Carbon capture and storage – the Edsel of energy policies

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Guest essay by Steve Goreham

Originally published in The Washington Times

The war on climate change has produced many dubious “innovations.” Intermittent wind and solar energy sources, carbon markets that buy and sell “hot air,” and biofuels that burn food as we drive are just a few examples. But carbon capture and storage is the Edsel of energy policies.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS), also called carbon capture and sequestration, is promoted by President Obama, the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for coal-fired power plants. In September, the EPA proposed a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 emissions per megawatt-hour of electricity produced, a regulation that would effectively ban construction of new coal plants without CCS.

Coal is the world’s fastest growing hydrocarbon fuel. Increased use of coal by developing nations boosted coal use from 24.6 percent of the world’s primary energy supply in 1973 to 28.8 percent in 2011. Wind and solar remain less than one percent of the global energy supply. Proponents of the theory of man-made warming realize that world use of coal will remain strong for decades, so they insist that coal plants use CCS to limit CO2 emissions.

CCS requires capturing of carbon dioxide, a normal waste product from the combustion of fuel, transporting CO2 by pipeline, and then storing it underground. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says, “CCS technology is feasible and it’s available.”

Carbon capture is feasible, but it’s very expensive. The DOE estimates that CCS increases coal-fired electricity cost by 70 percent. This does not include the additional cost of building pipelines to transport the carbon dioxide and the cost of establishing reservoirs to store the CO2 underground.

An example is Southern Company’s planned coal-fired plant with CCS in Kemper County, Mississippi, which is scheduled to begin operations in 2014. With recent cost overruns, the Southern Company now estimates a $4.7 billion price tag for the 582-megawatt plant. This exceeds the price of a comparable nuclear plant and is almost five times the price of a gas-fired plant.

The DOE pledged $270 million in funding for the Kemper County plant along with a federal tax credit of $133 million. Mississippi customers will be socked with a $2.88 billion electricity rate increase to support the plant.

Nine US plants currently capture CO2 as part of normal industrial processes, such as natural gas or chemical refining and fertilizer production. All nine facilities sell CO2 to the petroleum industry for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), a process which pumps CO2 into the ground. The Kemper County plant will also provide CO2 for EOR. Another ten US projects are underway to capture CO2 and most of these projects are subsidized with federal money.

Ford spent $350 million on the Edsel, the most famous car failure in history. But CCS is a much bigger financial boondoggle. From 2008 through 2012, governments committed to spend more than $22 billion on CCS projects. The United States leads the way with a commitment of more than $5 billion.

Despite support by US and world governments, carbon capture is not headed for success. A report released by the Global CCS Institute this month shows that international investment in CCS is now in decline. During the last year, the number of large-scale CCS projects declined from 75 to 65. Five projects were cancelled and seven were put on hold, with only three new projects added. The institute reports that private organizations are not investing in CCS.

The number of CCS projects in Europe has declined from 21 to 15, where no new project has entered commercial operation since 2008. The Global CCS Institute states that an “urgent policy response is required” for success. In other words, governments must impose carbon taxes and provide big subsidies for CCS.

Would carbon capture really have a measureable effect on global warming? CO2 emissions from power plants total less than one percent of the carbon dioxide that naturally enters the atmosphere each year from the oceans, the biosphere, and other natural sources. If the world fully implements CCS, it’s unlikely that we could detect a change in global temperatures.

But, worse than this, if the theory of dangerous man-made global warming is false, CCS becomes an expensive solution to a non-problem. When the dust of history settles and the ideology of Climatism fades away, failed CCS projects will be remembered as the Edsel of energy policies.

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Steve Goreham is Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of the book The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania.

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91 thoughts on “Carbon capture and storage – the Edsel of energy policies

  1. Carbon capture is feasible…
    —————————————-
    fea·si·ble
    /ˈfēzəbəl/
    adjective
    adjective: feasible
    1.
    possible to do easily or conveniently.
    synonyms: practicable, practical, workable, achievable, attainable, realizable, viable, realistic, sensible, reasonable, within reason

  2. “The war on climate change has produced many dubious “innovations.” Intermittent wind and solar energy sources, carbon markets that buy and sell “hot air,” and biofuels that burn food as we drive are just a few examples. But carbon capture and storage is the Edsel of energy policies.”
    With respect, grid-connected wind and solar power, carbon markets and carbon taxes, and food-to-fuel are nonsensical policies.
    They are all much worse than the Edsel.
    They are butt-ugly and have cost society more than a trillion dollars in squandered scarce resources.
    The Edsel was butt-ugly too, but it only cost the Ford Corporation several hundred million dollars – a few billion in today’s dollars.
    And Ford killed off the Edsel after only three years, whereas this global warming nonsense is still going after three decades.
    Thankfully, global warming nonsense and the idiotic energy policies it spawned will not last much longer. Within a decade or so, they too will go the way of the Edsel.
    http://nonesnotes.com/2013/03/17/remembering-roy-brown-designer-of-the-star-crossed-edsel-one-of-the-biggest-flops-in-automotive-history/
    [excerpt]
    “The design of the car was controversial. Its most memorable design feature was its “horse collar” grille, unfortunately referred to by some as a toilet seat. It was different from any other car on the market — but the notoriety wasn’t positive. Some wags joked that the car’s front resemble “an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon,” while others were even less charitable, noting that the grille design was suggestive of a giant vulva.”
    ________________
    [One might wonder why it was not more popular.]

  3. Coal-fired plants are old technology. The sooner the US and the world moves to Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs), the faster economies will grow and the cleaner air, water and soil will become from the cheapest/cleanest/most abundant/efficient form of energy on the planet.
    As is often the case, the US developed LFTR technology and other countries are now developing the technology, with China expected to have its first LFTR operational by 2020.
    Coal-fired plants have destroyed China’s air quality but were essential in building its industrial base. China is now in phase II of its industrial expansion and once their LFTR program is implemented, a second wave of industrial production will flood into its shores to take advantage of their cheap LFTR energy, minimum corporate rules and regulations, low corporate tax rates, 1.2 billion consumers and cheap labor.
    The US environmental lobby has effectively killed Light-Water Reactor development from the late 70’s and I’m confident they’ll be equally effective in killing LFTR development and the US economy, too.
    The irony is that the quicker LFTRs are developed, the cleaner air, water and soil will become and the faster America’s economy can recover.
    And so it goes….until freedom and sanity are restored.

  4. There already excist a 100 percent efficient Carbon Capture devise .This device is Solar powered , no construction or developement cost .uses very little land with practically zero maintenance.Lasting in some cases hundreds of years.This device has zero impact and can actually be used to enhance the enviroment proving a natural habitat for hundreds of specis of wildlife and unlike Wind Turbine is aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
    Other bennifits of this device include boosting tourism providing construction material, food and a source of fuel
    The name of this wonder device is called a Tree.

  5. Carbon capture is insanely dangerous. Inevitably someone, somewhere will overfill a geological reservoir, located conveniently near population centres. Here is an idea of what might happen when the reservoir cracks.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nyos#1986_disaster
    The amount of CO2 release by Lake Nyos is equivalent to the CO2 emitted by a large coal power station in a couple of weeks. A similar disaster near a major city could kill millions.

  6. Eric. Please explain. How do you have a CO2 disaster or explosion. Not possible. It’s not possible to get enough CO2 in free air to do any harm.
    CO2 makes life happen

  7. I have asked this time and time again.
    But what happens if you get a well-blowout with your CO2 deposition well? Has anyone looked at the results of the 1986 Lake Nyos disaster?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nyos
    Just how far from habitation would your well have to be to declare the well safe? How far can a cloud of CO2 travel along the ground, before it disperses? Anyone looked into this?

  8. The wiki reference talks about the smell and burns. More like sulfer or sulfer dioxide. CO2 has no smell or action on a person. Yes in enclosed enviorments eg submarines or intentional misuse suicide cars it can be a problem
    The 1.6 time density may be correct and if so supports the theory that increases inCO2 actually reduce temperature as is now happening

  9. PaulC says:
    Eric. Please explain. How do you have a CO2 disaster or explosion. Not possible. It’s not possible to get enough CO2 in free air to do any harm.
    CO2 makes life happen

    Pure CO2 is 50% heavier than air. When Lake Nyos fizzed up like a vast glass of pop, it released between 100 – 300,000 tons of CO2 all at once. The blanket of CO2 hugged the ground up to a height of around 50ft, suffocating most life in a 15 mile radius.
    If through greed or negligence too much CO2 is forced into a reservoir, something will give way. If we’re lucky, the release will be slow. If we’re unlucky, the release could be abrupt, and a lake Nyos style blanket of suffocating CO2 could erupt and cover a large region. Remember also that when a gas expands suddenly, it cools – so the CO2 will be cold, which will enhance its ability to hug the ground.

  10. “Mississippi customers will be socked with a $2.88 billion electricity rate increase to support the plant.”
    And taxpayers will be socked with an increase to support the increased cost of state and federal subsidizing of government employees and the “poor” people’s utility bills.
    And with 50+% of the populace receiving a government check then ,,,,,, a few more BILLION$ added to the cost of CAGW “junk” science solutions.

  11. PaulC says:
    The wiki reference talks about the smell and burns. More like sulfer or sulfer dioxide. CO2 has no smell or action on a person. Yes in enclosed enviorments eg submarines or intentional misuse suicide cars it can be a problem
    When people commit suicide in a vehicle its the carbon monoxide which kills them, not carbon dioxide.
    There was sulfur and other volcanic gasses in the Lake Nyos disaster, but these gasses can’t have been a major component of the gas blanket, because there were survivors – if your lungs fill with sulphur dioxide or hydrogen sulphide, you don’t live to talk about it.
    The 1.6 time density may be correct and if so supports the theory that increases inCO2 actually reduce temperature as is now happening
    Its basic science – carbon, oxygen and nitrogen all weigh about the same, they are next to each other on the periodic table. So a CO2 molecule is by rough rule of thumb 50% heavier than O2 or N2, the major components of air – 3 atoms vs 2 atoms.

  12. With apologies to sceptics who know this already, CO2 is a pristine, colourless, odourless trace gas. It is NOT a pollutant. It is a plant food. Without it all life ceases. The more atmospheric CO2 there is, the better. (World crop yields have soared in the last decade coincident with increased CO2 emissions.) It’s a crowded field, but CCS would have to be THE most bat crazy, brain dead boondoggle ever wheeled out by the alarmist industry.

  13. Eric. Excuse my spelling mistakes. Tablet has a mind of its own
    Just what was the concentration of CO2 with the explosion. And the SO2 levels.
    Would bet the survivers had a lung full of good old CO2 and the dead guys Sulfur Dioxide.
    I know what my choice would be

  14. Guys, lets be clear – I’m not suggesting “CO2 is a pollutant”. As someone who is an occasional contributor to WUWT, I think CAGW theory is a crock.
    But there are circumstances under which CO2 is dangerous – one of them is when a vast quantity of cold CO2 is released at ground level. It is not that people die from “CO2 poisoning”. The problem in these circumstances is the quantity of CO2 is so great, it displaces all the oxygen, literally pushing it out of the way, so people suffocate from lack of oxygen.
    The lake Nyos disaster shows why very large concentrations of pure, compressed CO2, on the scale of the Lake Nyos release, or on the scale of a CCS programme, are unsafe – not because CO2 is particularly toxic, but because it is heavier than air, and the quantity involved is so great that it has the capacity to cover the ground in an unbreathable blanket for a significant distance from the source of the release.

  15. All those with the slightest knowledge of geology will know that while it is relatively easy to extract oil, gas and oil from underground reservoirs, those same reservoirs do not like being force filled.
    Bottom line, apart from the obvious economic insanity, there can be unintentional consequences for carbon capture – put simply, Mother Earth does not like it.
    For those who are stupid enough to believe fracking causes earthquakes, as opposed to occasional, harmless, minor tremors, then the following should make you think twice about carbon capture:
    http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&cad=rja&ved=0CFcQFjAF&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.france24.com%2Fen%2F20131009-%2522offshore-gas-rig%2522causes-300-earthquakes%3Fpage%3D32&ei=fnReUpKhBI-ihgfqrYHgDA&usg=AFQjCNHRgi7UurSb1EHFdQmQR399_XKH3g&bvm=bv.54176721,d.Yms

  16. Eric Worrall, completely agree with what you are saying I have also in the past to have raised the same and no one really seemed to “get it”. Wish you more luck.
    Yes, compressed co2 in huge quantities is EXTREMELY dangerous. If you are looking for something that could suffocated even an entire city, that’s it, huge quantities of co2 rapidly (assumed accidentally) released. CO2 slides underneath, or oppositely oxygen and nitrogen just rise over the thick heavy co2 cloud like a warm front rising over cold air at the surface and can travel for miles and miles before mixing and dispersing but in the meantime killing EVERYTHING in it’s path. Want your city’s co2 sequestered underneath you? Not any sane person.

  17. If you think protests against oil pipelines are bad just wait what residents along a CO2 pipeline will do, especially if they live in a valley where a leak could accumulate the stuff and displace breathable air. Dog cave incidents, anyone?

  18. You can’t store CO2 as it’s temperature will rise, it will get extremely hot and melt its container! If you don’t believe me just look at the IPCC graphs. Keep doubling it from 200 parts per million to 1 million parts per million.

  19. In addition to what Eric Worrall posted above
    Oxygen displacement methods utilizing carbon dioxide are used in several areas, where welding ( ex. MIG / MAG ) and fire fighting are among the more common.
    Carbon dioxide is also used in some types of air guns and in some cooling techniques.

  20. Eric Worral: “Carbon capture is insanely dangerous.
    Yep. And a catastrophic failure of an EPA mandated CO2 storage will be used to prove that the EPA was right to call it a pollutant and store it.

  21. CCS promoters are well intentioned and ignorant of the chemistry and engineering, or they are aware of the chemistry and engineering and simply cynical.

  22. If they had an EPA back in the 50s and Obama was president we would all have been legally required to buy an Edsel.

  23. Most of the C02 storage plans I’ve heard of involve pumping it into downhole formations, to replace methane and other hydrocarbons that have been produced and to maintain formation pressures. Since the gas can act as a solvent for hydrocarbons still in place, it is very useful for EOR (enhanced oil recovery) projects, and in that context is no more of a danger than the gases and/or fluids that were in those formations originally. (The goal in EOR is to “pump” the formation back up to original pressures, but never to overpressure it)
    However, the formations where this is an economically feasible strategy are rather rare and geographically limited. It usually doesn’t work in formations with permeability problems, which is every formation being fracced today. And if the C02 producing plant isn’t built fairly close to where the C02 is going to be injected, then the transportation costs make the entire project economically nonsensical.
    The Kemper County plant is a classic example of a giant facility being built based on only a theory that all the problems would work out, once it was online. (sound like a certain online health system in the news lately?) Not only did the cost overruns totally blow out the original cost, but now (because they made bad estimates of their product price) the plant is going to operate at a loss, unless rates are jacked up far above other areas in the country, which is going to drive local business away and increase local unemployment. (although of course they could go for that old favorite desperation move, exempt businesses and just beat the widows and orphans for the extra money). I would not be surprised to see the plant mothballed within 5 years, and any debt associated with it to be defaulted upon, with possibly the company operating it in receivership. It’s that big a financial disaster.
    Long story short, the impact of the Kemper County plant, which was supposed to be a showcase for the technology, is that no plant of this design will ever be built again. They have “fixed” all the problems that could be technologically fixed; but they cannot “fix” all of the rosy assumptions built into the basic design that have proven to be false.

  24. Based on the most recent fixed price contracts for Genertion 3 + nuclear plants,
    the CCS coal plant costs more than twice as much as a nuclear plant in terms of cost per kw of capacity.The nuclear plant also has lower operating costs and uses far cheaper fuel than a coal plant (less than a penny per kilowatthour of power produced).

  25. “…ideology of Climatism fades away, failed CCS projects will be remembered as the Edsel of energy policies.”
    I hope so, but if it gets far enough, ‘CO2 is bad for us’ becomes a motherhood statement and millions of brain-washed school kids will be the adult inheritors of this sacred trust. Remember, skeptics don’t have their own weather stations – these are in the hands of the CAGW manufacturing sector.

  26. If you want to capture all the CO2 from two 1100 MW coal fired power stations, you will need a third 1100 MW powerplant to provide the power required for this.
    This means 50% more coal use and fluegas emissions full of heavy metals and other pollutants for the same amount of electricity.
    What a great idea!!

  27. Ford spent $350 million on the Edsel, the most famous car failure in history. But CCS is a much bigger financial boondoggle. From 2008 through 2012, governments committed to spend more than $22 billion on CCS projects. The United States leads the way with a commitment of more than $5 billion.
    In present day dollars the Edsel cost would be ~$2.8 billion so I think you’re guilty of some hyperbole here!

  28. Comparing CCS to the Edsel may be denigrating the Edsel. The Edsel was a reasonable idea that failed from exceptionally poor execution. It did not create excess public cost and could be easily terminated without major disruption and public cost. The Edsel had utility as a means of transportation and the public had many other alternatives if they didn’t like it. Only its creator (Ford) was hurt by the Edsel.
    CCS is an idea of capturing carbon with limited use for the product other than deepwell, high pressure injection. Projects that put CCS near places the CO2 can be used for EOR eventually fail because the EOR demand moves or decreases. CCS adds to expense of production, costs all the public more and can’t be terminated without major cost to the public. I’m willing to bet that the industrial and commercial uses of CO2 have less expensive and cleaner CO2 sources.

  29. I think a couple of commenters here are on the same page but perhaps talking past one another.
    An analogy may relate to water. A nice spring rain over several days would be quite beneficial but a sudden deluge causing a flood would be much different.

  30. Personally, I kind of like the Edsel. It’s the only antique car I could see myself owning.
    However, I believe the Volt cost more to develop and sells worse than the edsel.

  31. It’s not the environmentalists pushing CCS.
    One side wants to stop burning coal, because it’s destructive in so many ways: coal production destroys the area around the mine and burning coal is extremely polluting.
    The other side wants to burn coal because energy and dollars and jobs and so on.
    In the middle, there’s people who want to burn coal but have it be non-polluting. These are the ones pushing CCS, along with other types of scrubbers to keep local and regional pollution down as well. The local and regional pollutants add cost but are feasible to reduce dramatically. Unfortunately, the best storage we have for carbon is coal itself; nothing else is as stable, safe, and easy to transport. But you can’t burn coal to make coal and get any energy out of that.

  32. I’m stumped. I’ve tried to think of something in history approaching the utter stupidity and huge waste of resources of CCS, the financial suffering caused plus the possible threat to lives, but can’t. It is in a category of its’ own. In the future, when someone wants to wax rhetorical, I imagine they’ll say “it is the CCS of” (fill-in-the-blank). Hopefully, they’ll be wildly exaggerating.

  33. CO2 Moving On Up….
    So, it appears mass-quantity-stored-CO2-near-populous areas could be used as a weapon of mass destruction, ala other chemical warfare gases, against civilian populations during, say, a civil war.
    The FBI defines a WMD as follows: “any weapon designed or intended to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors.”
    Whodda thunk it? And here I thought it was just a plain, ordinary “pollutant.”
    Can hardly wait til the conspiracy theorists get a hold of this one…

  34. Despite support by US and world governments, carbon capture is not headed for success. A report released by the Global CCS Institute this month shows that international investment in CCS is now in decline.
    ***
    Certainly — that was expected. The “carbon-capture” scheme is just a smokescreen — no savvy power-plant engineer believes it could be done significantly. The real intent is to put the coal companies out of business. Obozo the clown-in-chief said as much.

  35. Phil.,
    Please reread the paragraph you quoted and identify the hyperbole. Are you of the opinion that $2.8 billion is more than $22 billion? Is 22 not considered to be much bigger than 2.8? Help me out here.

  36. All the CO2 that is being emitted (both natural and anthropogenic) is being sucked out of the atmosphere naturally. Natural emissions are at least 20 times anthropogenic emissions. The observed “accumulation” of CO2 is mostly from increased natural emissions. Sequestering anthropogenic emissions is like spitting into the wind.

  37. There are several good reasons for CCS although it has its costs. Burning coal directly to produce heat does produce emissions that have to be scrubbed to meet standards. These include SO2, NOx, CO, and PM as well as Hg and other metals. Scrubbing costs money and is not the most efficient means to remove these emissions. I refrain from calling CO2 a “waste product” as it gives the impression that it needs to be handled in some manner. I prefer to call it a combustion product which like water vapor just needs to be exhausted appropriately.
    Coal Gasification is well known technology that is both reliable and safe. It converts coal into synthesis gas (CO and H2) which either can be burned or used to produce fuels and chemicals. In the process, sulfur, NOx, CO2, and other contaminants are removed from the syngas stream and efficiently collected by known chemical engineering processes. There are few emissions from this process that actually reach the atmosphere.
    But one benefit of the process is that CO2 is recovered as a nearly pure stream from the syngas cleanup step (using either Rectisol which uses MeOH or Selectsol which uses an amine to absorb contaminants from the syngas). The Clauss process reduces H2S to solid Sulfur, and absorbants remove the metals and dust that may remain. Much of the metal components of the coal end up as vitreous slag that can be disposed of as it is non-leachable.
    Once syngas is produce, it can be burned to make power, but this is not the best use of this valuable resource. More useful is production of liquid fuels such as paraffinic hydrocarbons or methanol. Both can be converted into extremely high quality transportation fuels. The Fischer-Tropsch process makes waxy paraffins from syngas and F-T wax is readily converted into synthetic diesel and jet fuel with cetane values in the 70+ range.
    And the CO2 from a CTL plant (Coal-to-Liquids) when used for EOR will produce about ~2 bbl of new crude from a depleted oil field per bbl of synthetic product produced. This is the true value of a CTL plant. With CCS, CTL plants will have carbon dioxide emissions at or below the emissions levels of fossil fuel plants (conventional refineries) as defined by the DOE NETL petroleum fuel baseline studies done in 2009. So even the environmental requirements for the Federal Government (Section 529 of EISA) that the government cannot purchase synthetic fuel that has GHG emissions greater than the fossil fuel baseline can be met by a CTL plant with CCS. The economics work as the value of CO2 in concentrated and compressed form are at least $20/ton, and the value of that CO2 for EOR produces about $200/ton net return. Not a bad deal for both producer and user of the CO2. Denbury Resources, Kinger-Morgan and other pipeline companies already provide CO2 from natural sources for EOR and are looking for additional sources to allow EOR to be used in more oil fields. Any reservoir that trapped natural gas will trap CO2. And CO2 over time reacts with some minerals to chemically sequester the CO2 so that it will never escape.
    I do not like storing CO2 in brine aquifers as this is just a waste of CO2 as a resource. But in brine, CO2 converts to solid salts with up to 70% of the CO2 injected converted into non-gaseous products (NETL studies). So even in this case, CCS will not be a “dangerous” situation.
    From my perspective, if there is a market value for CO2, CCS for EOR is a viable option.

  38. jim south london says: October 16, 2013 at 1:17 am
    “…… The name of this wonder device is called a Tree. “

    The climate science community also believes these wonder devices make exquisitely sensitive thermometers which can be networked into a vast temperature sensor array, one able to detect miniscule changes in global mean temperature to a hundredth of a degree over distances spanning thousands of kilometers and over time periods spanning thousands of years. (If the time periods occur prior to 1960, anyway.)

  39. are humans not part of nature?………….were we brought here from someplace else and NOT really part of the natural environment of the earth?
    ALL of our emissions also fall into the NATURAL category as long as we are part of this environment!

  40. Earle Williams says:
    October 16, 2013 at 7:50 am
    Phil.,
    Please reread the paragraph you quoted and identify the hyperbole. Are you of the opinion that $2.8 billion is more than $22 billion? Is 22 not considered to be much bigger than 2.8? Help me out here.

    Gladly, the OP compared the cost of a single US company with the global budget for ECS, when compared with the entire US commitment it’s less than a factor of two difference.
    So yes that’s hyperbole!

  41. Frequently missed or conveniently ignored is the fact that there is a signifcant energy efficiency hit from CO2 capture and sequestration from a low pressure low concentration gas stream such as the stack of a conventional power generation plant.
    Based on all the studies and the work I have done on this at concept at best it will be a 40% reduction of available usable power and, dependent on the applied technology, could be as high as 60% for a given energy input for a typical power generation facility.
    In essence we would burn through available coal/Oil/Gas at about twice the rate for the same available usable power should this be implemented. This would be a “crime against humanity” as far as I’m concerned.
    The only place that the capture of CO2 may make economic sense is in the capture of high concentration CO2 streams, e.g the back end of an old technology methane/steam reformer unit, and where there is a nearby end use in EOR. Even then theadditional resource energy produced by EOR needs to be compared to the energy input to the overall scheme. e.g. the Wayburn field in Canada which uses CO2 pipelined from a US facility.

  42. solutions, solutions, solutions… Capture the CO2, Liquify it, and pump it through pipes that are in the deep ocean water hot spots. Isn’t the missing heat supposed to be in the lower oceans somewhere magically beneath the unwarming surface? Any way, pump the liquified CO2 through pipes in the warmer level of the lower ocean and cool it off like AC

  43. Supplemental to some of the above in video form.

    Now, who knows why certain flavors of mentos can make diet coke go crazy when dropped into the bottle?
    A- chemical reaction
    B -electrolysis type reaction
    C- their micro-physical shape
    Good luck 😉

  44. Kelvin Vaughan says:
    October 16, 2013 at 4:38 am
    You can’t store CO2 as it’s temperature will rise, it will get extremely hot and melt its container! If you don’t believe me just look at the IPCC graphs. Keep doubling it from 200 parts per million to 1 million parts per million.

    Not to worry. They will just pump the CO2 underground. Al Gore tells us it is ‘millions of degrees down there’ so nobody will ever notice.

  45. Bryan A:
    Your post at October 16, 2013 at 10:28 am says in total

    solutions, solutions, solutions… Capture the CO2, Liquify it, and pump it through pipes that are in the deep ocean water hot spots. Isn’t the missing heat supposed to be in the lower oceans somewhere magically beneath the unwarming surface? Any way, pump the liquified CO2 through pipes in the warmer level of the lower ocean and cool it off like AC

    In the 1980s the UK’s Coal research Establishment was tasked with investigating technical methods for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). Clearly, the entire idea of CCS is daft, but I suggested the best option for what we were tasked to investigate would be to freeze the CO2 to form solid blocks of ‘dry ice’ which should be dumped in deep ocean. The CO2 would melt but at the temperature and pressure at the bottom of the deep ocean it would form pools of liquid CO2.
    In our studies of this technically feasible (but completely ridiculous) idea we submerged a block of ‘dry ice’ in a water tank to discern if it would be likely to survive while sinking to the ocean bottom. The block survived for weeks because its surface obtained an insulating layer of water ice. Since then, several others have investigated this stupid idea.
    So, your deliberately sarcastic suggestion illustrates that it is not possible to ridicule CCS because CCS is ridiculous. And something like whatever suggestion one makes as an attempt to ridicule CCS has probably already been investigated for real.
    Richard

  46. If carbon sequestration is really useful and helpful, why would you do something stupid like expend all of the energy it takes to filter out and compress CO2 and then stuff it down an abandoned oil well (the most common suggestion and most commonly implemented appoach) in the hopes it will never leak back out when you can do something really cheap like stop recycling paper and just bury it?
    Easy and inexpensive collection and transportation, no fear it will ever “escape” and it’s EASILY and cheaply replacable by growing more trees. The sun does all the work of taking the carbon out of the air and into the tree and we get to use it for benefit then help the rest of the way into the ground when we’re done with it.
    But that makes too much sense and people can’t tax it at insane levels or make insane fortunes out of it, so what am I thinking?

  47. I was just flipping through channels and The Weather Channel was doing a spot about someplace in California (Mesa?) that is taking Carbon from the air to make plastic. I didn’t catch the whole thing but the guy they were interviewing claimed that the process can stop the dreaded Global Climate Change. (I looked for a quick link to it but failed.)
    CAGW was seemingly pulled out of thin air. Now the solution to it can be seemingly pulled out of thin air!
    (I wonder if Al Gore is an investor?)

  48. “The war on climate change has produced many dubious “innovations.”

    The “innovations” just keep coming:
    Paradigm Shift Urgently Needed In Agriculture
    UN Agencies Call for an End to Industrial Agriculture & Food System
    Dr. Mae Wan Ho

    “A rising chorus from UN agencies on how food security, poverty, gender inequality and climate change can all be addressed by a radical transformation of our agriculture and food system”
    Now why not control the temperature of the earth by controlling the atmosphere by shutting down the agricultural sectors. What could possibly go wrong?

  49. Maybe we could build a BIG tube and pump it into outer space? Can I get a grant to research that?

  50. more soylent green!:
    At October 16, 2013 at 11:14 am you suggest

    Maybe we could build a BIG tube and pump it into outer space? Can I get a grant to research that?

    Don’t forget to point out in your grant application that insertion of communications satellites into the pipe would pump them up to orbit so you would get launch fuel for free like windmills get wind energy for free.
    /I add this was a sarc in case any warmunists are reading because they may not understand/
    Richard

  51. More planet saving “innovations”: use an unelected, unaccountable government agency to institute a cow tax, penalizing dairy and cattle farms enough to put many of them out of business:
    (2010) House and Senate conferees on the appropriations bill funding U.S. EPA for fiscal 2010 approved an amendment yesterday to block agency efforts to require Clean Air Act permits for greenhouse gases emitted by livestock.
    The amendment was agreed to last night as part of the $32.2-billion House–Senate conference package to fund EPA, the Interior Department and the Forest Service for fiscal 2010.”
    Little airheaded queenies out of the Youtube cyberghettos know that you are smart enough to live without cows, dairy, inexpensive electricity, transportation, and agriculture. So get with the new paradigm.

  52. Zeke says:
    October 16, 2013 at 11:14 am

    The “innovations” just keep coming:
    Paradigm Shift Urgently Needed In Agriculture
    UN Agencies Call for an End to Industrial Agriculture & Food System
    Dr. Mae Wan Ho
    “A rising chorus from UN agencies on how food security, poverty, gender inequality and climate change can all be addressed by a radical transformation of our agriculture and food system”

    I’m afraid to even inquire what their revolutionary ideas might be. No doubt “obesity” will be another problem their ideas will “address”; it usually declines in times a mass starvation.

  53. Dr. Bob says:
    October 16, 2013 at 8:22 am
    “There are several good reasons for CCS…”
    I 100% disagree. When it comes to using CO2 to generate a combustible hydrocarbon fuel, it is a really stupid idea unless a small increase in CO2 concentration really will lead to CAGW. There is no physical evidence for that as we all know.
    Thus, when it comes to energy, CO2 is nothing more than a dead battery, there is no useable energy to be gotten by combustion. You have to recharge this “battery” by converting it back into a hydrocarbon, and it takes MORE energy to get it “recharged” back into its hydrocarbon state than you will ever get out by re-combusting it back into CO2 again. Thus no matter what process, or what catalyst you use, using CO2 as a fuel precursor is an utter complete waste of money so long as you have ample supplies of oil and/or hydrocarbon available.
    Now that one can absolutely conclude that conversion of CO2 to hdyrocarbons for energy use is currently economically stupid, there is NO market for the gigatons of CO2 produced every year. The relatively small (compared to the amount produced) market for CO2 negates any benefit to be gained by CCS on a large scale.
    In addition, storing CO2 underground is expensive AND dangerous in the amounts being anticipated. Imagine, billions of train cars of CO2 being pumped into the ground under populated areas every year. One big leak caused by an earth quake or something else, potentially millions of people and animals could die.
    In the absence of CAGW, the only effect CCS has is to increase the cost of energy and put lifes and property at risk. There are NO good reasons for CCS period.
    .

  54. I\m not sure the Edsel is a good analogy.
    The biggest problems with the Edsel were styling and a then-new but now common advertising method. In fact, it was a great car, and every innovation put into it was eventually adopted into later vehicles. It was, in a way, the basis of car safety and ergonomic features that we take for granted now.
    In other words, the $350 million development was NOT wasted, it all went into next generation models.
    CCS, on the other hand, has few if any redeeming features. It is an attempt to use ancient technology (ie. bury your problems in the ground) to accomplish a dubious goal. The dangers are greatly understated by its proponents, and the benefits are about zero.

  55. Don’t forget that by sequestering CO2 you also are sequestering the O2 which was resident in the atmosphere to begin with. I’m not convinced that this is a wise idea. While the mass of the O2 sequestered would be small in comparison to the mass of the atmosphere, so are the effects of butterfly wing flaps over the Himalayas.

  56. All nine facilities sell CO2 to the petroleum industry for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), a process which pumps CO2 into the ground.

    Is there a technology that captures co2 from cars?

  57. Thank you Steve, Anthony, and other contributors to this topic. Some of us here in South Africa are quite bemused by our government’s apparent commitment to CCS, biofuels and carbon taxes. We have spent a lot of public money to identify locations where CCS might be feasible – they are apparently mainly on the coast, and are very far from the inland coal-fired power stations that underpin our economy, and the astronomical costs of implementing something like CCS are quite scandalous in a country with serious poverty and unemployment figures such as we have here.
    Biofuel policies were proposed by government and opened for public comment several years ago. They got a serious beating from the Botanical Society of South Africa (we call it BotSoc for short) that emphasised our shortage of good agricultural land, our regular drought cycles, and the dubious claims of reducing our fossil fuel imports. There were also concerns about diverting food crops for biofuels, and the whole proposal was comprehensively demolished by BotSoc.
    But government has now put it back on the agenda, and is proposing legislation to make biofuel blending with petroleum and diesel mandatory. Now government here also proposes a ‘carbon tax’ to be implemented in 2015. But perhaps we should encourage this as it might lead to a change of government – as happened in Australia!
    As a general observation, the South African government and its various departments seem to be trying to do their jobs to the best of their abilities, but they are too easily influenced and overwhelmed by vociferous CAGW climate activists from the local arms of WWF, Greenpeace and EarthLife Africa. We also have some very enthusiastic Al Gore-trained activists, who offer their services to give public lectures on how CAGW is resulting in floods, droughts, tornados, malaria, heat-waves and even snow on Table Mountain in Cape Town, a rare event but one that happened quite recently as a cold front from Antarctica reached the Cape. Nothing untoward about that!
    Government policy here seems to be driven by an artful agenda of activists who have on the one hand infiltrated government departments, and on the other push an apparently populist citizen agenda that claims to represent ‘civil society’. And so you will find statements in official South African government policy documents that ‘climate change’ is real, and ‘happening’, and there is proof of this, and we must lead by example and we will reduce our GHG emissions by 34% below business as usual IF we get some money from the rest of the world to achieve this lofty ambition!
    The truth is that the President of South Africa made these astonishing commitments in Copenhagen, at the biggest and grandest climatefest of all time, attended by the biggest and grandest collection of Heads of State ever! Since then, the collapse of UNFCC COPs has been spectacular, and the IPCC is in a fatal inverted tail-spin trying to fly AR5 with broken rudder cables.
    The South African government is trying to implement climate policy based on AR3 and the Hockey Stick and the misguided hubris of Copenhagen. We need some new pilots who can fly us out of this deadly spiral.
    Those of you that make such thoughtful contributions to WUWT are the Salt of the Earth! And Anthony, please keep up your good work in keeping this wonderful site alive. We do appreciate your dedication to the cause.
    Long ago in 1979 a few of us from South Africa flew into LA, then caught the Greyhound to Santa Barbara to attend the first ever international conference on vultures (would you believe that!? – of course you do – the California Condor!) and then we drove a big Dodge van up the coast to San Francisco – amazing! We went back again to a bird conference in Sacramento a couple of years later. ‘Climate Change’ was not even on the agenda in those days!
    The world is small, and our lives are short. May we make the best use of the time we have.
    Best wishes
    John

  58. Why not just plant more trees instead of perpetuating this eco-financial fraud? More trees would also mean more habitat for birds and animals instead of burying co2. Vegetations is already responding as shown here.

  59. Co2 is not plant food. It’s a toxin of the highest order. We must act now to capture and reduce co2 in the air from it’s very dangerous 400ppm.

    Carbon Dioxide In Greenhouses
    For most crops the saturation point will be reached at about 1,000–1,300 ppm under ideal circumstances. A lower level (800–1,000 ppm) is recommended for raising seedlings (tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers) as well as for lettuce production. Even lower levels (500–800 ppm) are recommended for African violets and some Gerbera varieties. Increased CO2 levels will shorten the growing period (5%–10%), improve crop quality and yield, as well as, increase leaf size and leaf thickness. The increase in yield of tomato, cucumber and pepper crops is a result of increased numbers and faster flowering per plant.
    http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-077.htm

  60. Jimbo says:
    October 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm
    CACA advocates are reduced to claiming that while CO2 does increase plant growth, the resulting more bountiful crops are lower in nutritive value. This is actually true for a few crops, but just barely so, & the effect of more food far outweighs the slight reduction. But most crops not only grow more luxuriantly but produce higher nutritional content as a result of improved CO2 levels.
    IMO the range of 500 to 800 ppm of dry air would be a good target for the world.

  61. I’m suprised that many power plants don’t have acres of greenhouses around them. The hot water, carbon dioxide, and excess power at night could be used to grow a lot of food.

  62. Michael Singleton says: October 16, 2013 at 10:23 am
    The only place that the capture of CO2 may make economic sense is in the capture of high concentration CO2 streams, e.g the back end of an old technology methane/steam reformer unit, and where there is a nearby end use in EOR. Even then theadditional resource energy produced by EOR needs to be compared to the energy input to the overall scheme. e.g. the Wayburn field in Canada which uses CO2 pipelined from a US facility.
    ________
    Actually we looked at this a few years ago – the nearly-pure CO2 stream from a large hydrogen plant.
    Just compressing it and getting it to our plant gate cost about $150 per tonne.
    Then there was the added cost of pipelining it elsewhere and stuffing it into the ground.
    Regards, Allan

  63. Where are the Warmists defending this idiotic paper? Too embarrassing is it? What has this paper told me that’s worth knowing? Nothing. What an utter waste of funding.
    The problem with climate science funding is too much funding. I investigated the problem some time back here. If we cut back on funding we might get more real insights instead of publishing captain obvious crap.

  64. Sorry, my last comment was meant for the Climate Craziness of the Week. Oooops! 🙁 I think I’ll check out of this thread. Tara.

  65. I stumbled upon something recently. Found out Lawrence Berkeley’s been staffing up some sort of sequestration effort since at least 2011. Not only staffing up but buying equipment (borehole stuff, etc). Looks like this facet of sequestration has not been impacted by the other sequestration.

  66. Ok, I’ll try again. Why not?
    Don’t mix arguments.
    First, if CO2 is not a problem, and the country and world never decide to stabilize CO2 levels, then CCS is a non-issue. So, “CO2 is not a problem” is a non-response to the question, “if we DO decide, for whatever reason, to stabilize CO2 levels, is CCS useful?”
    Secondly, if we ever do decide to stabilize CO2 levels, the industrialized world will have to reduce NET CO2 emissions by ~80% and the developing world by ~15%. The question about the cost of CCS is not how it compares to the cost of reducing emissions by 1 unit from current levels, but to the the cost of reducing by 1 unit AFTER we’ve already reduced by 50% or more. That number is not predictable beyond a high likelyhood of being very much higher than the 70% cost increases this article discusses.
    Thirdly, actually capturing and sequestering a lot of CO2 is a very different proposition from sponsoring research, offering prizes, and otherwise making it a major goal to get as good at it as possible. The main methods available or being researched now include biochar, artificial coal, capturing CO2 and pumping it into the ground (probably a bad idea), capturing CO2 and pumping it into formations of volcanic rock, where it may mineralize in as little as 50 years, finding chemical reactions that are scalable and cheap and mimic nature in binding CO2 in a stable, mineral-like solid that can be used in land fills. The point, of course, is that none of these is good enough, and we can almost certainly do better. How much better? I can’t imagine a good reason for not spending a few billion to find out.

  67. Peter George,
    What is “artificial coal”??
    You end by saying, “I can’t imagine a good reason for not spending a few billion to find out.”
    Are you not aware that more than one hundred billion dollars has been spent since 2001, trying to find evidence — any verifiable, testable evidence showing that human CO2 emissions — is the cause of global warming?
    After more than $100 BILLION, don’t you think there would have been some evidence uncovered — if in fact CO2 emissions cause warming?
    But NO such measurable scientific evidence has been found. None. Therefore, there is zero justification for the wild-eyed Chicken Little proposal to ‘sequester’ CO2. Of all the insane alarmist ideas, that one is by far the most lunatic. Have you ever heard the words “cost/benefit analysis”? Apparently not.

  68. Alcheson, right. And beside raising the cost each process mentioned here, they will, in the end, cause us to burn what energy we have at a much higher rate for the same end result… running the world out of energy even faster than needed. From a physics standpoint, so many of these “ideas” are simply insane.
    Sometimes you have to waste due to transport distances involved and such but that should be the only case to waste needlessly what we have on this Earth for future generations

  69. Allan MacRea at 4.28,
    Similar experience for me, capture from a CataCarb unit, essentially water vapour and CO2 with trace H2, would have cost in 1987 somewhere between $80-90/ tonne, dehydrated and compressed at the battery limit, pipeline and injection facilties not included. Preliminary estimate level only, with expected escalation through project implementation likely very close to your number.

  70. CCS requires capturing of carbon dioxide, a normal waste product from the combustion of fuel, transporting CO2 by pipeline, and then storing it underground. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says, “CCS technology is feasible and it’s available.”
    Carbon capture is feasible, but it’s very expensive.

    And that right there is their game plan in a nutshell – make it so prohibitively expensive that their insane Windmill and Solar plans look more favorable. Meanwhile their fellow red/green collaborators, the anti-Nuke kooks have successfully attacked nuke plants in the same manner with wild success. And still other collaborators are hard at work attacking natural gas. These uber-Luddite green communists will never let up.
    So what we should do is play the same game. Starting with Windmills, we should demand stringent requirements, including an enormous fan-guard encapsulating each and every rotor. It should look just like any other household fan …
    http://www.permatron.com/media/50041/fan-guard-filter-motor-cutout_284x223.jpg
    Naturally the mesh would have to be very small to keep bats and tiny birds out. Obviously this would radically impact the efficiency of the airflow, and ultimately increase costs enormously. Too bad. Since they don’t mind impacting Coal, Gas, and Nuke efficiency and costs, let them suffer as well. This is the entire problem really, like all leftists the greens are never held responsible for their actions and even expect to operate under a different, double standard. This is how you defeat them.

  71. PeterGeorge:
    I am replying to your post at October 16, 2013 at 7:13 pm.
    I do not know what you mean by “artificial coal” but I am aware of some options for carbon capture and sequestration which you mention. Indeed, you do not mention the cheapest option for CCS and, as I explain in my post in this thread at October 16, 2013 at 10:50 am, I was the originator of that idea (i.e. transport CO2 as ‘dry ice’ to deep ocean where it will form pools of liquid CO2 which will only slowly dissolve into the deep ocean water that already contains almost all the CO2 involved in the carbon cycle). This link jumps to my post
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/16/carbon-capture-and-storage-the-edsel-of-energy-policies/#comment-1449971
    But, as I say in that post, the entire idea of CCS is daft.
    Your post says you do not understand why it is daft so I will list some of the reasons.
    CCS increases energy costs by several fold for no benefit.
    CCS provides risks for no benefit.
    CCS increases environmental damage for no benefit.
    CCS prevents affordable electricity supply to the poor for no benefit.
    In the unlikely event that AGW becomes a discernible effect that has potential problems then consideration of CCS may then possibly be warranted. But unless and until that happens CCS is plain daft.
    Richard

  72. OOPS!
    I wrote
    I do not know what you mean by “artificial coal” but I am aware of some options for carbon capture and sequestration which you mention.
    but I intended to write
    I do not know what you mean by “artificial coal” but I am aware of some options for carbon capture and sequestration which you don’t mention.
    Sorry.
    Richard

  73. Significant – fast reductions in CO2 are achievable only through application of CCS.
    They will never be here decide renewable energy sources.
    Also currently, there is no sufficiently effective methods of chemical and biological CCS.
    On the website of UNIDO few years ago it was written:
    “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) notes that carbon capture and storage, trapping the carbon dioxide before it escapes from the smokestack and PUMPING IT UNDERGROUND, will likely be a KEY TECHNOLOGY […] solution for mitigating climate change, along with a variety of other options. STATOIL is an international energy company and is currently involved in three large CCS projects, one of which is the Sleipner platform field in the North Sea. There, CO2 is prevented from seeping into the atmosphere by an 800 meter thick cap rock above a storage location. Yumkella and Special Adviser to the Director-General Ole Lundby were able to visit the Sleipner platform to receive in-depth information on the CCS storage facility. “If we’re going to continue to use coal we’re going to have to have some way of reducing the carbon dioxide.” … for our – the European taxpayers – money is this -“ecologically” pumped oil. It has a significantly reduced the cost of geo-sequestration …
    http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9040837&contentId=7074218:
    “BP has been involved in CCS for more than 10 years, focusing on a continuing programme of research and technology development, as well as full-scale projects such as In Salah, Algeria [!], one of the few operating industrial-scale C02 storage facilities in the world.”
    “While the renewables sector continues to grow, these technologies are unable to provide base-load, large-scale generation at the necessary scale to meet increasing demand for energy. CCS is therefore seen as a CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY for reducing emissions until other, non-fossil-fuel-based alternatives reach the necessary scale.”
    … but it’s still nothing …:
    “Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the only technology available to mitigate emissions from large-scale fossil fuel use. The technology at each step of the process has been in use for many decades. But before the process can be widely adopted it must be demonstrated end-to-end. SHELL is involved in a number of demonstration projects around the world, but GOVERNMENT SUPPORT [and thus also here – taxpayers …] IS NEEDED […] to allow CCS to become financially viable and widespread.”
    “Once injection operations are at full capacity in 2015, 3-4 million tonnes a year of naturally occurring CO 2 produced with the natural gas will be captured and injected into a deep sandstone formation around 2.5 kilometres beneath the island. Chevron is leading the Gorgon project, with Shell and ExxonMobil as partners. Gorgon is the world’s largest CCS project.”
    “In September 2012 Shell and partners made the final decision to begin construction, with $865 million [!] in funding from the governments […] of Alberta and Canada to support the project.”
    ( http://www.shell.com/global/environment-society/environment/climate-change/ccs/shell-ccs.html).
    “… 800 meter thick cap rock above …” “… 2.5 kilometres beneath …” – is nothing compared to the extreme movement of the rock mass occurring once every few hundred – few thousand years (even after hundreds years can arise here – rapid – demineralization CO2) …
    Whosoever therefore now mainly “earns” on CCS and who “loses”?
    And that’s why I – for many years, protesting against the nonsense in the alarmist version of the AGW theory …

  74. Anyone else think the front of the Edsel looks like that painting – ‘The Scream’..?
    Which is what I want to do every time politicians bang on about Carbon Capture and Storage – how stupid an idea is that..??

  75. ***
    Dr. Bob says:
    October 16, 2013 at 8:22 am
    ***
    Any reasonable engineer working w/economics will reject the CCS as prohibitively expensive & unproven & choose natural gas as the energy source for new plants. That’s exactly what was intended…

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