Coal Comeback? Coal Testing Outlook and Opportunities
Is the comeback of coal on the horizon. As many of you have seen President Trump is working on repealing some of the clean air act laws that lowered the emission rates of CO2 which mainly effected coal fired power plants. As many of you may also know the large coal and energy companies in the United States do not have the capabilities to test many of their coals in house. This is where specialty laboratories perform in house testing of coal samples and provide those analysis back to the companies requesting testing. Some of these tests such as the sink and float analysis are tried and true methods that have been used for the past 50 years to analyze coals. Two of the main materials used in sink and float analsysis are dibromomethane and perchlorethylene. These are both what are termed as halogenated solvents and are both very dangerous to work with and have been known to cause cancer. This is one reason why RightPath Industries makes all of our customers using halogenated solvents require the filling out of a user agreement form to ensure that staff is properly trained in how to handle the materials.
The main reason for the slow demise of coal over the past few years can be viewed as two fold. One being the clean air act which caused a significant disruption with competitive energy companies in having to provide new scrubbers to be below the new EPA limits. The second and perhaps the main reason is rise of fractal drilling and the marcellus shale gas reserve. Coal testing laboratories are also feeling the burden of lowered coal usages. There has been a reduction at coal testing labs by over 70% in the past 3 years. Many coal testing labs have since gone out of business due to the low sample request by energy companies.
As you can see in the above figure in 2012 Natural gas in 2012 became the predominant source of energy for the United States surpassing coal. This is mainly due to the large natural reserves and lower costs associated with extraction of coal from the earth utilizing techniques such as fractal drilling which drive the cost down considerably when in comparison with coal.
We believe that while the clean air act redaction might help in the short term for some coal fired power plants overall due to the large and cheap supply of natural gas moving forward coal production and with it ancillary markets and employment in the coal sector will continue to suffer.
As many of our customers in coal country there are still opportunities utilizing current infrastructure in many of the laboratories across the country. Many coal labs already contain the required staffing as well as testing equipment needed to begin operations in environmental as well as analytical testing services. If you are looking to make the switch please feel free to contact RightPath Industries and see how our team of experts my be able to help you.
REACH Compliance and Lack of Competition
As many of our customers and fellow distributors and manufacturers know when attempting to distribute certain products into the EU that product on many occasions needs to be REACH registered and follow REACH compliance. To the small distribution firms this eliminates them from being competitive in the open market in certain geographical locations such as the EU due to the relatively high cost and complexity with securing such registrations. In doing so these markets in the EU are now polarized with only large scale primary producers in the marketplace being able to absorb these associated costs. The development of REACH over the past few years and its intended consequence was to allow greater visibility into what materials were coming into the EU, where they were coming from and allowing citizens greater access to substance information. However as quoted recently in Chemical Watch,
“Another issue, says Ueapme, is that the costs of REACH “clearly exceed” the benefits of citizens having access to more substance information, and a stronger focus on how such information can be better used by citizens is needed.
Cefic has yet to publish its comments on the review. But speaking to Chemical Watch at a UN chemicals meeting earlier this month, its director general, Marco Mensink, said the cost of registration for big companies is “already huge”, and for small companies the cost can “significantly affect profits”.
As you can imagine the costs for small scale distributors relative to the bottom line can be significant. In many cases REACH registrations for certain products can cost upwards and over $100,000. This only further causes the EU market into isolation. Hopefully in the future the benefits of REACH can be re-evaluated and a better system for the importation of chemicals into the EU is on the horizon.
How to use our Website?
We have taken a look at other chemical and laboratory supply companies and decided that not every page needed to have 300 links and steer your all over the place. What we wanted was something complete, concise and to the point when looking for a product you may need. All that is needed to find a product on our website is to simple go to the search box at the top or lower right hand side of the page and type in the chemical name of the product you are looking for or the CAS number. You can also click on products and scroll through our offerings as well. We have done our very best at RightPath Industries to get you to the chemical you may need as quickly as possible. Please feel free to contact us today to lower your cost of goods for high purity solvents, acids and general chemicals all across the United States