FROM MINING TO HUMAN-GENERATED ELECTRICITY
WHAT else is it in, BEFORE, IN THE MIDDLE and AFTER the process?
ANTHROPOGENIC EMISSIONS ///
circa 1876 – ad infinitum
Black stone, stain in space, archaeological remains,
explosion, smoke: a table full of incandescent forms (and microphones)
the production of a scene, of a geopolitical territory:
the atmosphere is subtle and thick
hands, ears and eyes
L. Silva, Radio Tsonami Radio Concerts, Carbon, AutoPol, 2021
Even today, about 40% of the world’s electrical energy is supplied by Thermoelectric Stations that use Mineral Coal as a source of activation of the thermodynamic process to turn on the turbines system.
As you walk closer and closer to the power plant, the MegaWatt machine emits low frequencies that intercept your thoughts and make your body of water tremble.
Listening deeply to the sound radiation of a Thermal Power Plant is, at the same time, an experience of terror, fear and trembling.
a watt of terror
This Machine delivers tons of anthropogenic gases to the environment, to the air, to the water and to the earth, to your lungs and to your leaves of splendor of photosynthesis, which raise the temperature of the globe-oven.
LANDSCAPES DERIVED FROM THE POST NATURE ERA
Modernity – as contemporaneity – can no longer contain all the produced objects. So, objects, materialities and anthropo-techno-genic territories are appearing all over the planet, at micro and macro scale.
The issue is where are the mines.
who works it
Under what conditions do they do it?
Who does the media geology belong to.
From the primitive horde to the century of electricity
each community tries to control its most primitive instincts.
There lives a man inside me who is contrary to my living,
carries its flame to the end, flows and strikes like water.
Every idea, every faith sanctifies a little the violence of its application.
To return the soul to its supreme homeland.
Father, can’t you see I’m burning?
stefan zweig, zwieg, Krisman, 2016
The ten largest brown and hard coal producing countries in 2012 were (in million metric tons): China 3,621, United States 922, India 629, Australia 432, Indonesia 410, Russia 351, South Africa 261, Germany 196, Poland 144, and Kazakhstan 122.313
“South Africa uses coal for 94% of its electricity while China and India use 70-75% for their electricity needs; which when it comes to the Asian giants of “stuff” production the amount of coal they use absolutely dwarfs (or not) most other countries.”
“Coal-fired power plants emit more than 10(0…) tons of carbon dioxide per year, almost a fifth of total emissions, making them the largest source of greenhouse gases, which cause global warming. They are being withdrawn in Europe and America.
Still, even as of 2020 these plants are still being built and planned in Asia, mostly financed by China.”
“During 2021, and after the rise in oil prices, Coal-Fired Power Plants became profitable again and re-ignited in several European countries, questioning the Energy Transition process. The Nuclear Thermal Power Plants are discussed again. “
“Coal plants require huge amounts of this raw material to function. A 1,000-megawatt coal plant uses 9,000 tons of coal per day, which is equivalent to a full train load (90 railcars with 100 tons in each!).
“The amount of coal used for a full year would require 365 trains, and if each train is 3 km long, then a single train carrying all this coal would need to be about 1,100 km long; approximately the same distance from a bridge as a Montevideo and Santiago de Chile.
If this train were passing your house at 40 kilometers per hour, it would take more than a day to pass. And this just to supply a power plant: there are more than 20,000 in the world.”
“As a Civilization, the Age of Electricity still expresses the global machine’s addiction to coal, generating a planet that is cooking and irreparably damaging.”
“Every year, hundreds of thousands of people die from carbon dioxide pollution.
Millions more around the world suffer from asthma attacks, heart attacks and other illnesses that lead to hospitalizations and lost work days.”
“CO2 is the main contributor to global climate change. If plans to build more than 1,000 coal-fired power plants are realized, the greenhouse gases released by these plants will set us on a path to a five-degree Celsius rise in global temperatures, a fate compared to planetary collapse.”
“The coal industry is relentless in its drive to extract and burn more coal. Several global environmental organizations study the impacts of coal on health, climate change, water and the environment.
“Humans – as humanity – constantly emit carbon dioxide, methane and other pollutants into the atmosphere, whether through the burning of fuels, the displacement of vehicles, the conversion of forests into agricultural land through mega arson fires, among many other activities.
All of these emissions influence the composition of the atmosphere around the world.”
In the middle of 2021 -2022, humanity is still hooked on oil, natural gas and coal.
And even today, the Energy Transition is a hybrid process.
THE SKY IS CHANGING
The atmosphere has been changing for 40 years.
Since 1980, the stratosphere has shrunk by 400 meters and, if the current rate of emissions continues,
its thickness will shrink another 800 meters by 2080.
The tropopause has been rising between 80 and 50 meters per decade for forty years
Humans change the sky: the boundaries between the layers of the atmosphere are changing
Greenhouse gases have caused the troposphere to expand and the stratosphere to contract. Alterations affect the climate.
The possible impact on air circulation on a planetary scale: “Air masses do not rise equally throughout the planet. In general, they rise from the tropics and descend over the poles, reaching the tropics again through the lower layer. Disrupting this can have undesirable effects”, In addition, “the tropopause is a limit to convection, the border to which the clouds rise. All this could “alter the global energy balance.” The country, JuanAntonio Añel, 2021
THE VITAL ARCH OF THE BAY OF MONTEVIDEO
1889 – ARROYO SECO POWER STATION
On September 2, 1889, the Arroyo Seco Power Plant was inaugurated, which would later become the Calcagno Thermal Power Plant. It supplied 250 blocks from the Aguada and Cordón areas. where no lighting system existed until now.
It was a stone and masonry building, with a galvanized roof 77 m long by 51 wide, divided into four rooms: machinery, boilers, warehouses and offices, and an electrical construction workshop.
It worked with five boilers (Belleville system), two feed pumps and two cast iron chimneys 34 m high and with an internal diameter of 1.80 m. It had eight Ganz engines of 150 HP each, and each engine had a dynamo coupled to its shaft that produced 80 kW.
The plant worked with mineral coal, which was transported by a bridge crane from the hold of the ships docked in the bay, to six steel hoppers with a capacity of 120 tons each. The coal then passed to the burners of the boilers, producing up to 9,000 kg of steam per hour. The generated energy was transmitted to the four generating groups that derived to the substations.
On September 27, 1906, the “transformation law” was enacted, which authorized the execution of the necessary works to modernize the electricity supply, both for public lighting and for individuals. The engineer Santiago Calcagno played a relevant role in the realization of this transformation, and later held the presidency of the Board of Directors of the state electricity company.
On October 23, 1909, the transformation of the Arroyo Seco Power Plant was inaugurated.
In 1915 the transformation of the combustion regime was carried out, adapting the boilers to the burning of fuel oil, with the consequent improvement from the economic and hygiene point of view.
On October 21, 1932, together with the inauguration of the “José Batlle y Ordóñez” power plant, the name “Ing. Santiago Calcagno” to the old Arroyo Seco Power Plant, as a tribute to the director of its transformation.
(Historical review of the UTE / Marcos Medina Vidal)
The Calcagno power plant was gradually disaffected after the installation of the 5th and 6th units at the Batlle power plant, in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1995, the demolition of two of the truncated-conical chimneys, located on the former boiler room. That same year, the officials who still worked at the Central were transferred to other units.
2022 SUMMER TEMPERATURE RECORDS in SOUTH AMERICA
and Montevideo Floods:
Auge y ocaso del carbón mineral en Uruguay. Un análisis histórico desde fines del siglo XIX hasta la actualidad.
AutorAutor/es: Román, Carolina , Bertoni, Reto