Living in Austria enjoying ⅔ Renewable Electricity ratio from its Hydropower I find China’s decision to co-locate ever largest Acetylene Chemistry plant next to world’s biggest Hydropower installation at the Jangtsekiang 3 valley dam admirable. Electro-smelting 12 million tonnes of Calcium Carbide annually in batches will make use of 40 Terra Watt hours electricity (equivalent to 140 Peta Joule) at flexible hours as a great off-take opportunity for excess electricity generation from the adjacent hydropower-station. Also the 3.5 million m³ water to hydrolyze the Carbide consecutively into 4 million tonnes of Acetylene can be taken directly from the river representing 200 Peta Joule storable and logistically manageable chemical energy output. This is approximately equivalent to the Carbon feedstock’s chemical energy input or 1.4 times the electricity input. As a by-product the electro-smelting releases 5 million tonnes Carbon monoxide representing a chemical energy of 50 Peta Joule or 2.7 times the calcination energy need of the lime-stone used. Bottom line this represents a 67% total input / output efficiency. So far compared to Power-to-Gas electrolysis Hydrogen at 62% a pretty par result.
But effectiveness of Acetylene Chemistry in e.g. Polyethylene downstream use can be indicated with a factor 2 higher Carbon Efficiency than using crude oil primary feedstock which would involve about 2 times the fossil Carbon of the Carbide smelting Carbon input. In fact Acetylene Chemistry may have been chosen by China for abundance of coal resources of the country, which in light of the Carbon Efficiency could even be viewed as environmentally competitive with Natural Gas derived Ethylene. But coming back to the strategic location of the Jangtsekiang and its three feeding rivers made navigable further upstream through the regulating dams, it could also serve for waste logistics for Carbon Recycling from it as a feedstock into the Acetylene Chemistry installation. This would make its downstream products all Renewable Materials and the Carbon Footprint of transformation losses “neutral” in European Kyoto interpretations.
However, our example of a 100,000 tonnes per annum capacity for a Chinese town’s waste specification would represent just 0.25% the above scoped Acetylene plant’s Carbon feedstock need. In other words this Acetylene plant could valorize the MSW of almost 200 million urban citizens. Actually Carbotopia™ has designed a proprietary process to capture the Carbon from decomposition gases by its thermo- catalytic Chemical Vapor Deposition onto limestone in the stoichiometric molar ratio of 3:1 needed in carbide smelting. Using Recycled Carbon allows to feed highly pure Carbon without contaminants as they would be have formed Hydrides in the feedstock’s upstream decomposition gas where they can be separated out prior to the Carbon Recovery process. Some of it may even be yielded for circular economy usability.
If the above described Acetylene undertaking at the Jangtsekiang 3 river dam would adopt Carbon Recycling from Municipal Solid Waste for its feedstock needs, it could save China 125 Pyramids of Giza in landfill space and would not cost more than setting up waste incinerators, but deliver a product worth a multiple of Waste-to-Energy arms’ length market value. Unfortunately Europeans don’t want to change the ongoing Eco-System in the interests of Petrol Industry and misconceive their agenda of Carbon Neutrality nourishing the legacy to burn waste at the expenses of their citizens being charged the uncovered cost overruns via all sorts of socialization schemes. An example I would understand the US administration to refrain from, though unfortunately this was not the reason for President Trump’s decision to exit Paris Climate Accord. Anyways, there is no doubt that Carbon Circularity could “Make our Planet Great” and it’s first adopting regions again!