Sunday, February 8, 2009

Blue Fuel for cleaner air and healthier, longer lives

BLUEFUELENERGY.COM: Almost all of us want to live healthier, longer lives. But as a recent Los Angeles Times article indicates, by breathing in air with excessive concentrations of particulate matter, which billions of us do every day, we are not realizing our potential to do so. This is both tragic and costly, especially given that Blue Fuel is a solution to this problem—a solution waiting to be tapped. And the most obvious and immediate way that Blue Fuel can be used to significantly improve air quality is as replacement for natural gas for power generation because it can be used without the need to modify turbines or combustors and manufacturers such as Mitsubishi, Hitachi, and General Electric have all approved it for their gas turbines.

Here in British Columbia our crown-owned utility, BC Hydro, operates three natural gas-fired power plants. The largest of these, Burrard Thermal Power Station, is a 950 MW plant that provides back-up for the hydroelectric system during low-water years, and supplementary power at peak demand periods and during interruptions in the grid. It could also be run steadily during periods when natural gas prices are relatively low, as they presently are, but this would cause a huge increase in GHG emissions and other types of health- and life-threatening pollution. As Dr. David Suzuki of the Suzuki Foundation notes:

“The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 77 percent of particulates from natural gas plants are dangerously small. These fine particulates have the greatest impact on human health because they bypass our bodies’ natural respiratory filters and end up deep in the lungs. In fact, many studies have found no safe limit for exposure to the substances.”

Despite this, there are initiatives to restore Burrard Thermal to full capacity, which according to BC Citizens for Green Energy, would be an environmental obscenity both because of the GHG and fine particulate emissions. The message that Blue Fuel can improve health and save lives—and save society countless millions of dollars by enhancing productivity and minimizing medical costs—needs to be vigorously promoted to utilities and government and non-government organizations charged with the task of improving air quality. Switching from natural gas to Blue Fuel is the low-hanging fruit for proponents of Blue Fuel—and we all know the health benefits of eating fruit.

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