Climate project: Dr Peter Cook holds sandstone from the Otway Basin, where 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide has been stored underground.
Photo: Glen McCurtayne
July 7, 2008
IT IS technology vital to the Government’s hopes of cutting greenhouse emissions from Australia’s huge coal-fired power stations: capturing carbon dioxide from the polluting stations and burying it deep underground.
Australia’s first trial of geosequestration in the Otways reached its first milestone last week — 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide was successfully stored two kilometres underground in a depleted natural gas field.
Scientists from the Co-operative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies hope to increase that to 100,000 tonnes next year, while continuing to monitor the local geology.
The centre’s chief executive, Dr Peter Cook, who is overseeing the $40 million project, is confident that the day will come when much of the carbon dioxide produced from large industrial sources can be buried.
See the complete article here in Australia’s The Age.
Ok here is my question: What about the long term effects of such a thing? One of the biggest complaints about radioactive hazardous waste disposal is that there is no confidence in predictions of long term stability of the burial site.
Take for example water, how do we know that this formation won’t become water saturated, and that the water will dissolve CO2 into the water and carry it elsewhere only to be released into the atmosphere again? Or how do we know that the system won’t vent the CO2 back to the surface gradually due to displacement or other geologic action?
I’ll point out that CO2 is a heck of a lot more reactive and soluble than glass encapsulated nuclear waste, yet nobody seems to think a thing about it.
In my opinion, the premise of CO2 burial seems absurd not only because of the lack of supporting evidence for certain climate change, but also due to it’s lack of foresight as to the effects of the burial scheme.