind... unfortunately about 7 years ago... the government grants and loans was nothing more then a gravy train (both the private that also syphoned off to political parties ) until the money ran out and little to show for it with the money lost.

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#26
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/23/2017 12:10 AM

Yes that all sounds great, except there are two problems....the CO2 emissions need to be stopped, and all the cars trucks buses and boats are all going electric, that means electric demand will increase at a vertical climb for the foreseeable future, and beyond I think...there is no way we can build that much reliable carbon free baseload capacity without going nuclear....especially when the density of demand is considered....we've run the figures on here many times....charging stations might have 100 charge points, and charge times must be held to less than 10 minutes....that will require a mini reactor on-site...A nuclear battery

...or something similar...

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#32
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

12/04/2017 1:40 PM

The Good Generous Mother Earth is busy regenerating all the oil and gas we sucked out of her nipples in the last Century. Shhh.....she sleeps.

The problem is that she may erupt a few times (volcanoes) while sleep, and possibly one more entire caldera. Enough heat will be had to go around several times.

We need not worry further about nuclear war.

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#31
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

12/04/2017 1:38 PM

You know, the fun part about Chernobyl is that Russia still has several other large nuke reactors operational based on the same design, but hopefully, they do not any longer have party officials telling the operators of the plant what and when to do.

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#33
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

12/04/2017 1:45 PM

I understand that they kept running the remaining reactors... and weren't able to shut it down and decommissioning units 1-3.

After the last Chernobyl reactor shut down in December 2000, in mid-2001 a new enterprise, SSE ChNPP was set up to take over management of the site and decommissioning from Energoatom.

As far as the design of the reactors... well that is the dream of Bernie Sanders wants for this country... another product of Socialism

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#30
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

12/04/2017 1:36 PM

It is governmental paralysis by analysis syndrome. They harder they look at a problem, the bigger the problem gets, and the more locked into position they become.

Nothing gets done, no one moves, no one collects their "Go" money, it sucks in the extreme.

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#2

Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/19/2017 7:31 PM

Here is an interesting site showing the energy sources for various countries for different years.

http://www.tsp-data-portal.org/Breakdown-of-Electricity-Generation-by-Energy-Source#tspQvChart

Levelized cost per kwh of electricity in Germany:

Comparison of the levelized cost of electricity for some newly built renewable and fossil-fuel based power stations in euro per kWh (Germany, 2013)
Note: employed technologies and LCOE differ by country and change over time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source

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#3
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/19/2017 9:09 PM
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#4
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/20/2017 7:17 AM

Two questions,...

On those prices, with the U.S. paying 9 ct/kWh

what is Ct in Ct/kWh?

And the cost, does this include taxes what each country's impose?,.. I know that the U.S. fuel tax is considerable lower then Europe's fuel tax.

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#9
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/20/2017 1:42 PM

Ct = cents $.09 per kWh

The fuel tax in the US is negligible for domestic electric production...

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#28
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Re: Renewable energy hits brick wall in France and Germany

11/25/2017 1:29 AM

..."Berlin (CNN)This week, the German city of Bonn is the venue for hundreds of diplomats who are busy hammering out a road map to save the planet from climate change.

The country would seem an ideal host, with its sterling reputation for driving an ambitious green agenda centered around "energiewende," or transition to renewable energy. Yet less than an hour's drive away from the COP23 summit lies an example of Germany's dirty environmental secret: A 12-thousand-year-old forest that has been almost completely consumed by the country's ravenous addiction to coal power. Germany's biggest electricity provider, RWE, runs the vast open-pit mine that encroaches on Hambach Forest. Giant steel excavators grind away at the 33-square mile hole, leaving a scar on the green landscape but producing 40 million metric tons of coal annually. Every year since 1978, the mine has been allowed to fell a section of forest to access the lignite, or "brown coal," beneath. As a result, the Hambach woodland has now shrunk to less than 10% of its original size, according to estimates by RWE and environmental activists. A court decision next week could clear the way for logging operations to continue again this year. If the court finds in favor of RWE, the firm says it plans to raze another section of the forest."...

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/16/europe/germany-coal-hambach-forest/index.html

German court: Ancient forest can be cleared for coal mine

..."A court in western Germany says an ancient forest near the Belgian border can be chopped down to make way for a coal strip mine.

Cologne's administrative court ruled Friday against a legal complaint brought by the environmental group BUND that wanted to halt the clearance of much of the Hambach forest.

The group said it would appeal the decision and seek an injunction to prevent energy company RWE from clearing the trees in the meantime.

Hambach forest has become a focus of environmental protests against the expansion of a vast mine that supplies much of the coal used in nearby power plants.

The coal, a light brown variety called lignite, is considered one of the most polluting forms of fossil fuel."...

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/german-court-ancient-forest-cleared-coal-mine-51362826

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#5

Re: Renewable Energy Hits Brick Wall in France and Germany

11/20/2017 10:21 AM

There are a lot of apples and oranges in comparisons presented here. But a partial summary take is -

1. For full lifestyle, the consumer direct energy consumption per European is significantly less than that for North Americans, a pretty clear supply/demand relationship, for the Europeans are paying through the nose for there energy.

2. In Europe the value of coal energy (as a locally accessible resource and the established infrastructure to support the exploitation of that resource) is hard to beat. Solar, except maybe for some areas around the Med, was never going to make it. But competitive wind value is validating the Danish leadership for this renewable source...if the intermittency thorn in wind's side can be removed. Pumped hydro storage is the single biggest shot (retro on existing/new run of the river and closed loop lagoon pairs) at taking wind to being the backbone of the future European 24/7 homegrown electric power renewable.

3. And there is always MENA solar, technically quite feasible, and a win-win for both sides of the Med...if everyone could get their political and organization acts together. The magnitude of a fully developed MENA solar at the base of the MENA economies and significantly those of Europe is at least comparable to what the Chinese are going for in their grand solar strategy.

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#6

Re: Renewable Energy Hits Brick Wall in France and Germany

11/20/2017 10:31 AM

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#27

Re: Renewable Energy Hits Brick Wall in France and Germany

11/23/2017 12:55 PM

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#34
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Re: Renewable Energy Hits Brick Wall in France and Germany

12/04/2017 1:54 PM

Every time I see one of these films, especially when they were produced not ten years after WWII, and they open with "men of good will", I chuckle a bit.

Really? There were actually men of good will back then? Well, there certainly aren't any of those guys around now, that I can tell.

Just kidding. It does make me smile on that greatest generation, and think what they could have accomplished if granted just twenty or forty more years to be productive.

Our lives and our span of productivity is so very short, virtually ephemeral in time, such that the only residue we leave are our words.

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#29

Re: Renewable Energy Hits Brick Wall in France and Germany

11/25/2017 10:15 AM

I'm thankful for all the coal, oil, and NG provided in abundance.

Without yesterday's use today wouldn't exist as we know it.

Renewable resources couldn't have been developed without them.

.... nobody can deny how coal has made modern life possible, but anyone can turn their nose up at the red headed stepchild of the day.

...as for dirty waste and garbage...

That's why we dispose of it.

Solar panels are notorious for toxic production.

Dam's? ... No environmental impact there.

Turbines? Noisy feather munchers..

Radiation? Can't live with it.. can't live without it.

.. I digress.. hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and didn't travel an inch or use unnecessary fuel. <Jokes>

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#35
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Re: Renewable Energy Hits Brick Wall in France and Germany

12/04/2017 2:01 PM

"...as for dirty waste and garbage..."

Methods were worked out over a decade ago now, to take waste (including poop) and garbage, react it in microwave plasma, and receive net energy production, slag glass, and metallic by-product with net energy production, even the bad actors of chlorinated organics and mercury, cadmium, etc. can be dealt with in this way, with virtually nil emission.

The black slag glass is useful, and the mercury is pulled out in the vapor stream and so it the hydrochloric acid generated, then the combustible gas is sent to a gas turbine for net electric power generation. The landfill stays hungry, and more power to the grid, and the line of garbage trucks just keeps coming.

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