Letter: Clean-coal innovations are the next chapter in America’s energy future

Why in the world would someone want to convert coal into liquid fuels, and make Dale, Ind., the home base for that operation? To hear some tell it in recent letters to the editor, it’s just a fool’s errand – a lost cause. Or – maybe it’s a brilliant idea with a global outlook that sets Indiana up to lead the charge in the United States’ drive toward energy independence.

The bombing of a Saudi Arabian oil field recently should serve as a wake-up call to this fact. That incident sent markets into turmoil and raised the question once again about the world’s vulnerability to oil shortages.

It also reignited another indisputable point: The United States is the Saudi Arabia of one powerful and abundant energy resource – coal.

With the U.S. having the largest coal reserves of any nation on the planet, clean-coal ventures like Riverview’s direct-coal-hydrogenation plant, make tremendous sense economically and strategically. Riverview Energy’s plant in Dale will produce roughly four barrels of fuel for each ton of coal it converts into ultra-low-sulfur diesel. The United States has roughly 253 billion tons of proven, recoverable coal reserves. This means that companies like Riverview Energy are effectively increasing U.S oil reserves by one trillion barrels.

Yes – that’s trillion with a T.

There is a real need in our nation and world for ULSD. Wars have been fought over oil, not coal. Converting coal into ULSD can fuel our military – making it unfazed by foreign oil catastrophes and giving it ready dominance among the world’s forces when oil access is restricted. In all, that can help to tamp down threats to world peace and, when conflict does arise, it can help to restore peace more quickly.

The shipping industry will also benefit tremendously from converting U.S. coal into ULSD. With new fuel regulations beginning in 2020, the shipping industry will be forced to seek new fuel sources. ULSD is a prime solution to the global shipping industry’s incoming spike in demand for clean fuel. And those challenges aren’t anything to dismiss – as the global shipping industry makes up more than 80 percent of the global trade volume, and 70 percent of its economic value.

And then there are jobs.

The direct coal-hydrogenation plant planned for Dale is expected to create more than 2,000 construction jobs and 200 high-paying permanent jobs. That’s just one plant. Multiple plants across a region each generating a couple hundred permanent high-paying jobs can be a big boost to a statewide economy, and a game changer for local, struggling economies.

Coal still has a crucial role to play in our energy portfolio – in Indiana and U.S. prosperity. It’s not and never was a villain. In fact, coal helped to build this nation into the strongest in the world. Clean-coal innovations are the next chapter in keeping America clean, safe and the most powerful nation history has ever seen.

Riverview Energy – and Dale – are going to lead the way.

Gregory Merle
President of Riverview Energy

6 Responses to Letter: Clean-coal innovations are the next chapter in America’s energy future

  1. thompson October 17, 2019 at 12:17 pm #

    This is the worst plan possible for our little town of Dale. It will only line your pockets sir and kill off a lot of people. Can’t you get the message that we don’t want it. Construct in your town if you think it is so good and don’t pawn it off on us. I wish to remain anonymous No thanks to you!

  2. Scott October 17, 2019 at 2:00 pm #

    I think the title should be changed to “cleaner-coal”. Coal cannot be clean at least yet. Unless what the coal fired plants are pumping out of their stacks is water vapor, it will never be clean. Cleaner maybe, but not clean.

    Saying coal got us to where we are as a nation, so we HAVE to keep it as a vital source of energy is asinine. That’s like saying we need to keep steam powered trains because they helped connect the country during the 1800’s. Cleaner, safer, and renewable alternatives are where almost every other developed nation is heading. Except the U.S.

    • Dave Conners October 24, 2019 at 2:00 pm #

      Scott, have you really read the details about what Riverview is planning? It’s a closed-loop system (eg there is no black smoke) Even the environmentalists at the State of Indiana said it wouldn’t significantly impact air quality. Countries like China and Russia are leading the way in this technology because they know how important coal still is. They just don’t have all the frickin red tape and politics that we have. Just Google ‘China coal imports 2019’ if you want a real eye-opener.

  3. Dave Conners October 24, 2019 at 1:41 pm #

    Indiana has graduates from some of the best universities and tradesmen in the world (Purdue / Boilermakers) and they’re not far from Dale. The reality is Indiana sits on a Saudia Arabia-sized mountain of coal and they finally found a technology that will convert this into eco-fuels and people still complain! Remember those environmentalists that scared the folks with the SOLAR powered plant from Dale? Nice work guys!!!

    • Jeff October 24, 2019 at 5:30 pm #

      Mr. Merle? Is that you?

  4. Dave Conners October 25, 2019 at 5:35 am #

    Dear Jeff – Nope, but I hope he reads this. You have supporters Mr. Merle, keep going!