Study: CO2 sequestration may contaminate groundwater

The Chaffin Ranch CO2 driven Geyser, Utah - Image: Panoramio - click for more info

From the “MTBE is perfectly safe department” and Duke University:

Leaking underground CO2 storage could contaminate drinking water

DURHAM, N.C. — Leaks from carbon dioxide injected deep underground to help fight climate change could bubble up into drinking water aquifers near the surface, driving up levels of contaminants in the water tenfold or more in some places, according to a study by Duke University scientists.

Based on a year-long analysis of core samples from four drinking water aquifers, “We found the potential for contamination is real, but there are ways to avoid or reduce the risk,” says Robert B. Jackson, Nicholas Professor of Global Environmental Change and professor of biology at Duke.

“Geologic criteria that we identified in the study can help identify locations around the country that should be monitored or avoided,” he says. “By no means would all sites be susceptible to problems of water quality.”

The study appears in the online edition of the journal Environmental Science & Technology, at

Storing carbon dioxide deep below Earth’s surface, a process known as geosequestration, is part of a suite of new carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies being developed by governments and industries worldwide to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions entering Earth’s atmosphere. The still-evolving technologies are designed to capture and compress CO2, emissions at their source – typically power plants and other industrial facilities – and transport the CO2 to locations where it can be injected far below the Earth’s surface for long-term storage. The U.S. Department of Energy, working with industry and academia, has begun the planning for at least seven regional CCS projects.

“The fear of drinking water contamination from CO2 leaks is one of several sticking points about CCS and has contributed to local opposition to it,” says Jackson, who directs Duke’s Center on Global Change. “We examined the idea that if CO2 leaked out slowly from deep formations, where might it negatively impact freshwater aquifers near the surface, and why.”

Jackson and his postdoctoral fellow Mark G. Little collected core samples from four freshwater aquifers around the nation that overlie potential CCS sites and incubated the samples in their lab at Duke for a year, with CO2 bubbling through them.

After a year’s exposure to the CO2, analysis of the samples showed that “there are a number of potential sites where CO2 leaks drive contaminants up tenfold or more, in some cases to levels above the maximum contaminant loads set by the EPA for potable water,” Jackson says. Three key factors – solid-phase metal mobility, carbonate buffering capacity and electron exchanges in the overlying freshwater aquifer – were found to influence the risk of drinking water contamination from underground carbon leaks.

The study also identified four markers that scientists can use to test for early warnings of potential carbon dioxide leaks. “Along with changes in carbonate concentration and acidity of the water, concentrations of manganese, iron and calcium could all be used as geochemical markers of a leak, as their concentration increase within two weeks of exposure to CO2,” Jackson says.




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November 11, 2010 2:35 pm

Gosh, we really don’t want people drinking the pollutant co2!

Scarlet Pumpernickel
November 11, 2010 2:43 pm

If it’s pumped into the ground, free Coca Cola??
Anyway, if it’s pumped into the ground, isn’t this what will happen?

November 11, 2010 2:46 pm

Nothing like CO2 migrating into moist limestone substrata to make for huge sinkholes.
“The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy!” ~ Robert Burns

Gavin Liddiard
November 11, 2010 2:48 pm

I don’t think that the producers of Perrier Water, and other naturally carbonated beverages, ever complained about CO2 contamination of their products.

Dr. Bob
November 11, 2010 2:49 pm

Nothing new about this. EPA considered ground water contamination when they reviewed CCS regulations over a year ago. Even NRDC bought into CCS as a way to reduce CO2 emissions. Most storage sites are deep below groundwater reservoirs and are capped with impermible geologic structures. DOE NETL is developing Monitoring, Verification and Accounting guidelines for CCS (see
So this is all well under control if it is economically viable and justified.

David A. Evans
November 11, 2010 2:50 pm
November 11, 2010 2:52 pm

The real question is: if there are leaks from CO2 sequestration, as is surely inevitable, and those leaks do cause contamination of drinking water supplies, how will the problem be solved? Availability of safe drinking water supplies is a big issue in some places, and natural contamination of aquifers is common. This part of the issue needs to be addressed.

Alex Buddery
November 11, 2010 2:55 pm

Does this mean all natural spring water would become sparkaling? Because I hate sparkaling spring water.

L Nettles
November 11, 2010 2:55 pm

I just spit out my Diet Coke™

George E. Smith
November 11, 2010 3:02 pm

Don’t these idiots understand that CO2 sequestration is O2 sequestration. Eventually, we will run out of oxygen to breathe, if they sequester carbon dioxide.
Perhaps they should reduce the CO2 to carbon, and store that down in the salt mines; we will need it to blacken the ice when the big freeze gets underway.

November 11, 2010 3:06 pm

I think acidifying of water leads to increased solubility of other minerals /like metals/ in the water. CO2 itself is not a contaminant in this sense.

James Barker
November 11, 2010 3:07 pm

Just an odd thought, but the potential for large above ground leaks (and possible suffocation) does exist for future civilizations. Similar risk to storing nuclear waste? at least as presented by the greens?

Rational Debate
November 11, 2010 3:08 pm

Add a little flavoring to your tap water, and voila! Free Soda! (VBG)
Researcher said: “By no means would all sites be susceptible to problems of water quality.” They have established this how? Its unfortunate that the abstract doesn’t indicate how many of the samples did or did not show significant changes. I hope the statement is based on significantly more than theory, however.
Meanwhile – if they discover leaks from a hypothetical underground storage site, is there even any way to mitigate it?

November 11, 2010 3:17 pm

I prefer carbonated water myself. 😀

November 11, 2010 3:17 pm

So when is the EPA going to make rain a felony? Or pumping water from an aquifer something that gets you life? (in prison, that is). Certainly water is a more abundant, more effective GHG than CO2 ever dreamed of being. Will we be required to pump all our rivers into the aquifers of the Earth? Will oceans have to be covered with plastic to prevent evaporation? Will it be illegal to irrigate? Certainly H2O is FAR more dangerous than CO2!

November 11, 2010 3:25 pm

How does anthropogenic sequestration capacity compare to the natural capacity of a thunderstorm, or cloud cover over a power plant stack, or moist alkaline soil, or a forest?

Grumpy old Man
November 11, 2010 3:30 pm

How many times do you unbelievers have to be told? The Science Is Settled!

Sam Hall
November 11, 2010 3:40 pm

Rational Debate says:
“Meanwhile – if they discover leaks from a hypothetical underground storage site, is there even any way to mitigate it?”
They pumped it down there under pressure, just open the value and let it out. Storing CO2 is nuts anyway.

November 11, 2010 3:41 pm

Will someone (who knows) please tell me how carbon dioxide can contaminate water, and thus make it impotable?
At present, I am of the opinion that this is yet more BS put before we ‘sceptics’ in order to attempt the impossible, i.e. to dissuade us from thinking logically and reasonably.

November 11, 2010 3:50 pm

Let me begin by saying that I think pumping CO2 gass or liquid into the ground to sequester it is nuts. However, keep in mind that CO2 is already pumped into the ground all the time to enhance extraction of oil from old fields so we are not talking about doing something that isn’t already being done. Have they had any problems with these groundwater around these fields? Finally, CO2 sequesters very readily. For a graphic example stand on the edge of the grand canyon and look at the vertical rock wall faces. Most of these are limestone and it is sedimentarly rock precipited from the oceans hundreds of millions of years old. The oceans quite naturally sequester vast amounts of CO2 already. Find a way to speed up the process just a little, and you might keep up with human combustion of fossile fuel.

November 11, 2010 3:58 pm

CO2 is plant food. They can transport the captured CO2 and bury in deserts. It might help plants and trees to grow there. But then they will emit more CO2 with huge transportation of such gas of life into the nowhere land. Lesson: one idiocy leads to another idiocy, and more idiocy.

November 11, 2010 4:00 pm

George E. Smith says:
November 11, 2010 at 3:02 pm
> Don’t these idiots understand that CO2 sequestration is O2 sequestration. Eventually, we will run out of oxygen to breathe, if they sequester carbon dioxide.
I have no idea of the energy requirements behind it, but I sometimes suggest it be combined with sand, i.e. CO2 + SiO2 = SiC + 2O2, i.e. ceramic and oxygen.
> Perhaps they should reduce the CO2 to carbon, and store that down in the salt mines; we will need it to blacken the ice when the big freeze gets underway.
This one I have a much better idea about energy requirements (as do you, I’m sure). Instead of sequestering the carbon, just use it as feedstock and burn it – wouldn’t that give you a perpetual motion machine?
Hmm, I forget if perpetual motion machines are banned items of discussion. If not, they should be!

November 11, 2010 4:08 pm

Geoffrey Boulton, climategate investigator/whitewasher extraordinaire, and UK government chief climate change advisor, pontificating about Coca Cola’s CO2 technology:

November 11, 2010 4:15 pm

I also have another whinge, which may, or may not pass our astute moderators.
I sent an email to a colleague, and realised that in my (I thought) persuasive way, he would maybe, see our point of view.
I have to admit that this has little or nothing to do with carbonated water, but I make no apologies for introducing a comment that, perhaps is an attempt at generalisation; even appeasement.
“Interesting that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change authors chose the word ‘anthropogenic’ instead of ‘man-made’, which latter term is what they want us to believe, but then they also want to use a five syllable word when two will make more sense, simply to bamboozle the hoi-polloi. Anthropogeny means the study of the origin of man, which has little to do with ‘man-made’. However, my appetite whetted for further misnomers, I found a blog called Watts Up With That, by Anthony of the same steam orientated surname who lives in California, and is, I believe an astro-physicist (think I’ve mentioned him before). He and his guest posters, along with a veritable army of commenters (me included!!) have pretty well squashed any argument from the ‘warmers’, by the simple expediency of producing scientific, peer reviewed and empirical evidence to discount very nearly every knee-jerk reaction, hockey stick illusion, plain ignorance and final abusive name-calling generated by the likes of Al Gore, Michael Mann and Ben Santer, et al.
The railway engineer from India, the supposed head of the IPCC, is oblivious to all these ramifications, just as long as he holds on to his very well paid position. I have read some of the ‘green’ blogs, and have found that most will not deign to read our side; the ‘sceptics’, or ‘denialists’ as Gore, et al, would have it, let alone provide any scientific basis for their credo. If they do, it simply results in verbal abuse.
So there you have the ‘issue’: on the one side we have the greens (they do not deserve a capital ‘G’ because of their despicable behaviour on, and off-line), who are hell-bent on destroying our planet, even to the extent of wiping out most of our existing population (Google ‘green agenda’, and see what you come up with). On the other side, we have ordinary people (I like to think) who may have a passing interest in e.g. Watts Up With That, its ilk, or simply an enquiring mind, one that does not take kindly to any form of propaganda. And there we have another horrifying fact. Most schools in the western world, north, south and west (not too many takers in the east) have been sent a copy of the Gore’s film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. This has now been legally judged in the UK as fraudulent; in any event, nine of the 35 points under investigation were found to be without any scientific foundation. The judge ordered that his findings were to be sent to each and every school that had been sent the Gore film. Has this actually happened, or are seven-year olds still telling their parents, and grand-parents where they are all going wrong? Has there been any form of rebuttal, as the US folk may call it? No. However, the green’s tank is I am glad to say, running dry, but they are not finished yet.”
As some of you may have gathered, I work on a supply ship (big oil!). I cannot abide fools, and I abhor liars. The former are not condusive to the quiet process of good maintenance, and the latter are of no use to anyone.

November 11, 2010 4:25 pm

Once again, CO2 is not a ‘contaminant’ or a ‘pollutant’ in air or water. But, Juraj V. is right to say that there is the possibility that physical changes in groundwater (i.e. pH reduction) could be caused by the introduction of dissolved CO2. These changes could result directly or indirectly in changes in the solubility of some potential inorganic or organic pollutants. However, most groundwater extracted for beneficial use comes from alluvial aquifers that are ‘contaminated’ with plenty of dissolved Ca+2 ions. As long as these Ca+2 ions are present, wouldn’t the pH be buffered by the precipitaion of carbonate when the CO2 is introduced? Maybe these guys have stumbled on an insitu treatment for the hard (high TDS) groundwaters that have plagued groundwater users for so long?
Now I’m going to go have some barley juice contaminated with dissolved CO2!

November 11, 2010 4:33 pm

Hmmm. Aqua Minerale Con Gasse.

November 11, 2010 4:33 pm

Isn’t the “capped with impermible geologic structure” the potential flaw in the frack’ing process used in natural gas drilling?
The other question is, suppose it doesn’t stay trapped but on the way up breaks down to CO (carbon monoxide) in a populated area? CO is highly flammable!!! Ok, got to consider the source –
but they state it was a vehicle fuel…
Either way, there is much planning left to be done before it is discovered the only action which has occurred is the planning itself…

Gary P
November 11, 2010 4:40 pm

The residents living over these ticking time bombs will be fortunate if all they see is ground water contamination. Continuous pumping of high pressure gas into the earth is too much like pumping air into a balloon. After twenty years there will be tremors, and then an earthquake and then a massive release of adiabatically cooled CO2 that will hug the ground. The 1986 Lake Nyos disaster again with mammals dead up to 25 km away.
It this just has to be tried, I suggest 38.89°N, 77.04°W would be a nice river valley location. I’m sure it would be perfectly safe there. At least there will not be any fires after the earthquake.

November 11, 2010 4:43 pm

So, what little we know about CO2 effects upon the atmosphere, we are now going to introduce into the less understood?, geology containing our crop and drinking water.
What could possibly go wrong.
Also see:
Hydraulic fracturing

November 11, 2010 4:48 pm

Engchamp says:
November 11, 2010 at 3:41 pm
“Will someone (who knows) please tell me how carbon dioxide can contaminate water, and thus make it impotable?
At present, I am of the opinion that this is yet more BS put before we ‘sceptics’ in order to attempt the impossible, i.e. to dissuade us from thinking logically and reasonably.”
Jurag V answered above- lowered PH due to increased carbonic acid can lead to more absorbtion of heavy metals and other contaminants. As with almost everything else presented in the media; the risk is almost surely overblown, so I don’t put too much stock in it. But, there does appear to be some basis in actual science, not that I’m qualified in any way to assess it as such.

November 11, 2010 4:49 pm

Geeeeez….. you can do Post Doc’s on analysing the effect of carbonic acid and bicarbonate on rocks these days. It used to be done in school labs. Standards are certainly different to the bad ol’ days

Henry chance
November 11, 2010 4:49 pm

Greenies are very afraid of fracking. The pressures we see in sequestration are high and will cause fractures.
There is no such thing as impermeable formations.

Ian E
November 11, 2010 4:55 pm

And what if there were ever a big leak – how many people could be killed, as in those African killer valleys?

Steve R
November 11, 2010 5:09 pm

I find it difficult to believe that carbon capture and sequestration is taken seriously. Just look at the thermodynamics of the situation to realize that somewhere between 30% and 50% of a power plants entire energy output would be used solely to collect, compress, liquify, and inject the carbon dioxide. Has globalwarming fanaticism really drivin us to the point where we would seriously consider burning thru our energy reserves at an accelerated rate just to generate the extra energy to capture one of the primary combustion products? I see carbon capture as an obvious non-starter.

John from CA
November 11, 2010 5:18 pm

CCS is a stupid idea. The DOE should be focusing on viable solutions to power generation not absurd ideas like CCS.
What is the point of expending energy to sequester CO2?
However, water management is going to be an issue with population growth. Desalination will also be a big issue for certain countries.
World Ground Water Map,templateId=raw,property=publicationFile.pdf/whymap_125_statistics_pdf.pdf

Richard Sharpe
November 11, 2010 5:22 pm

Ian E says on November 11, 2010 at 4:55 pm

And what if there were ever a big leak – how many people could be killed, as in those African killer valleys?

Surely that is an advantage of the scheme in the minds of those promoting it?

November 11, 2010 5:24 pm

Pingo, Gavin Liddiard, BS Footprint, Engchamp, etc,
If you had have read the post before scrolling down to comment you would have seen that it’s not the CO2 itself that contaminates but other stuff that it encourages. Allow me to reiterate the key sentence:

Three key factors – solid-phase metal mobility, carbonate buffering capacity and electron exchanges in the overlying freshwater aquifer – were found to influence the risk of drinking water contamination from underground carbon leaks.

It’s disappointing that you read a headline and scroll down to comment without reading the post. Why is that? Do you just like to read your own comments? This does not lead to good discussion on WUWT.

November 11, 2010 5:34 pm

Oddly enough, CO2 is often found when drilling for natural gas. It can be and is frequently re-injected to force oil and gas to other wells. All this happens well below any aquifers and generally is separated by a mile or two of impermeable rock.
In any case, CO2 should be vented to the atmosphere since it is proven to accelerate plant growth. After all the climate is cooling and in a hungry world, who but a monster would take food from the hungry masses?

November 11, 2010 5:47 pm

The U.S. Department of Energy, working with industry and academia, has begun the planning for at least seven regional CCS projects.
They’re all out of their minds, but still getting paid. Ecological Overshoot strikes again.

November 11, 2010 5:55 pm

One key aspect of CO2 storage that has been largely ignored to date, we are told, is the issue of injection rate into the subsurface. A typical 1GW coal-fired power plant produces 20,000 tons of CO2 per day, which must be injected into an aquifer at this daily rate for decades.
How many years would it take one coal plant to raise CO2 by 1 point?
This, like windmills, will be abandoned after all the subsidies, grants and whatever else can be sucked from govts and taxpayers, are gone. This has to be the case because no sane person would see this as necessary and workable, since it would take vast areas to store and costs are astronomical. No industry would go along with this if not for govt. money.
Isn’t CCS somehow connected to cap and trade? What happens with the death of C&T?
How about the problem of actually capturing it? As I understand, they are presently only able to capture a small percentage.

November 11, 2010 5:58 pm

These are the same morans that run around complaining about second hand smoke, then fall all over themselves to approve the next medical marijuana shop. Now listen up and listen up good. The promotion of CO2 as the main cause of AGW was exposed in the climategate emails as a complete fraud. The socialist frauds that inhabit the MSM, academia and government still clinging to the belief due so out of a financial/political basis not on any scientific facts.

November 11, 2010 6:05 pm

CO2 is poisonous to living creatures only when concentrated. [See Lake Nyos event]. Like the pinheads propose (actually, they don’t want to really do it, just get grant money to study it ad infinitum). It is absurd to sequester CO2 anyway. We need more CO2 in the atmosphere.

Robert of Ottawa
November 11, 2010 6:31 pm

Hey, can Greenpiece provide a list of proscribed molecules and atoms? It seems to me that enviromenmtalists (sic) are at war with chemistry and the periodic table.

November 11, 2010 6:35 pm

We’re talking here about a molecule comprised of the third and fourth most common elements in the universe.
Pretty tough to pack enough of that kind of substance away to make much of a difference.
But the best underground location would be the one noted above (38.89°N, 77.04°W).
If any leaks out, the amount of hot air in the immediate vicinity will help it rise harmlessly into the atmosphere and be dispersed.

November 11, 2010 6:59 pm

We have an embassy in Iraq bigger that Vatican City.
Can I get a grand video tour of that place?

Pamela Gray
November 11, 2010 7:17 pm

Guinness Stout all over the puter screen!

November 11, 2010 7:24 pm

Generally speaking, geoengineering convinces me that the human race has gone completely insane.

Jeff L
November 11, 2010 7:24 pm

As much as many on this blog would like to demonize anything that might be supported by pro-AGW folks, getting worked up about CO2 sequestration is a waste of time. We in the oil industry have been injecting CO2 into rocks for decades to enhance oil recovery – with no problems at all. The researchers of this article need to do their homework & consultant with some petroleum engineers. All the technology & how to apply it has already been worked out. These researchers act as if they are inventing the wheel, but in reality, they are re-inventing the wheel.
The fact of the matter is if we injected the CO2 into oil bearing reservoirs, we could increase our oil reserves & productivity in many, many fields – so we could actually get some economic benefit of it, if done properly.
So, before you bash CO2 sequestration, do your homework. It isn’t an inherently flawed idea & should be judged independently of the AGW hypothesis.

November 11, 2010 7:55 pm

If they really want to sequester CO2 then the best way would be to dissolve it in the oceans. The slight reduction in alkalinity promotes growth in calcium carbonate producing creatures, removing CO2 safely and cheaply for millions of years!
From a Matt Ridley essay on ‘Ocean Acidification’ :
‘A new paper from scientists in North Carolina proves what many scientists have long suspected, namely that corals and other species do not use carbonate as raw material to make their shells; they use bicarbonate. And dissolving carbon dioxide in water actually increases bicarbonate concentrations.
This may explain why study after study keeps finding that far from depressing growth rates of marine organisms, high but realistic levels of carbon dioxide either do not affect them or increase them. By far the most important calcifiers in the oceans are plankton called coccolithophores, which account for about a third of the total marine calcium carbonate manufacture. There is now strong evidence that coccolithophores are growing faster and larger as a result of human carbon dioxide emissions. Stands to reason if they use bicarbonate.’
Original article :

November 11, 2010 8:02 pm

Henry chance said: “There is no such thing as impermeable formations.”
That’s simply not true. Salt formations and shales of suitable thickness are impermeable, among others. Most of the proposed sequestration sites are former oil and gas fields. They are, by definition, trapped under impermeable formations. Many were previously at extremely high pressure. No instance of potable water being naturally contaminated by natural gas comes to mind. Nor does an instance of CO2 injection as a secondary recovery technique.
The frac issues I know about are always related to injections of hydraulic fluids (not CO2) in shallow oil or gas formations that are permeable, but not sufficiently so that they can be economically produced. No are they very high pressure because high pressures cost money. Their real purpose is to open small cracks so the included propants can keep the cracks open. Potable water is also shallow. Don’t do that.
But it does seem to me that these two researchers could have spent an hour in the geology and petroleum engineering departments and saved themselves a lot of trouble. The sheer volume of CO2 that they want to sequester makes the idea ridiculous.

November 11, 2010 8:12 pm

David Axelrod addresses BO as “Potus”. This is how he addressed the President in an email reported on broadcast TV.
Do they believe themselves to be royalty? It would appear so.
We need to revisit how we feel about titles of royalty in our country.

November 11, 2010 8:25 pm

Garry says:
November 11, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Simply and aptly put…
This all reminds me of the futurists from the 70s, with nary a prophecy of theirs coming to pass. They are as good as Dick Tracy in the 50s, floating around in magnetic cars that looked like cherry-picker platforms, and the proclamation of B.O. Plenty as he soars over the city, “He who controls magnetism controls the universe.”
These geoengineering dudes are thus similar to golden age cartoon characters, and should be taken at least as seriously.

November 11, 2010 8:25 pm

By the way
Jeff L says: wrote.
November 11, 2010 at 7:24 pm
Thanks for that. Keeping things in perspective.

November 11, 2010 8:29 pm

Well look at the source this is from. DUKE. Nothing else left to say.

November 11, 2010 8:31 pm

Re my post : ‘If they really want to sequester CO2 then the best way would be to dissolve it in the oceans.’
Thinking about it – pumping CO2 directly in to the ocean would concentrate it too much in one area and would use a lot of resources and energy to achieve. What is required is a way to distribute CO2 over a large body of water to ensure even distribution. The greenest way is to utilise natural methods : if the CO2 is pumped directly in to the air then the atmosphere will ensure the maximum distribution over the oceans, sequestering the CO2 more evenly without using precious resources.

November 11, 2010 8:53 pm

A great leader would begin to prepare the nation for hard times ahead.

Jimmy Haigh
November 11, 2010 8:55 pm

1) Sequester it in beer.
2) Drink the beer and sequester the released CO2 in more beer
Go back to 1).

November 11, 2010 8:58 pm

In order to sequester CO2 has anyone considered the Charnal Solution?
If the bones from the many millions of animals butchered each year were dumped in the oceans then this would sequester CO2 in the form of calcium carbonate. The hagfish would remove any scraps of flesh and so reduce methane production. Other burrowing fish would recover any useful minerals from the bones. This would also lead to a growth in deep sea animals which would also effectively sequester more CO2.
I would hope that it would not lead to vegetarianism being made illegal, or the compulsory burial of human corpses at sea, but to save the world any sacrifice must be considered.

Caught Jester
November 11, 2010 9:06 pm

I thought Al Gore was a CO2 geezer

November 11, 2010 9:07 pm

Do you really think the billionaire tax cuts should remain in place?
That means the billionaires don’t have to die before December 31, 2010 when the estate tax goes from 0% to 55% thereafter.

November 11, 2010 9:09 pm


November 11, 2010 9:15 pm

I think everyone is starting to accept the Ron Paul end time scenario for the economy.

November 11, 2010 9:34 pm

Military manufacturing grew by 125% in our country since 9/11.
At the same time, consumer goods manufacturing declined by approximately 40%.

November 11, 2010 10:17 pm

Michael says:
November 11, 2010 at 8:12 pm

David Axelrod addresses BO as “Potus”. This is how he addressed the President in an email reported on broadcast TV.
Do they believe themselves to be royalty? It would appear so.
We need to revisit how we feel about titles of royalty in our country.

POTUS is not a title. It is an acronym that stands for President Of The United States. I see it used by U.S. military and veterans when referring to the office.
Now back on topic, they should just sell the CO2. IIRC there are a lot of commercial and industrial applications for CO2.

April E. Coggins
November 11, 2010 10:30 pm

The old fables come to mind. The Emperor with no clothes, Rumpilstilskin. Chicken Little, Robin Hood. Especially Robin Hood.

Neil Jones
November 11, 2010 11:13 pm

Couldn’t we pump the CO2 into oil wells to get more oil out at the same time?

November 11, 2010 11:21 pm

Carbon Sequestering Simplified
Sean at 3:50 PM presented a good observation when he noted, “The oceans quite naturally sequester vast amounts of CO2 already. Find a way to speed up the process just a little, and you might keep up with human combustion of fossile fuel.”
The same is true for shallow fresh water ponds with their prolific algal growth in the summer. I see a huge potential for a green, sustainable (not to mention utopian) lifestyle growing up around coal fired power plants. Infrastucture costs to establish such communities are minimal. All that is required is that fresh water pools be installed with piped in CO2 for plant growth and waste heat from the power plant to maintain a constant warm temperature during the colder months.
Seed the water with the most prolific and nutritious algae species. For floral diversity and as a human habitat construction resource, plant willows around the shore. Within two years you will have a Garden of Eden.
Willows are easily woven so could be used to make both the rafts and paddles to be used by the inhabitants for recreation, exercise and food gathering. The first two of those activities will have to become an essential element of the culture of the inhabitants since agitation of the water is needed to accelerate algal growth. Willows will also be used to make the structural skeletons of the wattle and daub dwellings for the inhabitants. Young willow shoots can also be woven into baskets and sandals.
The staple food for the inhabitants will be the algae collected from the pond. It can easily be gathered and set out in mats to dry in the sun. The dried mats would be cut up into convenient sized biscuits for later consumption. Thus, the use of fire for food preparation is not needed. The use of fire to provide personal warmth is also not needed since there is the immediate availability of the warm pond as a refuge in the cold winter months just as the Japanese Macaque monkeys have learned to do.
The builder of each pond community should grant half acre or acre homesteads to the pioneers who come to live there. This will imbue a pride of ownership in the inhabitants and encourage them to be good custodians of the environment in which they live.
For those who are of a spiritual bent, a single oak or cypress tree could be planted in each community to provide a focal point for worship and social events. To prevent backsliding or succumbing to the temptations of the material world, each community should have an enclave set aside and inhabited by a cadre of spiritual leaders. The minimum qualifications for such leaders is that they be bona fide AGW proponents, having published at least one peer reviewed paper on the subject. Subaltern ranks of the spiritual leader class could be filled by environmental reporters who have kept the faith and been martyred by skeptics.
Immigration into the communities should be limited to those who are young and idealistic and can be expected to have children to sustain the community in coming generations. Aging hippies should be discouraged from homesteading in the community – they are the class of people most likely to introduce mind altering plants and animals to a clear headed population. The community could not survive with half the population licking cane toads and soaking in the warm pool. It needs a vibrant young population out on the pond paddling around, agitating the algae and gathering the fruits of the earth.
By the turn of the century such communities would be in their third or fourth generation and have developed such diverse and quaint customs that they would necessarily attract a considerable tourist trade. The associated power company could profit from the tourist trade and as a consequence provide electricity to their customers at a reduced price. This is a win-win solution for all concerned with the issue. The first coal fired powerplant in California in many years would surely be quickly permitted if such a plan were proposed. If necessary, we may have to compromise and not exclude the aging hippies and cane toads.

Cassandra King
November 12, 2010 12:49 am

There is stupidity, gross stupidity, sublime stupidity, mind boggling stupidity and then there is climate ‘science’ stupidity.
Whoever thought that pumping a harmless trace gas that we drink by the millions of tons every year in the form of CO2 infused drinks into a hole in the ground was a great idea?
I just cannot get my head around how intelligent people can lose their critical faculties/marbles in order to come up with whacky crazy schemes like this, it just does not compute.
Even if you believe that a harmless trace gas essential to life on earth is somehow harmful how on earth does the extra energy required to sequester this gas make sense in an energy conservation equation?
There is a kind of madness in the air affecting humanity, it is sapping reason and sound judgement and reinforcing an unthinking unreasoning emotional response that is somehow bypassing the higher human intellect.
Whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad? The quality control of cold logic and Rational common sense is evaporating replaced by a form of incoherent mystical mumbo jumbo. Is there nobody in the chain of planning policy creation who stood up and tried to inject some common sense when some bright spark stood up and said ‘yeah I know lets dig a hole and pour CO2 down it and damn the cost’?
I dont know about CCS(carbon capture and storage) but it seems that a new scheme of CSCS(common sense capture and storage) has been developed and is working very effectively indeed.

November 12, 2010 1:56 am

Another deadly sign of CO2, how many are there so far…CO2 must be the most dangerous thing in the universe.

UK Sceptic
November 12, 2010 2:06 am

CO2 pollutes water? Has this guy never drunk Perrier? Or a beer?

John Marshall
November 12, 2010 2:36 am

CCS, Carbon Capture and Storage, is e2xtremely costly and unnecessary.

November 12, 2010 3:25 am

GREAT! We won’t have to buy our carbonated water now!

November 12, 2010 3:28 am

That reminded me…. no one has yet said carbonated soda drinks are a threat to global warming, yet. I’m waiting.

November 12, 2010 4:17 am

Jeff L says:
November 11, 2010 at 7:24 pm
“We in the oil industry have been injecting CO2 into rocks for decades to enhance oil recovery – with no problems at all.”
We know all about that, thank you, but I assume that:
(a) at the point in time when the enhanced recovery process is producing very little oil , i.e. the reservoir is emptied of oil by the injected CO2, you permanently seal the riser through which the oil has been recovered, and
(b) you then stop pumping CO2 into the reservoir.
This is not the same thing as what the CCS lunatics want to do.
They want to help the oil industry with their enhanced recovery process, but having done that they want the oil man to cap the well and then they keep on pumping CO2 into the reservoir for their sequestration lark.
Do you agree that your analogy is faulty?

November 12, 2010 4:22 am

A major risk involved with CSS is based on the process to capture Co2 from the exhaust fumes of power plants. It is based on the reaction of Co2 with amines. When NOx is present in the exhaust fumes, it will also react with the amines, forming nitrosamines, which are highly toxic and carcinogenic. They can escape into the air, or also being trapped in the CO2 that goes underground.
A pilot plant in Mongstad, Norway is facing serious delays due to this unresolved issue.
CSS is not a mature technology.

Beth Cooper
November 12, 2010 5:35 am

Tell them to please leave us alone. 🙁

November 12, 2010 5:52 am

Every time it is more “funny”each new argument which appears. This time some nuts will manufacture “Subterranean Coke”…
However, now some progressive people are really preoccupied and don´t like this “solution”, as they used to drink their favorite beverage (*) totally degasified.

November 12, 2010 6:01 am

Another “bright idea” bites the dust. There’s no stopping the mad dash to a mannmade better world. Of course it would be a little easier and less expensive if people would reduce the size of their urban footprints on the planet and start growing more trees instead of suburban homes, industrial parks, and landfills. But no, that’s too easy.
PS: I still think that it would be better if we all moved to California and let the rest of the country go to trees and sagebrush. Yes! I’ve thought of the problem with earthquakes in that state. We can fill up the faults with garbage and human/industrial waste; that will glue everything together in 50 years.

November 12, 2010 6:01 am

JerryF says:
November 11, 2010 at 11:21 pm
Brilliant! Sounds as reasonable – nay, more reasonable – as any of the CO2 sequestering schemes I’ve seen. Your plan covers all the bases; politics, religion, economics.
When are you going to apply for a grant for a pilot project?

Alex the skeptic
November 12, 2010 6:02 am

It seems that everything is going wrong for the alarmists:
The oceans are not warming, but cooling a bit.
The atmosphere has stopped warming in 1998
The hockey stick got stuck on the horizontal section.
Biofuels have been found more damning than coal itself (read it just yesterday in an EU report)
Pachauri (enough said)
Offshore wind trubines UK project may flop due to immense costs
Calls for Obama to sack his Climate Czar Carol Browner
Planet has enough hydrocarbon fuels for the next 300 years at least
And now this: CO2 sequestration is dangerous
What else?

Alex the skeptic
November 12, 2010 6:10 am

Iskandar says:
November 12, 2010 at 4:22 am
……CSS is not a mature technology.
Agreed. It is an immature technology from immature people. I had seen this coming the first time I heard about it. (I dodnt like saying ‘I told you so’, but I couldn’t help it) It’s like pumping air into a punctured tyre, just a little bit complex though. How can one tell to all that pressurised CO2 to stay down there? for a millenium or two? Fix a sign saying: NO EXIT HERE? lol

Pull My Finger
November 12, 2010 6:14 am

This was a stupid, expensive, and ineffective solution so of course the Greenies embraced it wholeheartedly.
Oh, did I mention unnecessary?

Alex the skeptic
November 12, 2010 6:17 am

What if a multiple-decade’s worth of CO2 pumped into the earth’s crust were to escape, by some freak of Nature (or Man), in a very short span of time? Wouldn’t it be much much worse both at the micro and macro scale? It would surely suffocate any beast or humans in the immediate vicinity (remember the Cameroon accident way back in the eightees was it?) and it will cause a sudden jump in global atmospheric CO2 that would cause unprecedented warming…. with AlGorean-tipping-point-global-disruptions.

November 12, 2010 6:36 am

Seems they have finally twigged that more CO2 helps trees grow not dissappear. So why stick it underground.

November 12, 2010 6:37 am

In the UK the CCS lunatics strike again;
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said:
“Today the Government is reasserting its mission to lead the world on CCS, by opening our funding process to what could be one of the first ever commercial-scale CCS projects on a gas-fired plant in the world.”
“The UK looks set to rely on gas for years to come. We won’t be able to take the carbon out of all gas plants overnight, but we hope to support the process by investment in new technology now. In the long run carbon capture will help provide us with a secure and affordable energy system and we want to encourage companies with projects on both gas and coal-fired power stations to come forward.”
Thin end of wedge here – the next announcement will be that you cannot get a permit for a new gas fired power station unless it can accomodate CCS – as is now the case for new coal fired power stations in the UK since the passing of the Climate Change Bill in October 2008.

Alex the skeptic
November 12, 2010 6:46 am

Neil Jones says:
November 11, 2010 at 11:13 pm. Couldn’t we pump the CO2 into oil wells to get more oil out at the same time?
Yes we can, but the problem is that the one of the products of burning oil is CO2 gas which would occupy a volume of an order of magnitude or two higher (I i m too lazy to compute the math), so a small part of that CO2 would go back to where it came from, but the other greater portion of CO2 gas would still be looking around for a resting place… maybe a rain forest or two would do.
[From the ideal gas laws, PV=nRT. But you will need that CO2 compressed up to 3000 – 6000 psig (from atmospheric, hot gas conditions in an exhaust stack) and cooled back to ambient, then shipped cross-country at those high pressures, then injected back into the bottom of the well. Robt]

November 12, 2010 7:03 am

Many of the problems referred to above have been investigated by UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology in 2009.
This is a good read and shows that CCS is unlikely to proceed in Europe because of the way in which financial liabilities for accidents and leaks are dealt with.

Jeff L
November 12, 2010 7:20 am

Brownedoff says:
November 12, 2010 at 4:17 am
“Do you agree that your analogy is faulty?”
No, I don’t.
Reservoirs are reservoirs, oil or no oil. Top seals are top seals, oil or no oil
This is concept is child’s play for any petroleum reservoir engineer.
Find the right reservoirs with the right properties – of which there are unlimited numbers of – and start injecting. If you can do it into an oil reservoir & get economic benefit from it , all the better. Of course, this all costs $s, but the cost-benefit curve of this operation is not what the article is about & will not debate it.
Again, as I said before – try to separate the concept on CO2 injection from AGW. They are two completely independent concepts. I would agree that AGW is a flawed hypothesis but don’t try to argue it by saying CO2 injection is a flawed hypothesis as it has been done & is being done without issue as we speak.

Wondering Aloud
November 12, 2010 7:21 am

Contaminated with CO2 leaks? Oh no! Carbonated water! run for the hills! Or the brewery.

November 12, 2010 7:26 am

Rick Werme,
“I have no idea of the energy requirements behind it, but I sometimes suggest it be combined with sand, i.e. CO2 + SiO2 = SiC + 2O2, i.e. ceramic and oxygen.”
As a former technician in the semiconductor industry, I can assure the energy requirements are very high!

November 12, 2010 7:28 am

Decaffinated, diet, decarbonated drinks – isn’t this just drinking murky water?

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
November 12, 2010 7:34 am

Why get rid of good usable carbon dioxide?

Carbon dioxide reuse
In 2009, chemists working for the U.S. Navy investigated Fischer-Tropsch for generating fuels, obtaining hydrogen by electrolysis of seawater. When combined with the dissolved carbon dioxide using a cobalt-based catalyst, this study produced mostly methane gas. However, when using an iron-based catalyst, it was possible to reduce the methane produced to 30 per cent with the rest being predominantly short-chain hydrocarbons. Further refining of the hydrocarbons produced applying solid acid catalysts, such as zeolites, can potentially lead to the production of kerosene-based jet fuel.[21]
The abundance of CO2 makes seawater an attractive alternative fuel source. Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory stated that, “although the gas forms only a small proportion of air – around 0.04 per cent – ocean water contains about 140 times that concentration”.[21] Robert Dorner presented the findings of his work to the American Chemical Society on 16 August 2009, at the Marriott Metro Center in Washington DC.[22]

Why go to all that trouble of extracting CO2 from seawater?
Find or build a coal electric plant, which tend to get placed near abundant water sources for cooling purposes, and build a hydrocarbon plant next to it, or build a unified plant. Capture the CO2 from the coal plant exhaust, use some of the electricity to crack hydrogen from the water, use the coal plant’s waste heat in the process described above…
Voila! Burn coal, get electricity and sulfur-free hydrocarbons. The combined operation’s waste will be ash, sulfurous products that are normally scrubbed out anyway… And Oxygen! What’s wrong with that?
(I can hear a million Greens screaming “That’s EVIL COAL! Nothing good comes from it!”)

Geaff Alder
November 12, 2010 7:47 am

I have an air conditioning background. Usually, to conserve energy, we admit as little outside air to any system as is feasible, whilst still keeping indoor air quality OK. We get quite excited when providing air conditioning to accommodate machinery (computers, textiles) with their great heat loads, because those machines have little if any requirement for outside air. The other day I had reason to check up on agricultural growth chambers and thought “no requirement for outside air here”! How wrong I was. Those confounded plants in their growth chambers use up the available CO2 because of their unreasonable photosynthesis needs, and outside air must be introduced solely because of its content of CO2 in order that plant growth may be maintained. But many seem to find it difficult to declare that the enemy might indeed be a friend.
Geoff Alder

Alex the skeptic
November 12, 2010 8:10 am

Thanks Robt for working out the math for lazy me, but the result was converted, by some freak bout of internetitis, into a telephone number preceded with my tiny country’s prefix (tiny is for the island not for the prefix). So, I appeal to all you readers not to press this number because at 3000-6000 psig it may explode in your face and the CO2 may suffocate you. 🙂

November 12, 2010 11:09 am

Has anyone had a sneaking suspicion that this is a red herring? Can someone do some research, perhaps utilizing FOIA or other means, to find out what the connection is among the “scientists” at Duke and those of the warm-earth cult? I guarantee they are one and the same.
“Let’s try to distract them with this absurdity, so our “peer” buddies can come along and debunk it, since we are so much smarter than they are, we can surely pull it off.”
In one South Park episode, this was called the “Chewbaka Defense” in mockery of the OJ Simpson trial. The lawyer would have a monkey hand puppet while talking to the jury, while spouting total nonsense and saying, “look at the monkey—look at the crazy monkey!” At that, Cartman cried, “Oh no! He’s using the Chewbaka Defense!”

CRS, Dr.P.H.
November 12, 2010 12:08 pm

Juraj V. says:
November 11, 2010 at 3:06 pm
I think acidifying of water leads to increased solubility of other minerals /like metals/ in the water. CO2 itself is not a contaminant in this sense.
Right on the money! Groundwater supplies tend to migrate, and deep basaltic aquifers contain elevated levels of metals, radionuclides such as uranium & radium etc. naturally. This is a huge problem in northern Illinois, where deep basaltic reservoirs are increasingly being tapped to supplement overstretched surface water supplies.
The paper says this:
“CO2 caused concentrations of the alkali and alkaline earths and manganese, cobalt, nickel, and iron to increase by more than 2 orders of magnitude. Potentially dangerous uranium and barium increased throughout the entire experiment in some samples.”
The chemical process is through acidification, wherein the carbon dioxide dissolves into the groundater and forms carbonic acid under pressure. The increased acidity causes increased dissolution of minerals from the rock, contaminating the water.
Anyone within DOE who says this is not a problem is an idiot. The public health community is aware of this, but keeping their yaps shut, since they have bought into the public health threats of climate disruption.
….I’m not terribly popular with my colleagues by the way! I keep bringing up these “wicked problems.” We haven’t even addressed the parasitic energy load required to collect, compress and inject the carbon dioxide into these subsurface structures. I’m working with one major utility on all of these aspects of CCS (carbon capture & sequestration).
Thanks, Anthony, this is a good paper. I can penetrate the paywall and obtain the pdfs of these things, why don’t you set up a SCRIBD account for WUWT readers to upload documents such as this?

CRS, Dr.P.H.
November 12, 2010 12:18 pm

Here’s another article that seems to substantiate the deleterious effects of carbon dioxide capture and sequestration upon groundwater supplies:
Geologic carbon sequestration has the potential to cause long-term reductions in global emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Safe and effective application of carbon sequestration technology requires an understanding of the potential risks to the quality of underground sources of drinking water.
In particular, concern is warranted regarding the potential for CO2 leakage through geological features and abandoned wells that may result in detrimental perturbations to subsurface geochemistry. Reaction path and kinetic models indicate that geochemical shifts caused by CO2 leakage are closely linked to mineralogical properties of the receiving aquifer.
CO2 gas dissolution into groundwater and subsequent reaction with aquifer minerals will control the evolution of pH−bicarbonate envelopes. These parameters provide geochemical context for predicting how regulated contaminants associated with aquifer solids will respond via various mineral−water reaction processes. The distribution and abundance of carbonate, silicate, oxide, and phyllosilicate minerals are identified as key variables in controlling changes in groundwater geochemistry.
Site-specific risk assessments may require characterization of aquifer geology, mineralogy, and groundwater chemistry prior to CO2 injection. Model results also provide a frame of reference for developing indicative measurement, monitoring, and verification (MMV) protocols for groundwater protection.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
November 12, 2010 1:42 pm

I remain singularly impressed by Green Logic.
1. For many months we have been warned about “ocean acidification” due to excess CO2 being absorbed by ocean water, where minerals will be leached from corals and shells plus there will be increased corrosion of metals, thus we need to stop releasing such large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.
2. It is now a good idea to pump large amounts of excess CO2 underground, where there is water, that may absorb the CO2 and become acidified, which will lead to minerals being leached out of the surrounding rock into the water, contaminating it.
How did they not see that in-ground CO2 sequestration could have this problem, after all those many many months of studying and researching ocean acidification?

November 12, 2010 1:54 pm

The importance of CO2 to health and it’s effect on our system. It plays an important role in nearly every body function.
Interesting to note that when measuring CO2 blood levels, atmospheric CO2 is not factored in or taken into account because “atmospheric levels are so small, that the result has nil effect on the results.”

November 12, 2010 2:27 pm

I would suggest to SEQUESTER, as they are made up from NOXIOUS CARBON, the majority of Global Warmers, so we will live forever Happy.
Call YOUR FAVORITE undertaker!

November 12, 2010 2:33 pm

These global warmers think they can control Nature and they are planning to govern upon the World, as they think themselves the most intelligent and prepared and gifted people of the whole humanity: The same thought was recently expressed by CANCER CELLS when they planned to take over the whole body: They succeeded and gloriously died with it!

November 12, 2010 2:35 pm

Goo idea! : Some Cobalt 60 will work for them, conveniently dissolved in Kool-Aid 🙂

November 12, 2010 2:58 pm

What is the average Energy Returned On Energy Invested (EROEI) ratio for a typical carbon sequestration facility?
Let me help you out here. The answer is < 1. It is a total waste of resources and will generate more CO2 to design, manufacture, install and operate a CS facility than the CO2 it is hoping to sequester.
It is easier to pick yourself up off the floor by pulling on your bootstraps, than it is to reduce CO2 emissions by sequestering CO2.

Paul Jackson
November 12, 2010 3:18 pm

George E. Smith said
<i?Perhaps they should reduce the CO2 to carbon, and store that down in the salt mines; we will need it to blacken the ice when the big freeze gets underway.
Perhaps terra preta do indios, black earth of the Indians would be a better idea/

nano pope
November 12, 2010 7:11 pm

I love how this “may” present problems but “there are ways to avoid or reduce the risk”. I’m sure none of those ways to avoid or reduce risk have problems of their own that end up worse than what they were trying to fix. Oh wait, that happened already.

November 13, 2010 8:46 am

Jeff L says:
November 12, 2010 at 7:20 am
“Reservoirs are reservoirs, oil or no oil. Top seals are top seals, oil or no oil
This is concept is child’s play for any petroleum reservoir engineer.
Find the right reservoirs with the right properties – of which there are unlimited numbers of – and start injecting. If you can do it into an oil reservoir & get economic benefit from it , all the better. Of course, this all costs $s, but the cost-benefit curve of this operation is not what the article is about & will not debate it.”
There is a crucial quantitative difference between sequestration and secondary recovery using CO2. To sequestrate the CO2 that results from burning the contents of an oil or natural gas reservoir would require more volume than the original reservoir contains. Even compressed to liquid density at ~1000 atmospheres pressure, the CO2 would take up about a third more space, and most existing oil reservoirs would be unable to contain pressures this high safely and permanently. Old coal mines would as a rule be even less suitable. One could of course use much lower pressures, but then one would need proportionately larger reservoir volumes. It would be hard to find enough currently unoccupied reservoirs for more than a few decades’ worth of CO2.
By the way, contrary to what many commenters seem to assume, capturing and compressing the CO2 for sequestration need not consume a large fraction of the power produced. An upper limit is the 5MJ/kg to extract CO2 directly from the atmosphere using NH3 with no recycling of sensible heat, plus the 0.4MJ/kg to compress it to 1000 bar. The former figure should be reduced considerably in practical commercial plants. Capturing the CO2 from flue gases should not require more than ~0.25MJ/kg, by compressing the gases above 74 bar and cooling to 304K, tapping off the liquid CO2 then allowing the residual nitrogen to re-expand. Other techniques may be able to reduce this further (though may hit snags with impurities, which however would not be much of a problem in the simple mechanical process). Separating out the nitrogen before combustion would be another option. If we assume a 40% efficiency (thermal to electrical), we require ~1MJ/kg CO2 of primary energy, or about 10% of the total power. Not negligible, but not a show-stopper either. It will take some time to develop industrial scale systems to such efficiencies, but there’s no reason to doubt their practicability. Transporting the CO2 to the sequestration sites would also be a major logistical issue (unless we extract the CO2 from the atmosphere locally), but again not an insoluble one. Just needlessly costly.

Pamela Gray
November 13, 2010 9:31 am

CO2 regularly contaminates my cooking. Just poured the vile stuff (in the form of Guinness Stout) in a mean vat of venison stew. Contaminated the cook a bit too.

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