Challenges of carbon sequestration

Posted on December 3, 2007. Filed under: Carbon, Coal, Global Warming |

The listserve focus_solar has an interesting dialog on carbon sequestration. It began with this letter to the editor by Joel H. Goodman, M. Architecture diploma, MIT; former assistant professor of architecture at the U. of Minnesota:

Coal trains to Wisconsin, to burn coal in Wisconsin, and then capture the CO2 carbon dioxide pollution at the coal plants, and build CO2 pipelines out of Wisconsin, to pump the CO2 back to the coal mine areas to be injected into permanent geologic storage-sequestration. The politicians recently signed “…we must begin to take action now…” in the Nov. 15, 2007 “Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord”, organized by the Midwest Governors Association; and it appears to depend on coal fired carbon capture and construction of new CO2 pipelines to out of state geologic storage.

If large scale geologic carbon sequestration works, the hope is that it can be applied to the many coal plants being constructed and planned, in the USA, India, China, and globally, for example, the two 615 MW Oak Creek coal units now being constructed south of Milwaukee.

However, these are recent published technical expert comments: “Large-scale commercial carbon capture and sequestration have yet to be successfully demonstrated”; and “There’s no easy technological fix to deal with carbon capture and sequestration”.

Niels Wolter commented with this quote from a paper titled The War on Coal: Think Outside the (Coal) Pits:

“In other words, sequestering just 10% of the world’s fossil-fuel combustion CO2 would require an industry whose throughput would have to 1.3 times what the oil industry, with its vast distribution network and immense network of wells, storage tankers, and storage locations. Moreover, both the sheer scale and cost (trillions of dollars?) of the project remain unknown, as are the safety and operating reliability conditions (see the details below of safety risks associated with sequestration). Despite all this, this project would reduce emissions by only 10%! There’s no reasonable perspective by which sequestration can make enough of a dent in coal’s carbon emissions without significant improvements in technology.”


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carbon sequestration is also in the Cap and Trade bill (h.r.2454) and they plan to pump millions of tons of CO2 into the earth. Don’t you think this sounds unsafe? I just wrote about it on my blog here at WordPress. FaithfulinPrayer

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