North Dakota state geologist Ed Murphy said there are 150 billion tons of proven lignite reserves worldwide. Only Australia, with 37 billion tons of proven lignite reserves, has more than North Dakota's 25 billion tons.
Lignite is sometimes called brown coal and is usually geologically younger than other coals, Murphy said. Lignite can contain up 30 to 60 percent water, making it inefficient to burn and heavier and more costly to transport. Drier coal creates more energy and lessens the amount of power needed to process and burn it, reducing pollution from factory stacks.
North Dakota has seven coal-fueled electric power plants and a factory that produces synthetic natural gas from lignite coal. The state's lignite mines in west-central North Dakota produce close to 30 million tons of fuel annually.
Almost 70 percent of electricity produced from North Dakota's lignite-fired power plants is exported to surrounding states to more than 2 million customers, Van Dyke said.
There are about 280 power plants in the U.S. that burn lignite and other high-moisture coal, and those factories generate about a third of the electricity produced by all coal-fired power plants, according to the U.S. Energy Department.
And so the collaboration:
Plus all those neat trips to Australia during the North Dakota winter to see what they're doing in Australia.The Lignite Energy Council said it formed a partnership late last month with Melbourne-based Brown Coal Innovation Australia. An agreement signed by the groups said the intent is to “harness their complimentary resources and expertise to develop and pursue cooperative activities associated with coal.”
A Note To The Granddaughters
Today has been such an incredibly awful day with regard to what is going on in Washington (ObamaCare), the only way I will get through the rest of the evening is by playing this song very, very loudly with headphones.
Loaded, The Velvet Underground
It's very surreal. I'm sitting at the top of the viewing area in a huge swimming pool complex, playing the album very loudly with headphones, and watching, through binoculars, the older granddaughter swim laps in the pool below. With the binoculars one sees the splashing of water and you jump back thinking you are going to get wet when you realize it's the binoculars and they are half a football field away.
I don't know what could beat this moment: sitting in a lounge chair, watching our granddaughter swim, and listening to great music from another century. Incredibly relaxing, rewarding.