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Germany and Lignite: A Love Story

Noah Rettberg

Monday, January 23, 2023

Chris Keefer  0:00  

Welcome back to decouple. Today I'm joined by a returning guest, Noah Rettberg. And we are going to be talking about the protests that are sort of seizing public attention right now at the loser wrath, lignite mine. And I think, moving on to explore some of the socio economic cultural background in terms of the German relationship with coal and more specifically lignite. So, you know, hang on to your hats, folks, this is going to be interesting. Just as a brief intro, Noah has introduced himself many times on this podcast before. But in brief, as of our last interview a couple of months ago, a physics laboratory technician and training, and a diehard member of nuclear area fighting for the reopening of the three close nuclear plants and the imminent shutdown in April of the remaining three German nuclear plants. So know a warm welcome back to the podcast.


Noah Rettberg  1:02  

Thank you. May I by now, right crispy first personal go to German on my resume?


Chris Keefer  1:09  

Absolutely, absolutely. To do a good job and your English is excellent. And you seem to be quite, quite well informed on a whole variety of topics. And I hope today is no different. So no. We just saw on Twitter today, Mark Nelson and a bunch of others have posted this rather humorous video of German police officers bogged down in some very viscous mud, sort of being taunted by climate protesters and sort of pushed over in the mud. At I believe this is the loot Sarath, lignite mine. So looks at at this, maybe the village about to be torn down. And then in case you know, better than me, tell me what we'll start again with their kind of present day story. And we're going to drift into the context. But catch us up on the latest news from mortar.


Noah Rettberg  2:01  

So the mine is actually called Godzilla loot. So that is just a very little and I mean, really a very little village, which is in the way of the expansion of this Gods Viola mine that were planned several ways of extending this, this mine, enormous. And basically, they went for the smallest possible extension that they think they needed. And this extension necessitates tearing down the little village of Luzzatto. But what this also means is that there is a lot of a lot of area which they planned to tear down and also mine which isn't going to be torn down in mind. So a lot of news about this very, very little village that is going to be turned torn down. But there are like real towns that have gotten saved. It wasn't was decided against tearing them down. And I think as early as late as 2017. The red green government of the state of North Wind with failure, planned to use lignite coal until 2020 45. So this would have necessitated tearing down significantly more towns and villages mining three times more coal than the extension is currently planned for. So they are doing a comparatively mild extension of the Godzilla mine I think


Chris Keefer  3:35  

I saw some footage of Minister habeck really emphasizing that this was a you know a concession essentially that you know more destruction had been avoided. And that this was sort of the painful price Germany had to pay for for the energy crisis it's under right now. But he must be in a you must be in a tough and tough predicament being a kind of green member and cabinet minister.


Noah Rettberg  3:57  

I'm certainly not someone that is on the side of what happened regularly. But she is right. In this point in the this was planned to mine three times more area to tear up three times more area and it reached several towns which are orders of magnitude larger than tiny loads a lot. So in this point is actually quite right. And also one thing that he is right about is that the coal they are mining in this in mind right now and will basically be extracted by 2030. There this is not so many greens in Germany think this is like the Greens betraying their promise to phase out coal by 2030. But I would be surprised if recorded they are current that they will be dealing up with this extension will be still there in 2030 the dots Viola mine is it currently is has probably around the 100 million tons of coal left. And with this extension, they will get another 280 million tons of coal. And drawing above 270 million tons necessitates ripping out this little village Luzzatto in this little village of looks at art has gotten such a symbolic character we're just doesn't even know it. There are like, a couple of houses there. And it's


Chris Keefer  5:26  

kind of existing on this. It's like Peninsula like sticking out into the mind. I don't know if you can take a moment like we've covered it before Jesse Freeston went on the thieves Becker tour, you know, some shots of of a park, I think that overlooks the mind. But for those of our viewers and listeners that don't have a good conception of this, I mean, there were some very stark images of I believe it's the Draga coal extracting machines, the world's largest land vehicle, if unless I'm wrong on that, you know, excavating with a police line in front, and protesters, you know, very dramatic lighting, you know, I think some of these images, and just the symbolism of it all is is electrifying. But for those who haven't seen the images, or don't know a lot about the minds, like, these are some of the biggest holes in the ground in Europe, from what I understand, yes,


Noah Rettberg  6:12  

they draw light, like 400 500 meters deep, wow. And go in this deep necessitates been this bit, there is a limit how steep the band of the mind can be. And there is a limit how much room the excavators in there need to maneuver in order to be economical. So proposals were made by the V, which is like, supposedly an institute, but basically, if Imagine if Marty Jacobson were an institute, and we're German, and they made like this little study where they talked about how that they don't need to go farther out, and just need to go deeper, because when they go deeper, there's now more coal deep down, but they can't because they, as I said, there's a limit to how steep the bank of the mind 20 and growing deeper, would necessitate growing larger even so, and also it would remove area to maneuver inside. And it would put further constraints regarding pumping out groundwater there. So they made like a lot of fuss about saving just this little village because it has been come such a symbolic issue just to save this unimportant village. I'm sorry to call it an unimportant for like the people that used to live there some time ago, but in the whole context of it compared to the people that will die from the fumes that will receive electricity that they need or that will suffer from the climate change course, but the villages are important, but they made a point out of saving justice Village.


Chris Keefer  8:01  

Okay, and just describe briefly what the protests have been looking like.


Noah Rettberg  8:05  

So this little village has been literally occupied by some medical protesters quite a while ago. So and they got in there they prepared like for effectively a seach they dark tunnels so that they could get in and out of the village, even if it was surrounded by police. And wow, yes. So when when our W E, which is owner of mine and power plants disconnected the electricity to this village because nobody was living there legally. They built their small solar power plant in November, probably the least. Ey any power plant ever had a bunch of solar panels running for two months in the darkest parts of German winter. It ROI 0.1 and probably 10,000 grams co2 per kilowatt hour like ridiculous building. And it now lies trampled and demolished on the floor to never be used again. I'd actually burning diesel diesel genset would probably be better than using the solar panel for just two months in the middle of winter. But they tried to better hold out there. They built roadblocks, that trenches, so they prepared this basically like little switch and tried to hold out there. And also, probably a lot of more moderated protesters came and tried to hinder the police of clearing this village by just keeping them occupied protesting outside of the village. A lot of famous German celebrities arrived and voiced their opposition to the coal mining and supported the protesters there but the Police did their job, they cleared the village. Several days ago, they had more problems clearing out the tunnels that were dark under the village. So I think they finished that two days ago. But now even the tunnels are cleared out a little longer for


Chris Keefer  10:18  

other people there people hiding in the tunnels as ever people


Noah Rettberg  10:20  

hiding longer in the tunnels than in the village itself. Wow. So the police cleared the village before they cleared the tunnels how


Chris Keefer  10:30  

just if you know how elaborate or the tunnels because you know tell us can be super dangerous.


Noah Rettberg  10:36  

And given off the pictures that I have seen, they're probably not very technology. Tele advanced, I would have not gone in there. Probably those people knowing them would have have seriously endangered themself and police the team there to clear them out. Especially since it has been raining. a shitload for the last month in German soil is like really fucking red right now. And barely can hold itself together, which has been a problem for those tunnels, but also because at the edge of those minds, a lot of people have been protesting, not just legally occupying the village. A lot of protesters that went right to the edge of the mine, which in general, but especially in times like this where it is so wet, is in danger of collapsing. So those people were in danger of falling into the 40 5060 meter at the first part really, really dangerous. What those protesters did there even even just more moderate ones that stayed out of this illegally occupied village.


Chris Keefer  11:44  

Right. iconic images, though. So again, I mentioned a tweet from Mark Nelson. He was saying that, I think in 2022, the equivalent of 37 terawatt hours of energy came out of this specific lignite mine. And Germany, of course, is closing the remainder of its its world class nuclear fleet, which represents about 30 terawatt hours. Is the the coal to nuclear comparison. A useful one I mean, does it fulfill a similar role on the German grid.


Noah Rettberg  12:12  

So both lignite coal and nuclear were used in load following mode and Germany, but low total was used to load follow significantly more severe. So coal was used more as the dirty partner of renewables. And nuclear was more used as the as the stable foundation of the grid. That only throttled down in times of severe renewable overproduction. So since since nuclear is the cheapest source of firm power in Germany, nuclear will be the last one to throttle down if we have too much renewables on the German grid. And so, coal Of course, there's a lot of more load following especially since the fuel but a co2 certificates are really expensive. So in terms of hydrogen production, they were shut down the coal plants, like cold shut down their plants or throttle them down. Also, the poor fleet has, of course, a lot more installed capacity than nuclear fleet, even though that nuclear fleet made comparable amounts of electricity 66 terawatt hours 100 fleet night, late night fleet has probably I think, around 23 data watts, while the nuclear fleet and 2021 had 8.2 data points. Now that's the nuclear is gone. Of course, something has to replace the nuclear and this will be for now just coal in the future, or combination of coal and renewable. So I


Chris Keefer  13:55  

guess two things. There's there's the plan shutdown of the remainder of the German fleet, which I guess ran on its usual few fuel rods probably slightly lower capacity for the last three or four months. Is it like there's now you know, we've had a very mild winter, from what I understand the gas reserves are looking in good shape, the prices are way down. Do you think this is the perfect storm? I think a lot of people were hoping that you know, the energy crisis would bring Germany to its senses. Do you think there's going to be a sort of lull and and a kind of false hope that the energy crisis is over? Which will lead to the very stupid decision of closing those remaining plants? Or is there a chance for common sense to prevail I know there's a big demonstration coming up. I believe in Berlin in the not too distant future pronuclear demonstration but just tell me a little bit about that context before we head into the the historical relationship of Germany with with lignite and coal


Noah Rettberg  14:48  

So, last half of November 1 Half of December was like really cold and basically no wind for don't move to Florida for four months. And during that time, might look really bad, we rapidly lost inventory in our gas storage going from almost full to 80. In just a couple of weeks. electricity and gas prices were high. Carbon emissions were high basically, other costs lead purpose, basically running balls out vertically towards all the time. And then the second half of December, it was warm, it was really warm, we have having double the double degree digits last month for REITs. And also a lot of rent. So this is what's the saving grace for, for our energy policy. Because as the West we got like really high amounts of rent and the astral assumption plummeted as temperature rose. So did the situation on the grid and on the gas market. Relax. Yeah, and so the Mr. Hubbard's plan, let's let's hope for a nice winter. So far, I think it's been looking really good. This combined with reduction in production. Also, many private consumers having reduced their consumption of gas has so far relaxed and energy scarcity in Europe. It's not like gas and gasoline and diesel is cheap again. But the situation has been improving. And we we didn't get the worst. So yes. So far, I think it has been looking really good. Will this lead to more unsustainable energy choices being made? I think, yes, it was, if the situation would have stayed as worse than it was in the beginning of December, this would have put a lot more pressure on the German government to save those nuclear plants. And a lot more people in business and politics in Germany and other countries would have looked more to nuclear energy, especially now that the France if somewhat gotten their shit together. So yes, I think one can say that German energy policy green energy policy got saved by a mild winter.


Chris Keefer  17:24  

I mean, I guess the reason I brought it up is because I mean, it was really kind of the decision to run the plants was made, I think, out of real fear from the stress test that their closure could result, you know, with unfavorable weather conditions and potential, you know, blackouts and real damage to the economy. So I'm just worried now that, you know, with this easy winter, that lack of urgency is going to lead the German political apparatus to make the bad decision of shutting down the fleet. But that's probably self evident and obvious. And I wanted to spend the remainder of the time we have together just understanding a little bit more about the history of coal in Germany, you were sharing with me a song, a song of the coal miners, I believe, and there's a whole cultural around it. I mean, this was the fossil fuel, I think that underpinned German industrialization. And, you know, you guys don't have much in the way of petroleum or gas resources, as I understand. So let's, let's chat a little bit about the historical German relationship with coal.


Noah Rettberg  18:25  

Coal is basically with an exception of peds. But I think we don't take it really serious as a fossil fuel. But coal is kind of the first real fossil fuel that we used when we industrialized, and many people see the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, not in the late 18th century, when the first real work in steam engines appeared, but rather in the beginning of the 17th, or even 16th century, when we started mining coal. And right around the time also, coal mining in Germany started. So I think in the in the discussions about the importance of coal in the Anglosphere, there is a lot of focus on inland how light coal overtook wood in the 17th century in England as a primary source of energy, and how that allowed England and economic growth that would not have seen if it stayed at wood. Then similar things happened in Germany, but slightly delayed. Keep in mind Germany was the hosting ground for 30 years war. We lost like a third to half of our population in 17th century. So a lot of places of Germany suffered from severe annual population and not a scarcity of energy, the scarcity of humans and the scarcity of energy. My home northern Hesher headlight lost 70% of its native population, you will the 30 Years War And so solution was that a lot of preferably Protestant immigrants from other countries like France to fill up the gap, but also, around the time we saw the beginning of coal mining in Germany. Also in Maya regions. We have several small coal mines here we are part of one of three large lignite deposits in Germany. There is one at Rhine River, one at the elbow River in the east of Germany. And we are right in the central German, lignite deposit. So there were several smaller lignite mines and pits here. And they didn't last as long because they were small, they quickly grew and economical in the aftermath of World War Two, and the last were ran from closed in 1970. And the last in the region of Kassar closed in 1980, when the board will plant closed, was an interesting bottom was supposed to be replaced by nuclear plant, but never happened settling. But the most biggest are the lignite deposits in the very west of Germany, at the Rhine River, and also at the Elbe River in Saxony. So, the lignite deposits close to the Rhine River and they are pretty similar in distance to the bituminous coal deposits at work River, which is a tributary river of the Rhine. So was probably pretty famous. It's where the heart of German industrialization happened in the 19th century. Even my Germany is rather decentralized and polycentric a country so it's not when we talk about the will be in the heart of German industrialization. It's not like there is all of German industry, but there was a lot of German, there are other centers of German industry. And there was also a lot of German industry spread out. So don't think of Germany as a country where a lot of stuff is centrally located. A lot of stuff in Germany is spread out and polycentric it this is the general theme of Germany. And but in the world, we're basically our largest deposits of bituminous coal, black coal hardcore, however, headed off bituminous straw, we didn't have a lot of anthracite coal. anthracite is really high quality coal that you find in inland and Pennsylvania, which allows you to build like really high powered boilers, ships and locomotives, and the bituminous coal that we will refine the world is bituminous robots of a rather poor quality. So in World War Two, Germany was cut off and World War One, Germany was taught from importing anthracite coal from inland and we had to build had run. The high power density boilers are warships with the crappy bituminous troll from the rural area. The slack buildup in the boilers clogs up the engines and ruin the engines. So when the High Seas Fleet rolled out to meet the British fleet at the famous Battle of Jutland, after the battle was over, basically all the warships limped back into port at half power. Because boilers were so clogged up from the slack in there, that they couldn't properly run it and brief the endurance and the high quality, anthracite growth, the British were burning, because there's so little ash in it, it doesn't produce a lot of snack. So the boilers are much cleaner and don't get caught up as easily. So that's a general theme drum roll is not the best call. But we have a lot of it.


Chris Keefer  23:50  

This this theme is fascinating because, you know, Germany is coming late to the scene in terms of nationhood, and essentially missing the boat on colonization really had to depend on its own natural resources or, you know, be at risk of, you know, the much more powerful British navy, blockading them from vital things like, you know, Peruvian guano or Chilean nitrates for fertilizer, they didn't have colonies that could that could feed Germany, from outside, but also for gunpowder. And then again, as I understand, in the interwar period in World War Two, the production of synth fuels from coal because of a lack of petroleum resources, and there's even the idea I believe that God is at World War One or World War Two. I think World War One was started because Germany was trying to form an alliance with Turkey in order to get at its petroleum reserves. So Germany has constantly been frustrated, I think, in terms of its ambitions by a lack of indigenous resources and been you know, incredibly inventive and ingenious in making up for those whether it's with you know, Fritz Hubber and Carl Bosch, you know, creating the world's first haber bosch nitrate plants or or with, you know, synth fuels or other other other means of sort of it reminds me of the French like we do not have ideas or do not have oil. But we have ideas, the Germans have done something similar in a number of occasions with a number of critical inputs for modern civilization.


Noah Rettberg  25:17  

But I have to interject there, Germany did have colonies, I mean, we were really late, didn't done a lot of it don't like all of the shame of having colonies and brutalizing people there. But none of the actual benefit that there was never a lot of money that wasn't applied to British people who like genocided a bunch of people in their qualities, but at least they got the money, monetary benefit, which committed crimes in Namibia and Tanzania, but we didn't have any benefits or all of the shame none of the reward. So German colonialism was like doubly embarrassing in that in that sense. But Germany, especially when it found itself during war was like cut off through the sea and federal German war in 1870. The French navy blockaded the German coast and world one the British Navy brought hit the German coast. And similarly, in World War Two, Germany was cut off from international great, and we had to do a lot of stuff ourselves, and that always involved mining a lot of coal, and also being creative in using that coal. So but but also this shifted the coal that we were using more from the bituminous coal to the lignite coal. So as I said, the tombs for Germany had wasn't as put aside to anthracite coal that inland had, but it was still at half decent coal. So when we lost World War One, this is basically what we paid our reparations in was what we would have sold. So not not just that we sold coal for money, that there are provisions in the peace deal Hungary resigned after World War One. And there are like last there retarding that Czechoslovakia has to allow Hungary to import coal from Germany. And so we did that we exported coal, for money to have money to pay reparations, and debt, but we also just paid reparations straight in coal. And when we failed to make due on that, the French army marched in and occupied rural areas, whether bituminous coal was mined. And this even though we had bituminous coal made bituminous troll stares for Germans itself was we needed to sell it and we needed to pay reparations with it. So after World War One, we see this increase in lignite mining and lignite is significantly inferior to bituminous coal, but it's cheap. We have a lot of it and other countries don't want it so that we can use it for ourselves. So lignite mining rose dramatically in the aftermath of World War One in the Weimar Republic. So for four reasons to achieve economic and energy autarchy in order to have have more energy and because it was cheap, also, improvements in excavator technology made lignite mining a lot more economically viable. So since lignite is so low in energy, density, wallet night, not refined lignite, it doesn't really make sense to mine it conventionally, like an underground mine attempts to do that were made especially in decentralized mines, producing coal for their near town or village at my region, where lignite was mined underground. But what was far more economical was with this big open pit mines and as we build that ever increasingly large mechanical excavators, powered by steam, then powered by electricity and diesel engines, and it allowed us to deal with to build huge open pit mines to extract the often meters to double digit meters thick layers of late night that lay 2050 6070 meters below the surface. So this made the night really viable, really cheap. And this drove an increase in lignite Hughes Germany at the same time technologies to refine lignite were developed so did not was used it was it it mattered less whether you use entrust bituminous lignite coal, just matter that lignite doesn't really make sense to transport it because it's so low on energy density so you always burn it where you get it. But what was also with us was refining the late night toning the late night wall at night into late night retreads by Is the washing it and drying it and pressing it so that you take the wheelie crumbly, purely at night which has a certain energy density of eight mega joules per kilogram to those refined Chad's chlorine in at 20 mega joules per kilogram. So, we take something which is slight third and turn it into something that is superior towards an energy density. So, this was one step of purification. Another step was turning the lignite into board reports, which is code but it couldn't be used for metallurgical processes, but it could be used for home heating or for processes and small boilers in smaller companies to get industrial heat. And then we started turning it into and refined fuels. Since we let all not just good quality tool, but also oil turning the lignite coal into synthetic fuels was developed. And it started in the Weimar Republic and then increasingly more common in Nazi Germany to turn the lignite basically the lowest quality of fuel that we have into refined diesel and gasoline and kerosene, and paraffin and later even synthetic butter.


Chris Keefer  31:16  

What the Germans ate lignite


Noah Rettberg  31:19  

it's most instead of margarine, and it was first served to people living in concentration camps. Oh my god. And then it was as a war situation deteriorated it was was well served to the German general public as like there was a scarcity of cooking and eating oils in Germany at the time whether the, from the beginning of the war so at first just the the prisoners started and then everybody got the synthetic margarine made from lignite.


Chris Keefer  31:51  

Every episode has to have like a weird and zany fact something esoteric and that one I think takes takes the cake when talking particularly about this, you know, close relationship that you know modern German anyways had with lignite. That's, that's fascinating. I always like to get these sort of vivid verbal descriptions of big pieces of infrastructure or a mining process. So we've kind of flirted around with this a bit already in this episode, but you mentioned these larger and larger excavators and I just if you can give us a description a of what they look like be what they're powered by understand they're kind of got a big electric cable coming through them and see in a higher taking the coal back from these huge you know, I think it's like seven tonnes per shovel on this big rotating wheel. How you get all that coal back to the nearby coal plant, I think you told me


Noah Rettberg  32:39  

so. I think the first really big excavator was relied backwards on a chain that was to add over the Emerald banks of the mines. Those were the first ones basically lighted 1220 meters high in the early 20, hundreds, nearly 20 century. And later we got the bucket wheel excavators and they grew progressively larger so they were in the 10 to 20 meter range route 1900. And now they are turning 50 meters tall, the biggest ones we had several tries mining lignite underground. The most successful attempt was the Moyane, a bit underground lignite mine. And during World War Two, we tried to mine lignite underground 400 meter deep lignite deposits that were 70 meters thick. So this is the fitness of those really big lignite deposits 70 meters of pure coal, I mean, scrap coal, but 70 meters. So I think this kind of answers the question, Why does Germany booth those big machines to dig up this crappy coal? Because there's a lot of it on us on one place at 70 meters, on some areas, but also 1220 on us. So attempts at growing like really deep and 400 meters deep to the lignite underground, were abandoned after World War Two. And what we then did was grow into overdrive, of building these open pit mines increasingly bitter, increasingly bitter allow us also to grow increasingly deeper, because there's a limit to how deep you can go depends on how big the mind is small mind can't get as deep. So there's also what's happened in the in the late 90s. When we started in the west of Germany, to put like several of the smaller pits together into one. It's also where the gods Viola pit, which is the one that has been in the news came from, it started out as at several smaller pits, and then those grew together and in In 2000, there was the town of Godzilla, in the middle of it, and also a highway. And then they tore down the town and the highway and unified all those smaller plates into a bigger one. And that became the art Viola network named after this town, which doesn't exist for like now 20 years. And when they did this, they also built those 200 over 200 meters tall. Budget view estimators. So this is basically the pinnacle of lignite mining technology. It won't grow bigger or deeper than this, not just not because we chant, but because we won't, but we are not opening any new pits anymore. It's just a question of how much will we extend the existing ones? We can extend them for quite a while. We are not going to build new pits built no lignite mines in Germany, it is basically politically impossible. Right now, given the political situation societal retaliation Germany, before Germans would decide okay, we might start building new lignite equipment again, you will start facing it but nuclear. So this is a dying industry. It's just a question of how long will take because West Germany had alternatives to lead to lignite coal. West Germany had two big regions to mine bituminous coal, the world and the Saarland and West Germany was prosperous and had access to international oil markets. West Germany quickly developed a nuclear sector in West Germany important it really started importing natural gas from Norway, and the Netherlands and East Germany did not have those opportunities. In the 50s and 60s, East Germany thought importing a lot of oil and gas from the Soviet Union as a kind of friendship among rather countries. But as the Soviet found out that their own prosperity soon dependent on selling that gas and oil to the international market. And they quickly also started limiting the selling of subsidized oil to their brother countries to basically the legal minimum. So if Germany twiddly lost the chance to import oil, so it was the amount of oil limit from the Soviet Union limited and international oil it wouldn't die because didn't have the money. So East Germany started to rely on ever more on lignite, which was the only thing that East Germany really had that no gas had no oil, self miniscule amount, but it also had an opportunist role. So East Germany had to rely on lignite, but the more severe its economy brought. So in, in the 50s was basically meant they had to run steam engines on lignite and running steam engines on lignite, with the same effect that I said the German navy got the plots up the grades of the engine. So they had a lot of problem with the wear and tear of those steam locomotives, which was the one that ran them with low quality fuel. And when maybe the advantage was electrification of rail lines, since they could turn lignite into electricity, but they also were severely late to the electrification of rail line. So what they tried to do then, was to turn lignite into synthetic fuels and also synthetic gas. So what what they did even more than making synthetic fuels for the turbines and their diesel locomotives, was turning lignite into methane. So the belt methanation plant and turned lignite into methane, which they burned in natural gas peaker plants, gas boilers, and in the chemical industry, and also the purification of all this lignite left them with a lot of lignite tar and they turned that lignite tar into roads so in the asphalt for the for the roads, but they also turned that lignite tar into cars. So my car so the I don't know what's in this weather Kawasaki. The outer body of the car is made from steel. Some cars are made from aluminum. Some cars are made from fancy carbon fiber. East Germany had none of those so they made cars basically from lignite tar. The the bodywork of the car was made from lignite tar holds together. Bye bye cotton scraps imported from the Soviet Union. Wow. That's the reason why East German towers are not safe against lightning. In the normal charts made from steel, lightning strikes it doesn't care. German car struck by lightning it starts burning which wasn't made from like lignite resin. Also East Germany is the only place in the world which ever tried turning lead night into synthetic metallurgical coal.


Chris Keefer  40:31  

And this would be similar to the lignite brick process, compressing it Bay tar


Noah Rettberg  40:35  

more advanced because you'd have to get all the slack or the ash or dirt out of it. So when you bet the lignite bricks still contains all the ash it burns a lot of ash residue and you can't have that in your in your synthetic Metro. So the boat lightest elaborate process, where they turn the lignite into smaller and then captured and condensed, the small and compressed or condensed and captured snowed into code to make effective use synthetical Metro only temporary that ever did


Chris Keefer  41:07  

this German ingenuity at its finest. Now, it's only made


Noah Rettberg  41:11  

it to normal sense in a country that can't import anything.


Chris Keefer  41:14  

Exactly. Yeah, exactly.


Noah Rettberg  41:16  

So it's Germany that really depends on lignite. In the end 70% of the primary and 70% of their primary energy was lignite. And compare that to West Germany. Only 9% of restaurant his primary energy was lignite in 2019 90 14%, of Western Germany's primary energy was nuclear. So in West Germany, nuclear was like 60%, larger than lignite. At the end of Estonia at the end of East Germany for reunification, did not was like 70% of all East German primary energy. Germany, it would have never won World War Two due to a lack of oil at World One is a different story, which was the importance of oil was lower back then. But in World War Two was first kind of partially mechanized conflated. Everything started running on oil that wasn't stationary. Everything that was mobile run on oil, everything stationary, still went on coal.


Chris Keefer  42:20  

So there's no blitzkrieg with lignite. Yeah, that


Noah Rettberg  42:23  

was that was what they tried. They couldn't even even though they turned like law of lignite into oil, and they did this increasingly desperate and increasingly small batch productions. At the end they had like, like dozens to hundreds of tiny cell fuel plants all over the country made crimson fuel from locally sourced lignite because all the beach plants that bed pumped into shipped by the Roiland American Air Force.


Chris Keefer  42:49  

Unreal, well, we gotta leave it somewhere. So I think we'll leave it here. But again, thank you, Noah took far too long, very illuminating. Now this was intended to be a short but you once again brought so much quality content to the table that I think it justifies it. So until we meet again. No, thanks again for coming on. And I think we'll be following up on the upcoming protests. And the story of hopefully the saving of these remaining three nuclear plants in Germany. We're on a roll Diablo Canyon. Pickering. Let's let's save some more nuke plants wouldn't be blocked. Okay, my friend. We'll talk soon



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