Your tax dollars at work – money down the carbon hole

Graphic: Lawrence Berkeley Labs

The Department of Energy awarded $126.6 million in grants today to projects that will pump 1 million tons of CO2 into underground caverns at sites in California and Ohio. The grants are subject to approval from Congress. When private money is included, the amount spent on the projects will be about $180 million over 10 years, the DOE said. So there’s still time to write a scathing letter to your US Senator or Congressperson to tell them they’d may as well just pour money down the hole and save the trouble.

Will you have carbon dioxide underfoot? Lawrence Berkeley Lab studies the locations of power plants, oil wells, and geological formations for storing carbon dioxide. Hopefully DOE will divert a little bit of money towards LBL to help in making a US map that actually represents our borders and Great lakes well. Puget Sound and much of the Great Lakes are smoothed into oblivion. Massachusetts has gained a landfill in the ocean. Maybe this is the “homogeneity adjusted” US Map? Maybe this is what the USA will look like in the future once we bloat the underworld with CO2?

Even some environmental groups call carbon sequestration “a scam”, claiming that it is too expensive and uncertain to be competitive with non-coal alternatives like wind and solar.

Of course the concept is so simple, thanks to DOE kids web, even a child can understand it. Got something you don’t want mom to see? is your room a mess? Shove it under the bed!

I just hope nobody drops a shipment of expired Mentos down the wrong hole.

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May 8, 2008 10:59 pm

Pumping it into Oil fields that are in production can actually be a good thing – miscible CO2 floods that improve ultimate recovery of oil. Of course, the CO2 actually gets recycled around, so the net storage isn’t so great.
Depends on oil properties, pressure etc.

Michael Ronayne
May 9, 2008 1:10 am

They don’t want solutions that work! This is just another form of wealth redistribution from the productive to the wage-parasites who keep the Washington scum in office.
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
H. L. Menken (1920)

May 9, 2008 4:09 am

I think this is a great solution, and possibly the best way to control CO2 levels
– if we skeptics turn out to be wrong (and there’s always that possibility), it’s good to have a silver-bullet solution ready to pull-out & save us from impending doom…!

May 9, 2008 4:57 am

We’re counting on you, America.
Some big honeycomb holes attracting undesirable attention down here in Victoria, Australia.
Lead out…!

May 9, 2008 5:27 am

they shouldn’t just sequester it. they should seriously pursue the Los Alamos concept that says it’s theoretically possible to turn it into a liquid fuel.

May 9, 2008 5:36 am

Hmm… are memories so short?? Anyone recall that lake in Africa that had a a supersaturated layer of dissolved CO2 at the lower levels and then underwent a thermal flip-flop and promptly killed many people and livestock with the large release of CO2?
This plan by the DOE is incredibly stupid; the exploding soda bottle is exactly the picture that should be sent in every email to the Sec. of DOE.

May 9, 2008 5:39 am

A number of “dry” natural gas wells produce CO2, and apparently that’s source of the CO2 that goes into the economy to power Diet Coke and what not. (Diet Coke et al drinkers – where would you like your CO2 to come from? The local power plant? Your car’s exhaust? A hole in the ground? Incinerated failed warming predictions?)
It may well be that pumping power plant exhaust back underground is a sensible thing to do.
One thing I’ve wondered, but not enough to brush off my Chemistry skills to investigate, is reacting CO2 with silica, i.e. CO2 + SiO2 == SiC + 2O2. Silicon carbide is a nice stable ceramic, though if it could be produced by genetically engineered plants, the result would probably be SiC dust which would rival volcanic dust for abrasiveness.
I figure plants already take up silica (one horsetail is called “Scouring Rush”), and they take apart CO2. I don’t know if an enzyme is strong enough to split SiO2.
Of course, this presupposes we want CO2 to “go away”.
Perhaps SiS2 as a sulphur sink? No, it decomposes in water. There are more interesting things to do with sulphur anyway.

May 9, 2008 5:40 am

You’d think it’s be easier to , oh, grow some trees…
OR actually spend serious money on energy research – wanna save the environment – well, reduce CO2 anyway? Come up with a better fission ( or still better) practical fusion reactor.

Andrew Blackburn
May 9, 2008 6:13 am

More to the point, where is the evidence that this will make any difference? Is the amount of C to be “sequestered” statistically significant? Wouldn’t we be better off spending that $180m on building some new nuclear power plants, which would not only decrease carbon emissions but NO2 and SO2 emissions as well by displacing coal and natural gas power?

May 9, 2008 6:49 am

Here’s a radical idea, take the $.6 out of the $126.6 and transfer it to NOAA so they can do a complete on site audit of the USCHN network. Oh, and don’t spend the rest, just issue a “rebate” to taxpayers.

May 9, 2008 6:53 am

Of course the enviros are against carbon sequestration, the point of many of them is to shut down energy use. (If wind energy ever really gets going, they will discover the scenic and environmental abomination that it is, at least I hope so.)
I see nothing wrong at all (except the inescusable map) with this small exploratory research project.
For once I disagree strongly with whats up with watts!

Dan Evens
May 9, 2008 7:07 am

Hi Anthony
I think I understand why the more extreme of the environmental groups are against CO2 sequestration. They would hate it if it worked more than if it failed. They are afraid it would allow the industrialists and capitalists to escape their plans. For that sort of activists, CO2 sequestration has no up side, no possible win. If there were a cheap, easy, safe, clean way to deal with carbon, we would not need the activists.
Me, I’m on the side of the industrialists and capitalists. I know who has extended life expectancies. I know who has improved my quality of life and who has the ability to do the same for the portions of the world still in grinding poverty. And it aint the anti-capitalist activists.
Yet, this sequestration thing is new. Your image of the coke bottle is something I think about. I’d like to see the results of a small scale test, then a medium scale test, someplace very far away from my house. Then I’ll think about whether I like the idea for places near my home.

May 9, 2008 7:13 am

Lake Nyos in Africa released a huge plume of dissolved CO2 in the 1980s killing 1700 people. I hope the carbon sequesterers know what they are doing …

Jeff Alberts
May 9, 2008 7:17 am

Obviously a Hansen-adjusted map. Guess I don’t live on an island any more.

Jon Jewett
May 9, 2008 7:24 am

Carbon sequestration may be an effective technique to enhance oil production. Unfortunately, we will never know if it is worthwhile as long as it is supported by government dollars.
Steamboat Jack

May 9, 2008 7:24 am

Look on the bright side. Congress and energy companies can say they are “doing something.” If that can hold off of decimating our economy with carbon caps (with a trillion dollar price tag) for even a year, it’s money well spent.

May 9, 2008 8:13 am

Supported by ‘government dollars’ is really supported by picking the pockets of the taxpayer.
C02 is plant food.

May 9, 2008 8:14 am

I have to agree with Clark on this one. Better they spend a small amount our taxes on these pilot projects than spend massive amounts on destroying our economy and standard of living.

May 9, 2008 8:34 am

We should figure out a way for cheap “liberal sequestration”.
Just drill for oil, when the fuel technology can compete without subsidies with oil, they will emerge as market leaders, simple as that.

May 9, 2008 8:34 am

Of course, when the next ice-age threatens to wipe us all out, we can just throw a few Mentos down the drill shafts & hey-presto problem solved!

May 9, 2008 8:38 am

In the new government command and control Marxist economy, many solutions, which make no sense, will be pursued to find the perfect disaster.

Retired Engineer
May 9, 2008 9:02 am

Do I have this right ? They will collect the CO2, and pump it into the ground. That has to take energy. Electricity. Which comes from power plants that produce CO2. If they use wind power, that just diverts energy from other power plants. Looks like a great way of making things worse.

Gary Gulrud
May 9, 2008 9:31 am

As Freeman Dyson pointed out, paper at Icecap, undisturbed soils are the best ‘sequestration’ of CO2 imaginable. Ethanol turns enviornmentalism on its head.
As we are all well aware by now, CO2 is magnificently soluble in groundwater. Hopefully, the DOE is creating carboys of appropriately ‘Big Dig’ proportions otherwise this project is truly insane.

Russ R.
May 9, 2008 9:46 am

CO2 is used very successfully to extract oil from wells with low pressure. It is in injected into the well to increase the pressure and bring up oil that would otherwise not enter the pump inlet. But the CO2 is also mixed into the oil, and does not stay underground to any significant extent.
This project is a waste of money, and is being done to soothe the anxious nerves of those that are too busy earning a living to understand the scam of AGW. It is typical Washington BS. Always look like you are doing something to “solve the problem”, and feed the media a story, of your valiant effort to save the world from the “phantom menace”.
In this case, that means throwing money down a hole, and smiling for the photo-op as you do it. If it has the “right spin”, it is a “win-win”. Except for the average taxpayer, who can never seem to make ends meet. I am currently getting way more government than I can afford, but it is the only part of my budget that I can’t cut back on. In the current economy, this is the kind of thing that will lead to a middle-class revolt. We could use some wisdom from the past, when this kind of reckless waste of public money was solved with a Guillotine.

Bill P
May 9, 2008 9:47 am

there’s still time to write a scathing letter to your US Senator or CongresspersonI suggest a more positive approach.
I just think we owe those guys a debt of gratitude for reducing the CO2 levels. Already they are bringing lower temperatures in the Antarctic, and cooling our feverish planet. I suggest we all bow our heads and paean those resourceful carbon traders.

Vic Sage
May 9, 2008 9:47 am

Are we going to see a man made one of these in the future?
“Lake Nyos is the most renowned of the numerous maars and basaltic cinder cones associated with the deeply dissected Mount Oku massif. The 1.2 x 1.9 km wide lake, seen here from the south, was the site of a gas-release event on August 21, 1986 that caused at least 1700 fatalities. Wave damage stripped the peninsula at the left of vegetation. The emission of around 1 cu km of magmatic carbon dioxide has been attributed to either non-volcanic overturn of stratified lake waters, to phreatic explosions, or to injection of hot gas into the lake. “

D Werme
May 9, 2008 9:52 am

The map of the US is pretty poor, but outline of the “major oil fields” is downright painful.

May 9, 2008 10:28 am

Considering that we had an ice age when CO2 levels were about 20x today’s levels, I honestly believe that this is complete nonsense. 1 million tons of CO2 is about one month’s worth of current emissions from Kilauea in Hawaii. In other words, it isn’t going to amount to a pinch of owl scat.
If you want to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, plant fast growing trees, turn it onto paper, and then bury the paper after use in an old coal mine. At least the carbon will have been used for something additive to the economy and it might turn into coal again someday.

Bruce Cobb
May 9, 2008 10:35 am

Instead of taking an entirely beneficial gas and pumping into underground caverns I have a better idea: how about taking all the AGW enviro-whackos, beginning with Gore and pump them underground instead? Problem solved.

Bill Illis
May 9, 2008 10:40 am

There is a very successful oil field CO2 sequestration project in Weyburn Canada. The US Department of Energy is also supporting this project (as the CO2 is coming from a coal gasification plant in North Dakota.)
26 million tons of CO2 (to be) sequestered, oil production is projected to increase 155 million barrels.
This oil field has a long history of other flood techniques and the project is being carefully studied. Papers have been published in Nature etc. on the project.

Russ R.
May 9, 2008 12:58 pm

This will end up being another “money pit”, that lets someone feel good about themselves, and the rest of us supply the money for their “ego stroking therapy”.
How about someone making a good plug-in hybrid for me to drive to work in, instead of wasting money on CO2 schemes? I could reduce my oil comsumption by 90% if they could produce a car that could run 30+ miles on an overnight charge.
Pumping CO2 underground to recover oil is smart, and is already being done, with or without government programs. Doing it to prevent AGW is just plain stupid.

May 9, 2008 1:13 pm

Bill, I can’t understand why CO2 sequestration is even a good thing. Nobody has shown that temperatures have anything to do with CO2 change in the atmosphere. We have had a monotonically rising CO2 level in the atmosphere since the 1930’s and since the almost 70 years of temperature data since the 1940’s, we have had a warming trend over about 10 years. Nobody has shown that CO2 emissions has had even the tiniest impact on climate. It is all based on a great jumping to conclusions based on the result of some climate model that exists in software someplace and has so far shown to not have any skill in predicting reality.
I will grant you that CO2 content seems to be coincidentally tracking with land use change. What really bothers me, though, is this notion that if the ground temperature in Asia changes enough to raise the global average, we extrapolate that there has been a global change in climate rather than a regional change in land use that impacts local temperatures.
It is all so very silly, really.

Tom in Florida
May 9, 2008 2:03 pm

This money is going to be used to remove 1 million tons of CO2 from our atmosphere? That’s it?
If there is a +3 billion tons of CO2 differential per year then it will take about 3,000 years to mitigate 1 year of the current differential. Another quality idea from our elected officials. I guess it’s really true, you can’t fix stupid. I wonder which Congressman’s brother-in-laws are going to get the grants?

May 9, 2008 2:12 pm

Bill – Weyburn
– Looks like a Win-Win – more oil, less CO2
– how much more does it cost to get the oil out with CO2 sequestration?
Anyway, I don’t understand all the negative comments on this
– if AGW turns out to be a big hoax, then all that’s happened is that we’ve got a new way to get more oil out of the ground
– if AGW turns out to be real, we’ve got a way to reduce CO2 that actually makes money…

May 9, 2008 3:20 pm

Retired Engineer,
Go to this website to see how it’s done (at least one version of the process):
Steam would be needed to drive the compressors to inject the CO2 underground. How is CO2 collected? It is absorbed with an amine solution, then stripped with steam as a heat source. Total energry requirement is 30-40% of the power plant. In effect, steam is diverted from electricity production to CO2 capture and sequestration. Since electricity production is cheap from coal compared to natural gas, this process is economically viable (when including the value of carbon credits). The only question is reliability (which is the reason to do the projects).
I’m aware that geologists and reservoir engineers at Shell and other oil companies have looked at this extensively. In fact, one of oil companies is willing to do it today (for a fee, of course). That is, have a utility company pay them to deposit CO2 in their underground formation. Their only issue is how to write a legal contract that limits their liability.
Regarding actual leakage, I was told that CO2 would not leak out of the ground any more than people finding oil leaking out of their backyard. There would be seams of leakage, but the loss would be extremely small. In fact, capillary forces in these underground formations assure that you couldn’t remove half of the CO2 even if you wanted to.
And, yes, if this works (no reason why it shouldn’t), the extreme enviromentalists wouldn’t like it a bit. It’s funny how applied scientists and engineers discover and develop a million devices, equipment, and processes that extends lives and improve standards of living for everybody just so envirofascists can point fingers at them. I really wish people could see how humanity lived 5,000 years ago (married by 14, dead by 28, assuming you survived childhood). In colonial America, I would guess that less than half of newborns survived childhood due disease and whatnot. Most men had 2 or 3 wives due to death at childbirth and whatnot. A very nasty life.

May 9, 2008 3:21 pm

Sounds like a solution that fell prey to occam’s razor — an unintended by product of carbon reduction incentives. Now if we could just produce carbon cheap enough we could have a (w)hole industry based on adding nothing at all to the economy.

May 9, 2008 3:38 pm

[…] for the one problem we don’t have. We are wasting our scarce resources, pumping our cash (per Anthony Watts “Your tax dollars at work . .”) not just carbon dioxide, down a […]

May 9, 2008 3:42 pm

Given the reasonable scientific doubts about AGW, a sensible heuristic would be to only invest in carbon reduction/sequestering projects that had a non-carbon payoff as well. This could be commercial (as in increased oil production), or environmental, as in reduction of pollution or other external costs on which producers currently get a free ride.
That shouldn’t be too hard.

Bill Illis
May 9, 2008 6:04 pm

Here’s the economics on the Weyburn Canada project.
Cost of CO2 (rumoured to be) $100 per ton (7 times the current market rate for getting rid of CO2 versus purchasing it) = $3 billion
Additional revenue (155 million @ $50 profit per barrel) = $7.75 billion
Huge profit potential ($4 billion plus) but very high risk as well. On the other hand, the oil field already had a long history of different flood techniques so they had a pretty good idea of the economics if it worked.
And nobody would pay $100 per ton for CO2 today. Most likely, you would get paid $10 to $15 per ton for taking the CO2 off someone’s hands instead.
The reason to do it is government regulation, the Greens and Carbon taxes are forcing businesses into just going with the flow.
I always say “don’t fight Moma Nature and Human Nature” but another great saying is “You can’t fight City Hall.”

old construction worker
May 9, 2008 6:09 pm

retried engineer says…
“Total energry requirement is 30-40% of the power plant.” We would need more power plants or bigger power plants eighter way that means higher electric rates.
“That is, have a utility company pay them to deposit CO2 in their underground formation.” Lets see if I got this right. As an electric consumer and a tax payer, I get to pay highter electric bills so the electric companies can pay the oils companies to pump more oil out of older fields.
All in the name of CO2 induced global warming theory.
Thank you, but no thanks.

May 9, 2008 6:12 pm

Sequestering CO2 underground sounds like a great idea!

May 9, 2008 7:38 pm
David S
May 9, 2008 9:07 pm

The map seems to be missing Lake Michigan. Did it dry up from global warming?

Evan Jones
May 9, 2008 10:28 pm

Let’s hope we don’t turn the world into a giant Alka Seltzer tablet.

Pierre Gosselin
May 9, 2008 11:46 pm

Tax dollars, no matter what they’re earmarked for, usually end up in holes.
So I’m really not reading anything new hear.

Pierre Gosselin
May 9, 2008 11:49 pm

What’s with the sunspot photo today? If the sun has dimmed that much overnight, then we’re in a heap of trouble!

Pierre Gosselin
May 10, 2008 2:03 am

THE CLIMATE BET! €2500!!!!
Let’s jump on it!!
Stefan Rahmstorf and Michael Mann are so convinced of their science that they are now ready to bet “big money” on their solid science – a whopping 2500 Euros ($3600)! Holy Moly!! Real Climate Rambos or what!
Let’s take them on. I’m ready to throw in my share. C’mon Anthony, let’s jump on this! Don’t let this slide by. We can shut these climate sophomores up for good.
Read the fine print!
They’ve stacked the bet in their favour, and built in an opt-out clause: If a large volcano erupts, then the bet is off.
Looks like we can call the bet off already: Chaitén in Chile, just days before the bet was made! Talk about sleaze.
Anthony please, let’s offer:
1. Let’s up the ante to 10 grand.
2. Let’s change the time frame to 1996-2005 vs 2006-2015.
3. We use a composite of the UAH, HadCrut, GISS, and RSS.
4. Bet is off only with a volcano with VEI 6 or more.
5. Chaitén in Chile not in the deal.
REPLY: Let’s see what other readers have to say.

Pierre Gosselin
May 10, 2008 2:16 am

Knowing they’ll censor it, here’s what I just posted at RC:
Holy Moly!
€2500.00!! Real Climate Rambos I see.
And the conditions you’ve put in, LOL! I haven’t seen such bravery since the French dropped their guns in WWII.
Don’t go away guys, we’ll be back in touch.
Let’s see if the Real Climate Cowards will take the conditions posted above.
Let’s all pitch in and make them bet.

Pierre Gosselin
May 10, 2008 2:33 am

I’ve just added at RC:
Show a little valor guys. Is it going to get cooler or not?
1. Let’s up the ante to 10 grand.
2. Let’s use the time frame to 1998-2007 vs 2008-2017.
3. We use a composite of the UAH, HadCrut, GISS, and RSS.
4. Bet is off only with a volcano with VEI 6 or more.
5. Chaitén in Chile not in the deal.
Would you accept these conditions?
YES OR NO? Very simple.
Cooler in the next 10 years than in the last 10 years?
That’s the issue.
Let’s leave the statistics tricks out.
You’re reply please.
10 to 1 they won’t accept.
5 to 1 they don’t even post this offer at RC.
You know enough people, orgnaisations etc.. Certainly we can get enough to pitch in. I’m ready to throw in my share. I’m there man!!
REPLY: IMHO IF they post it, which I doubt, they’ll argue 1998 was “abnormally hot” 😉 They’ll also probably argue to use the GISS temp data only.

May 10, 2008 3:52 am

Leave aside the issue of whether AGW is real or not….
– the economics of sequestration seem quite good
– firstly it allows more oil to be extracted, and can make a profit in itself
– secondly, the raw cost of sequestation seems quite low
– $100 / Metric Tonne of CO2
– 1 Tonne of CO2 is emitted by 432.9 Litres of Petrol (Gas)
– so the cost to sequestrate 1 litre of Petrol (Gas) is $0.231
– here in the UK we already pay out $2 for Petrol (Gas), 50% of which is tax
– and if even part of the cost was recoverable due to extra Oil being released, then this would go down even further
Electricity Generation doesn’t looks so good
– 43kg/kWh gives – gives $4 sequestation costs per kWh!

May 10, 2008 4:36 am

“Total energry requirement is 30-40% of the power plant.”
I did not know we had so much extra fossil fuel resources on the planet to be wasting them on this total nonsense.
Even this total lunacy looks intelligent compared to the idea of wasting energy on pumping CO2 into the ground.
What a delusion
Anthony, don’t forget to offset the CO2 generated by your blog

May 10, 2008 5:32 am

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Stan Needham
May 10, 2008 6:50 am

Terry (from 05:27:05 on 5/9/08),
Los Alamos isn’t the only group working on energy from surplus C02.
They don’t want solutions that work! This is just another form of wealth redistribution from the productive to the wage-parasites who keep the Washington scum in office.
Actually, Michael, I think they don’t want it to work because it would facilitate a lifestyle with which they disagree.

May 10, 2008 7:45 am

I know $180M seems like a lot and I certainly wouldn’t turn it down if offered but put it into perspective. A single MacDac F-18A cost $32M in 1980 dollars. Not allowing for inflation, $180M would buy 5.5 F-18A fighters. A single Boeing 757-300 costs $80M (2002 dollars) –> 2.25 airliners. Alternately, you could opt for the economy model: 757-200 at $65M –> 2.76. The Hubble Space Telescope has an operating budget of around $20M (per month!)
IOW this project amounts to purchasing 2-3 jet airliners or 9 months of HST operation spread over 10 years. Sounds like a token project to me and not worthy of any fuss.

Mike from Canmore
May 10, 2008 8:07 am

If they actually end up following through with the insance idea, who wants to bet these sequestration sites end up being in politically sensitive, job needy areas who voted for the party in power at the time? Pork Barrel potential on a MASSIVE scale. Who wants a Sequestration site?!?!? Vote for me!!!
Then again, if we do end up with a Lake Nyo scenario, they may very well be shooting themselves in the foot.

Mike from Canmore
May 10, 2008 8:08 am

insance should be “insane”.

Pierre Gosselin
May 10, 2008 8:54 am

Offer is still “awaiting moderation” over at RC…has been for a few hours now.
My first comment, see above 02:16:24, bit the dust.

Steve Keohane
May 10, 2008 9:21 am

No one seems to bring up the carbonic acid and what it will do in sedimentary
layers. Dissolving CO2 in the ocean is allegedly bad due to the pH drop, thus bad for coral and shelled critters. Sedimentary rock is often largely or cemented together with, calcium compounds, that will dissolve in low pH water…

May 10, 2008 10:08 am

You’ve got to understand that the folks at Hadley will follow those at NASA, and viola they will readjust the 90s downward and the most recent decade upwards. Much better to use UAH/RSS temps than anything coming out of the Team’s offices.

Tom in Florida
May 10, 2008 10:16 am

” Total energry requirement is 30-40% of the power plant. In effect, steam is diverted from electricity production to CO2 capture and sequestration”
Help me out here folks. If 30-40% of the power plant electricity production is diverted to CO2 capture and sequestration, wouldn’t you have to up your electrical production an additional 30-40% to meet the current consumer demands of the power plant? Do these power plants even have the capacity to up their electrical production 30-40 % ? And wouldn’t 30-40 % of the additional production be used to capture and sequester the additional CO2 produced so that the actual net production increase is only 20-25 % so you are still short of current consumer demand. I know there is a term for this kind of return but do not know it, anyone?

Retired Engineer
May 10, 2008 11:00 am

Tom: I think the term is “insane”, or perhaps “stupid”. We do not have 30% excess capacity. We import electricity from Canada. And trying to generate the extra power will require more coal, which will send the eco’s into a further state of frenzy. This reminds me of the Solar Power Satellite from the late 70’s. It looked great until you examined the numbers.

May 10, 2008 11:57 am

Tom: Presumably that is why it costs $100/ton to sequester CO2….

Dave Andrews
May 10, 2008 11:57 am

Vaclav Smil, of Manitoba University, and a world renowned expert on energy has this to say about carbon sequestration in this week’s Nature (Vol 453/8 May 2008, p154) in a sequence of correspondences relating to Piekle et al.
“Carbon sequestration is irresponsibly portrayed as an imminently useful large-scale option for solving the challenge. But to sequester just 25% of CO2 emitted in 2005 by large stationary sources of the gas….we would have to create a system whose annual throughput (by volume) would be slightly more than twice that of the world’s crude-oil industry, an undertaking that would take many decades to accomplish.”
He also refers to the scenarios in the 2000 IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios as “risible” and even stronger says “Basing policies on computerized fairy tales is inadvisable”

Dave Andrews
May 10, 2008 12:21 pm

The Keenlyside et al paper has obviously really got under the skins of the RC crowd. Personally, I think the bet idea is rather pathetic on their behalf, and I’m glad a number of posters have told them so. After all aren’t these the guys who are always telling us that peer reviewed science counts more than anything?
Their attempts to ‘smear’ the Leibniz Institute for “going to the media” and even to try to downplay publication in Nature as if it is nothing much (of course it was brilliant when Mann et al had their papers published by the same journal!) are incredible.
I posted to them on these lines but like you it never got through.

May 10, 2008 2:02 pm

This may be somewhat OT, but perhaps not much since people have discussed the economics of various alternatives in addition to CCS. And the is a tie-in in that regard at the end.
Anyway, what I fail to understand is why people (including the government) are not paying more attention to hot rock geoothermal (HRG), aka enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). According to the widely regarded MIT report, for a very modest R&D investment HRG has the potential to provide an immense amount of energy very cost-effectively. Eventually, HRG could be deployed essentially anywhere, but even in the near term there is enough “high grade” resources to make a significant dent in the energy needs of various locations around the world. And one of the best of those locations is the Western US — essentially everywhere from Colorado and west. And yet HRG is attracting less and less federal R&D money in the US, even though essentially every pilot project over the last 30 years has proven successful. It’s gotten so bad that the amount of money allocated to HRG geothermal research in the federal 2007 budget was exactly zero. Zip. I don’t get it.
It’s not that way in other parts of the world, though. HRG projects are springing up in France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and perhaps most notably, Australia. Australia has a number of sites in development, but apparently the Cooper Basin area is much larger than anticipated — big enough to supply the entire country with all their electricity needs. New Zealand, by the way, is thinking in the same vein.
Interestingly, there is also an indication that CO2 sequestration could increase the efficiency of HRG systems by as much as 50%. Everything I’ve ever read about HRG indicates it’s for real. And yet no one seems to be paying attention. I don’t get it. Are we letting the world pass us by or what?

May 10, 2008 5:15 pm

Dave Andrews,
That’s why the oil and pipeline companies are very interested in CO2 capture. Lots of money in it.

May 10, 2008 5:26 pm

Anyone would be a fool to take a bet with the rc guys. If the next 5 years are cooler than today, not only would the site not exist, you wouldn’t be able to find them. Think about it.

May 10, 2008 5:30 pm

If there is consensus regarding AGW, why are two fraternal climate modeling groups betting against one another? I expect Al Gore or Hansen to step in privately and straighten these clowns out.

May 10, 2008 6:56 pm

Tom in Florida (10:16:29) :
“Help me out here folks. If 30-40% of the power plant electricity production is diverted to CO2 capture and sequestration, wouldn’t you have to up your electrical production an additional 30-40% to meet the current consumer demands of the power plant?”
Sorry, bogus math. The 30-40% additional would then need 30-40% more for its CO2, etc.
If P = production, R = ratio (percentage) of additional capacity, and D = delivered power,
then D = P – RP, meaning its what you produce minus the energy to stuff the CO2 under the rug.
Rearranging, D = P(1-R), P = D / (1-R)
So, if R = 33%, or 1/3, then you need to produce P = D / (1 – 1/3) or P = D * (3/2), i.e you’ll need 50% more.
A more intuitive problem would be if 50% of the produced power went to stuffing CO2, then you’d need to produce twice the power.

Pierre Gosselin
May 11, 2008 2:10 am

Concerning the RC “wanna bet” for “serious” money:
Appears that the climate sophomores RC are not prepared to accept my proposed bet.
Anthony, please post something about that.

Pierre Gosselin
May 11, 2008 2:34 am

Micheal Mann, Gavin Schmidit, Jim Hansen etc. are good examples as to why we have so many lawyers today. They twist, misrepresent and distort data wherever and however they can. So when betting such brats, you need a full-blown contract, and be prepared to go to court when obligations come due.
So let’s add sub-clause 3.1, that is: NO FUTURE COOKBOOK ADJUSTMENTS:
1. Let’s up the ante to 10 grand (or whatever).
2. Let’s use the time frame to 1998-2007 vs 2008-2017.
3. We use a composite of the UAH, HadCrut, GISS, and RSS.
3.1 Only the 1998-2007 temperature data as it exists today shall be used.
4. Bet is off only with a volcano with VEI 6 or more.
5. Chaitén in Chile not in the deal.
Overall, I see that no one here is really ready to join me in this. Anthony wants to wait and see what the other readers will do.
I guess it looks like I’ll have to do this on my own.
What’s wrong here? Look at the sunspots…the AMO, PDO, ocean temps, 10 year trend. Why aren’t you bloggers answering the call?

Pierre Gosselin
May 11, 2008 3:14 am

Ramstorf in German magazine FOCUS:
“Auf dem Weblog KlimaLounge (siehe Surftipp) bieten wir deshalb den Autoren aus Kiel eine Wette an. Wir sind überzeugt, dass die globalen Temperaturen auch in den kommenden zehn oder 15 Jahren weiter ansteigen werden.”
Translated in English:
“At the website KlimaLounge (see Surftipp) we offer the authors in Kiel a bet. We are convinced that the global temperatures will also continue to rise in the next 10 or 15 years.”
In this FOCUS interview Ramstorf clearly questions and challenges the Keenlyside et. al. study, claiming the study has weaknesses.
I wonder how Keenlyside and Latif will respond to that?
But note how his bet at RC is only for the next 6 years, and not for the next 10 to 15 years he mentions above.
Ramstorf and Co. are in a serious damage control mode.

May 11, 2008 5:25 am

The bottom-line is, what is the economic payback? If you sequester 0.1% of the US’s CO2 output & could even accurately translate that to a temperature reduction, how can a monetary payback be calculated from that? There would be negative consequences from lower temperatures too — more heating costs would be the most obvious. Crop-yields would also decrease w/less CO2 in the air.
Pumping in CO2 (air would be alot cheaper) to increase output from oil wells is fine (and is already done to some extent) if it’s economically feasible. Using taxpayer money to do it shouldn’t be necessary if it were. Using 30-40% of a power plant’s total output (that’s alot) for such activity is absurd unless the economic benefits are reasonably quantified. But I seriously doubt it’s possible to quantify the economic or otherwise “benefits” — it’s just as likely a liability.

Bruce Cobb
May 11, 2008 5:52 am

HRG does sound good, Rico. If only they would put that 126 million into HRG geothermal research instead of stupidly wasting it on C02 sequestration. Also whether or not using C02 instead of, or in addition to water increases the efficiency is beside the point. The point is the cost. If it adds to the cost per kw or btu then it makes no sense.

May 11, 2008 6:13 am

Rico, it isn’t so much lack of interest in HRG, but that there is induced seismicity. For some reason, people don’t appreciate that.

Pamela Gray
May 11, 2008 6:48 am

Get kids to drink more soda by lowering the price in half and installing pop machines only in classrooms, no where else. You would clean up the boogy man in record time. Schools would once again rise to the respected level they once occupied as institutions of learning and saviors of the world. Attendance would increase as a positive side benefit. You could even give the carbon credits to the parents as an incentive to get them to send their kids to school every day.

Tom in Florida
May 11, 2008 9:48 am

Why aren’t you bloggers answering the call?
Some of us just don’t have any extra cash. (I wish I had invested in corn futures about 4 months ago)

May 11, 2008 1:09 pm

To Bruce Cobb (05:52:05) : Yes, I wish they would put that 126 million into HRG geothermal research. In fact, I’d like to see more than that put into it. But at least it’s better than nothing, which is basically where things stand now. And considering how immense the potential payoff is, it seems rather ridiculous. With regard to CO2 injection, certainly cost considerations are essential. In that regard, my understanding is that CO2 not only improves efficiency but also buffers the corrosive effects of substances dissolved in the brine. The same could be said for stimulating oil recovery, by the way. Many of the technologies employed in oil drilling and HRG converge.
To swampie (06:13:49) : I can’t imagine why people wouldn’t be aware that fracturing rocks is associated with seismicity. You’d think that would be pretty obvious. The more important question is whether such activity is likely to cause a significant event which wouldn’t otherwise occur naturally. That’s a much more difficult question to answer. Most of the places they’re attempting to tap currently are relatively close to the surface and in or near geologically active zones, which increases the risk. But what are the alternatives? Burning fossil fuels has various health effects. Coal mining can be dangerous (and can also have seismic effects). Oil spills can be kind of a problem. Tar sand recovery can produce significant toxic effects. As fossil fuels become more scarce the potential for resource wars increases. So if the alternative is the occasional set of rattled nerves or a few broken vases, I say go for it. Then again, if the potential for calamity is more significant than that, it might be worth reconsidering. But I’d say it’s a little difficult to answer that question if you don’t do the research.

May 12, 2008 10:22 am

Follow up to my previous post on CO2/kWh
– the article I reference quoted 43kg/kWh
– this seems to be an error…. about 50x-100x the more common value
this quotes 2.117 Pounds/kWh
– which is ~1kg / kWh
– so the sequestration cost for Coal generated electricty would be $0.10 / kWh

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