Coal Combustion and Gasification

Coal Combustion and Gasification

Book Reviews 416 of Pennsylvania, a good fraction of which is not arable. Birth control is discouraged by Government policy, indigenous custom, and ...

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of Pennsylvania, a good fraction of which is not arable. Birth control is discouraged by Government policy, indigenous custom, and the sober fact of 40 percent infant mortality below the age of five. At this point, modem medicine has turned the scales just enough to cause a rapid population increase without really making major inroads against endemic disease. All these facts are presented, not to single Malawi out as a particularly acute casc-it is not-but because I personally am well acquainted with them. The point is that Malawi, like many less developed countries, is slowly going down under the sheer weight of increasing numbers of people doing traditional things. The specter of rapacious foreign investors is so nearly absent as to exert at most a second or third-order effect. Crusaders against hunger in the U.S. frequently hold up as a horrible example the production of beef in the Dominican Republic to make American hamburger. This activity has displaced thousands of sharecroppers without providing alternative employment for them. This is lamentable, but the per capita Gross National Product of the Dominican Republic is actually higher than that of Malawi. In still another comparison, it might be noted that, lamentable as the chemical tragedy in Bhopal, India was, and however preventable, the total fatalities are quivalent to deaths from starvation in a very few days in Calcutta. The volume under review makes the same points in its own way; neither development nor nondevelopment is without major environmental and human risk. There is little question that multi-national corporations, their management far removed from the physical consequences of their actions, can be grasping, exploitive and insensitive. They can also be a major channel of funds and technical knowledge into a developing country. They can, in fact, frequently afford degrees of environmental protection impossible to indigenous industry. What is not clear is the nature of the forces required to insure a preponderance of favorable impacts over unfavorable ones. This is made difficult by a marked absence of knowledge by which to assess the difference, especially in the long run. The volume under review is an early number of a series that already includes useful compilations of drugs that have been banned in at least some countries (and the reasons for their banning) and of technology transfer through the medium of multi-national corporations. The reader gets few answers; in all honesty, it is dubious that they exist. However, by codifying the questions, this small U.N. body has opened the way to consider its subject matter in a far more balanced way than most such documents. If there is a deficiency in the framework that is constructed here, it is the underplayingundoubtedly for political reasons-of the ‘absolute necessity for population control.* Functionally, this really means the necessity to provide alternatives to dependence on surviving children by parents in their old age. This volume fails even to mention the degree to which production gains can be eaten up by population growth. JAMESP.

LODGE,

Mass Spectrometry in Environmental Sciences, edited by F. W. Karasek, 0. Huntzinger and S. Safe, Plenum Publishing Corp., 233 Spring St., New York, NY 10013, 1985. xix + 578 pp. Price 375.00. There is an old story that dates back to the Dust-Bowl years in the Midwest concerning a farmer noted far and wide for his magnificent and eloquent command of profanity. Then came the year of drought, during which almost nothing grew. The sole hope of the family was a modest showing by a field of potatoes. Finally, he went out to harvest the potatoes-no great yield, but enough to feed his family through the winter. He loaded them into his wagon and headed for home. AS he drove into the farmyard, his wife looked out and realized that the tailgate was not closed on the wagon, and that the potatoes were, and had been, slowly bouncing out of the back. Just then her husband, for the first time, looked back at his load and realized what had happened. The wife braced herself for a searing blast. Instead, his mouth worked for nearly a full minute without a sound, and then he finally said, “Oh, Hell, I just can’t do it justice!” There are a number of fields in environmental science today in which a comprehensive monograph is up against a similar problem, for good or ill; an exhaustive treatment in a book of finite size simply cannot “do it justice.” The present book is a case in point. Despite its length (and price) there is just too much here for even such a multi-authored book to cover the field and remain comprehensible. In the instance of this book, the election has been for comprehensiveness rather than comprehensibility for the neophyte. Now don’t get me wrong. The authors were carefully selected. The book has been produced with care and is well indexed. So far as production is concerned, my one complaint is that the very extensive bibliographies are in the order of citation rather than alphabetical, which makes the book difficult to use if what you remember is the authors of a particular piece of work-that is to say, the utility of the volume as a bibliographic resource is not fully realized. So far as 1 was able to detect, there are very few errors, and it will be a valuable addition to the library of anyone involved in, or contemplating, the mass spectrometry of environmental samples. The fact remains, however, that it is little more than a narrative, annotated bibliography. For example, the chapter by Schuetxle and Hampton on GC/MS of air pollutants comprises 30 pages, a good many of them occupied by tables, and sports 137 references. Obviously none of these is discussed in detail. The initial chapter on general principles by Boyd has 17 pages and 62 references, many of them to complete books. What all this says is that the way to use this volume is as a guide to other literature, not as a reference in itself. On its own terms, it is well done. JAMESP. LODGE.JR.

JR. Coal Cwhtiost and Casifiition, L. Douglas Smoot and Philip J. Smith. Plenum Publishing Corp., 233 Spring St., New York, NY 10013. 1985, xvi +443 pp. Price $59.50.

*On second thought, this highly opinionated statement may be unjustified. This was pointed out to me in a response to transmitting a draft of this review to the Centre on Transnational Corporations. which stated, +‘The issue of population control, which was specifically mentioned in the review, hardly was ‘underplayed for political reasons’ but was not touched upon at all because the subject of the report was environmental protection in the tight of the industrial activities of transnational corporations.” This footnote adequately mirrors my own ambivalence on this subject.

All too many of us within the environmental professions devote our time and energies to documenting pollution without giving much thought to its control. In fact, in our own groups I suspect that we frequently lament the passing of the truly heavy pollution of the past, which was a lot easier to study than the very low levels generally experienced today. I can certainly say for myself that, if I were offered a ride in a time machine, one of my priorities could well be to take contemporary measuring equipment into the London of the early 1950s. in the hope that I could actually learn what was thecause of the problems back then. I will certainly learn very

Book Reviews little in contemporary London where, according to all the authorities there, there is no longer any impact of air pollution on health! In any case, it is good for us now and then to pay attention to the other end of the system-the source. The present volume is intended as both an advanced text and a reference for the specialist in the particular area that its title announces. It is far enough from my own knowledge that I can judge it only by externals. In my examination of the book, I spotted only one fairly trivial typographical error, so it would appear that some care was given to the production of the book. Its particular emphasis is the computer modeling of the combustion process, a matter that is obviously fraught with serious problems, and it needs to be approached with rather large computers and firstclass programmers. It further appears that, as usual modeling has raised more questions than it has answerad, the actual nature of the measurements taken to date was not dictated by the needs of the modcllers, and as a result there is not a good body of data for the sort of validation that the modellers would lie. On the other hand, this really clarifies the vital position of the best sort of modeling, not as an ultimate answer, but as a driver of experimental research. The authors limit themselves, so far as the pollutant output of the processes are concerned, to a chapter on the nitrogen oxides. They conclude that, under the conditions studied, nitrogen fixation is unimportant compared with the oxides derived from fuel nitrogen. This raises some serious questions. Some 20 years ago, A. J. HaagenSmit was able to effect sign&ant reductions in nitrogen oxides emission from southern California power plants by staged combusion. His whole approach was predicated on decreased fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. It is not clear whether the conditions used by the experimenters cited here were such as to minimize fixation, or whether they are in error in their assumption that fixation is negligible. Disappointingly, there is no discussion of either coal sulfur leading to sulfur dioxide or of the various techniques for sulfur dioxide removal. It is somewhat outside the mandate of the title in its narrowest form, but it would seem that at least fluid&d bed combustion with admixed lime or limestone would have fit within the purview of this work. One possible explanation is that the authors are from Utah, where the coal is low enough in sulfur that sulfur oxides emissions arc not a major problem. Ash and soot are treated only insofar as they contribute to the equations of heat transfer from the flame to the combustion vessel. Thus, the real interest of this particular volume is in the combustion process itselc a gap still remains between the fire in the boiler and the receptor experiencing pollution a few km downwind-or even between the top of the visible flame and the base of the stack. The present volume, with subject index, a single bibliography arranged in alphabetical order, and generally clean production, appears a worthwhile contribution in its own terms. It does not, and does not pretend to, answer the practical question of how to extract the energy from coal with less environmental impact. The authors are Mormons. Uniquely so far as my own acquaintance extends, they have supplied the book with a dedication to the deity, and each chapter with an epigraph taken from the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the Doctrines and Covenants. This is not particularly difficult, since all these sources are particularly concerned with images of light and darkness, fire. and the like. However, a few arc marvelous examples of words out of context; a perfect example is the superscription of the first chapter, from Isaiah 50: 11. Only the first portion of the verse is quoted, and appears to be an injunction to surround oneself with fire and to study it. The context. on the other hand, as well as the balance of the verse, makes it clear that this is actually a severe condemnation of fire worship, and a reminder that dcpcnding on artificial light can seriously inhibit true illumination! On the other hand, I

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suppose I should not complain. The authors are at least familiar with Scripture, even though I would disagree with than on theology. Quite aside from desirable (or undesirable) beliefs that frequently arise when one reads Scripture, it is diicult to read even the most prosaic translations without learning a little literary style. Many contemporary authors of technical writings should be forced to read the King James Bible, whatever their religious convictions, in the bope that it will teach them at least the use of language. JAMESP. Probability, Statistics, ad AtmoQpberic Sciences, edited Richard W. Katz, Westview Boulder, CO 80301, 1985, xi +

LODGE,

JR.

Decision Making io the by Allan H. Murphy and Press, 5500 Central Ave.. 545 pp. Price SSO.00.

When Sherlock Holmes said (or implied; I have been told he never actually said these precise words),“Elementary, my dear Watson,” what he actually connoted was a vast difference between what he perceived as being “elementary” and what Watson so perceived. Some years ago I purchased a book on meteorology that, according to its advertising, was intended for children in the latter years of primary school. I rapidly discovered that I could not understand it, so I checked with my children to find out whether this was something like ‘new math” that a child could understand but an adult could not. However, they professed as much puzzlement as I felt-or perhaps a bit more. I finally concluded that while, by his own lights, the author was being extremely elementary, he stood in relation to the nonmeteorologist-adult or child-as Holmes to Watson. It simply never occurred to him that terms like “gcostrophic winds” were not part of the everyday vocabulary of ordinary mortals. Indeed, it can probably be stated that a precondition for any eflective communication is some sort of agreement between the communicators on a body of words and/or concepts that do not require specitic and explicit definition. This was brought home to me recently by a few days’ visit from a missionary couple stationed in Malawi. A great deal of the conversation had to do with the problems raised by very differing perceptions of the same things by the indigenes and the “Europeans,” which includes Americans. At the same time, without being in the slightest aware of it, the couple interspersed their talk with native terms for enough different items that I was continually scrambling to understand what they said. Once again, it was a matter of differences in what was “elementary.” This is prologue to the evaluation of what is basically a rather good book. As I have noted in previous reviews, the basic subject of statistics has been rapidly undergoing a series of extensions, doubtless triggered by the fact that computers make possible manipulation of numbers on a scale previously impossible even with graduate students as slave labor. This Journal has published a number of papers on what the authors represented to be new techniques or applications of statistical data manipulation, claiming great new powers for them. Some sort of update for the atmospheric scientist is certainly needed, and this volume appeared promising, particularly as it is stated to be aimed at students who have had a single year of undergraduate statistics. Now the truth of the matter is that I have not had a year of undcrgraduutc statistics, or in fact any formal training whatever in the subject. However, I naively assumed that, given the variability of depth of elementary courses, this particular volume would certainly begin on a level elementary enough for me to follow. Conceivably it was precisely that matter that did me in: the extreme variability of depth of elementary courses at different institutions, and hence variability of professor’s expectations for level of prior preparation. The chapter on Bayes’ Theorem and its applications