1 million tons of pressurised CO2 stored beneath Decatur, Illinois

It was a tenth of that, 100,000 tons, that caused the Lake Nyos disaster

Lake Nyos, a volcanic crater lake located in the Northwest Region of Cameroon

Lake Nyos, a volcanic crater lake located in the Northwest Region of Cameroon

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

7000 ft below the city of Decatur, Illinois, population 74,710 people, is a high pressure reservoir which contains 1 million tons of CO2.

From the press release:

One of the largest carbon sequestration projects in the U.S., the Illinois Basin – Decatur Project (IBDP) has reached its goal of capturing 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and injecting it deep underground in the Mount Simon Sandstone formation beneath Decatur, Illinois. The project is designed to demonstrate the feasibility of carbon capture and storage. IBDP director Robert Finley talked about the million-ton milestone with News Bureau physical sciences editor Liz Ahlberg. Finley is director of the Advanced Energy Technology Institute at the Illinois State Geological Survey, part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois.

The reservoir has been created to demonstrate the viability of carbon sequestration – capturing large quantities on carbon, to prevent the CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere.

The University of Illinois scientists responsible for this demonstration project assure us that the reservoir does not pose a safety threat. According to a University of Illinois press release;

“Extensive monitoring takes place during and after injection to be sure the stored CO2 stays in place. Monitoring techniques include using geophysical technology to confirm the position of the CO2 underground and wells to monitor groundwater and soils.

No out-of-bounds health, safety or environmental risks were observed from this properly designed and managed storage site. Appropriate risk mitigation and management plans were an integral part of the overall project planning. Extensive monitoring took place before, during and now after the injection to be sure the CO2 stays in place. The first line of monitoring begins deep below the ground, so we know if any leakage occurs long before any CO2 might reach the surface.”

http://illinois.edu/emailer/newsletter/65417.html

They’re probably right – when you create a demonstration project, a showpiece for what you hope will become a lucrative business, you want to make sure nothing goes wrong. I’m sure that elaborate precautions have been taken to prevent any possibility of adverse news, in the hope that this reservoir will be the first of many.

However, as the scientists responsible for the project admit, a serious carbon sequestration effort will need to store a lot more than a million tons of CO2. “… One million tons is scalable in its behavior to the 3 million tons that would be emitted annually from a typical medium-sized, coal-fired power plant. …”

If just one of those proposed sequestration projects suffers a major containment breach, say if an earthquake cracks the geological structure, or if a mistake or greed leads to the reservoir being overloaded, the result could be a disaster.

In Africa, in 1986, an abrupt release of an estimated 100,000 – 300,000 tons of CO2 killed 2,500 people up to 25km (15.5  miles) from the source of the release.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nyos#1986_disaster

A similar release near a major city would kill a sizeable fraction of the city’s population. The region of devestation was comparable to the loss of life which would be caused by a large nuclear explosion – the only reason a lot more people didn’t die, was Lake Nyos is a sparsely inhabited rural region.

The Lake Nyos CO2 release was so deadly, because CO2 is heavier than air – when the huge CO2 cloud boiled out of lake Nyos, it hugged the ground, displacing all breathable air to an elevation 10s of ft above ground level, suffocating almost everyone in its path.

Its not just people and animals which would be affected – car engines would also stall, as the blanket of CO2 choked off the supply of oxygen.

If carbon sequestration becomes commonplace, sooner or later someone will get greedy and careless, and will be careless in their choice of geological reservoir, and / or will overload their geological reservoir to boost their bottom line. And that carelessness will, in my opinion, almost inevitably lead to a catastrophic loss of life.

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369 thoughts on “1 million tons of pressurised CO2 stored beneath Decatur, Illinois

  1. Well of course storing CO2 underground is feasible.

    Of course it isn’t economically viable. And there is no reason to hide the CO2 away from the plants that want it.

    • And people think that storing long lived radioactive trash (AKA new reactor fuel) underground, is potentially hazardous ?

      Just remember that “gravity sucks.” And if you replace suction with compression, things have a habit of popping out from all sorts of nooks and crannies.

      The trouble with underground storage of CO2 is that going deeper, just makes the problem worse, because the Temperature lapse rate is working against you instead of for you.

      There is NO safe depth to store a highly pressurized poison gas; but if you have to do it, then underneath the University of Illinois, is a good location to do it.

      • Well old fossil, if you want to present evidence that CO2 at the levels being stored underground is NOT a poison, I am all ears.

        Even Oxygen stored at such pressures and in such amounts, is a poison gas.

      • Read MY words; I said under the University of Illinois, not under Decatur Illinois; I don’t care where the U is.

      • The problem is, that it is NOT under the University of Illinois. The U of I is in Champaign-Urbana Illinois, 50 miles away from Decatur. Depending on the size of the reservoir, it may be close.

      • The University of Illinois is NOT in Decatur, it is in Champaign-Urbana about 50 miles east of Decatur. Depending on the size of the reservoir, parts of it may be close. I wonder who sold out Decatur?? Why did they not put it under the U of I ???

    • Sequestering the carbon dioxide, changing the total amount in our environment is natural? Praise Gaia!
      When this bubble bursts it will not only result in ‘a catastrophic loss of life,’ it will actually produce a sudden carbon dioxide overload imbalance to the environment, at least locally. What Me Worry?, A. E. Newman

  2. It’s self healing, if all that CO2 leaks out and kills 50,000 people then their future carbon footprint is eliminated, so no environmental harm is done overall.

  3. I’m wondering what will happen with this reservoir if the whole sequestration paradigm collapses and this company goes out of business. Who will keep tabs on it then?

      • Are these same scientists believers in AGW or are they just cashing in? In the first instance I don’t think their assurances do it for me in the second they are trying to make a quid so they have a vested interest. Either way if I lived in Decatur I’d want their photos on the post office wall just in case someone needs to sue after the big event. BTW did the university assess what plants could do with those million tons of food? A million extra tonnes of corn would be more cost effective than the internment.

    • Well,we’ll depend on the cost savings inherent in deregulation and reduction in oversight to see us through. As history has shown, corporations are thoroughly trustworthy……..

    • The cost of CCS is effectively infinite. As there will never be a future time when its sudden release would not be catastrophic for nearby residents.
      At least with high level radioactive waste, the radioactivity eventually decays, and the material is not in a state prone to sudden release. Monitoring at Yucca Mtn repository would mainly entail monitoring ground water levels after a section is filled with containers and sealed. No sudden release is possible. And this just a single site, that has a planned capacity to hold all past, present, and future high level waste. Yucca Mtn is in the middle of very large restricted access high security government range.

      With CCS, thousands of storage sites across the country are needed for this to “work.” Most would be under and near populated areas.

      • Why not compress and liquefy the stuff.
        There are plenty of companies that use CO2 in their produccts, or as one of the components in the formulation.

  4. The demonization of CO2 is pushing people out of the bounds of sanity.

    What is the compelling reason to keep more CO2 out of the atmosphere, at all costs?

    Someone please explain to me how reducing CO2 would make this planet safer for humans. I mean a rigorous explanation- not alarmist talking point and BS.

      • jaffa68
        January 14, 2015 at 7:40 am
        “because the planet has a fever”

        I wouldn’t call it a fever. That’s belittling it. Most of the planet is actually red hot to white hot.
        Not that it has anything to do with CO2; it’s all nuclear energy.

      • Lets see…Compress CO2 and it gets COLD…Inject it underground and it cools the groundwater supply…The compressed CO2 invades the Ground Water supply and we have …. Soda Water…Nice…bubbly…Soda.

        Now, if instead the compressed CO2 is pumped through above ground pipes in urban environs, you have Air Conditioning Coils removing the UHI effect.

      • Right on! As I recall from my geothermal class, something like 95% of the volume of the earth is > 1000C. Al Gore was off by a factor of 1,000. And about 97% is hotter than 100C. We float around on little islands of slag, which we optimistically call terra firm. When we finally figure out how to drill through the crust effectively, we will have enough energy to see us through the big projects of terraforming Mars and Venus, driven by the real existential threat to mankind, the return of the glaciers. By then we should be making inroads into mining Titan for its methane, for plastic feedstocks to be used for 3D printing city-sized Mars colonies and atmosphere generating plants. Powered of course by, plants. And CO2. Where was I?

        The future is going to require A LOT more energy than people imagine. We need to be much more radical in our thinking about finding a new revolution in energy generation.

      • PV = nRT also means that cooling a gas at constant pressure is accompanied by a reduction in volume.

    • Storing co2 underground will not make any difference to the Earth’s surface temperature.

      I wonder why so many oil companies have given up fighting climatism?

      Abstract – 1974/b>
      The Displacement of Residual Oil By Carbon Dioxide
      https://www.onepetro.org/conference-paper/SPE-4735-MS
      =====
      Abstract – 2003
      Evaluation of the CO2 sequestration capacity in Alberta’s oil and gas reservoirs at depletion and the effect of underlying aquifers
      http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=15178802

      • “I wonder why so many oil companies have given up fighting climatism?”

        — Because they stand to profit from regulations that will make it extremly difficult for new competitors to enter the market.

        — Because they can pass on all costs to the consumers (with a little profit added in as well).

        — Because they plan to lobby and write the laws and regulations in such a way that favors them.

        Any more questions?

      • Why would oil companies fight the CAGW meme? They already know there’s no practical replacement for oil for the transportation industry. And there’s no replacement AT ALL for the petrochemical industry. Best to do as they have been and ignore it, or do as BP did and skim a few billion off the top of the Climate Economy themselves.

      • Why would oil companies be concerned with the pseudoscience of CAGW?

        What regulations have actually benefited the oil industry?

        How do they “pass on all costs to consumers” when oil companies don’t even directly set the price of their product?

      • Hi Jimbo,
        “I wonder why so many oil companies have given up fighting climatism?”

        Oil companies didn’t give up, they don’t argue with IPeCaC et al, because climastrology is good for business; a price on carbon (dioxide) makes coal less attractive and the world’s thermal power generation switches to gas; let’s face it, even most ecotards aren’t quite stupid enough to think that yesterday’s energy sources (wind and sunlight) are the answer to today’s energy needs, let alone tomorrow’s. Burning gas instead of coal to keep the lights on means more profit from more volume sold, but also drives up the demand for gas so the price per cubic metre also climbs.
        Happy days for the CEO and shareholders of Climatemate Oil Co.

        The use of CO2 injection for Improved Oil Recovery (IOR) is old news and particularly for fields where produced gas contains a significant CO2; since the operator would have to separate the CO2 from the produced gas before delivery anyway; might as well obtain some benefit for the effort.

        What probably makes CCS more appealing to oil companies is that at the beginning (when there is subsidy money to earn) oil companies undoubtedly have the expertise to make it look like it can work.
        “Give us your unwanted thin air and we’ll make it disappear down our wells…”. For a price.
        The next consideration is that the most obvious reservoirs for carbon (dioxide) sequestration are depleted oil or gas fields. Compressed CO2 can demonstrably be injected (in place of the oil or gas that was allowed to flow out of the now depleted porous sand or limestone), demonstrably be trapped by a competent impermeable cap rock (since the oil or gas didn’t escape during the time between oil formation and production) and there will already be capital intensive infrastructure in-situ to handle the process; that can include a platform or pad, a bunch of existing wells (just don’t tell the champions of ‘Green Jobs’ that the old wells are knackered), pipelines and a trained workforce who may otherwise be heading to the dole office since their field is finished.
        Climatemate Oil Co. Ltd. will also have happy bean-counters if the field is re-tasked for CO2 sequestration because then the field can be used for revenue earning activity long enough after economic oil production has ended. If they are clever, Climatemate Oil Co. can then flog the CCS field off to a gullible warming ‘solutions’ company who’s core business is sweeping thin air under the mat. That way Climatemate Oil Co. Ltd. can monetise an asset that would otherwise be written off (talk about money for old rope!) and they can hand-ball the liability of permanently abandoning the field and decommissioning all the facilities in a ‘sustainable’ manner, leaving no ‘footprint’ behind to someone else. That’s a hefty expense that every oil company has to cover after the field has stopped paying a dividend that’s not only passed to the gullible warming ‘solutions’ company, the suckers will have paid for it.
        Happy days indeed for the CEO and shareholders of Climatemate Oil Co.
        …or perhaps I am just too cynical for the good of the children’s children.

      • “Combining carbon capture and storage with enhanced oil recovery using carbon dioxide injection can help produce incremental oil while economically storing CO2. This can provide significant benefits, especially if value-added opportunities for productively using captured CO2 from industrial sources are encouraged and pursued.” http://www.aogr.com/magazine/editors-choice/industrial-co2-supply-crucial-for-eor

        The biggest user of industrial carbon dioxide gas was for oil recovery. They would have had to sequester it anyway.

      • Petroleum company CEO: “You want us to do what?”
        Progressive Politician: “We want you to pump as much CO2 as possible into the holes you make in the ground.”
        Petroleum company CEO: “You know that’s going to cost a lot of money, right?”
        Progressive Politician: “Yes. Money is no object. We’re saving the world. Taxpayers want this.”
        Petroleum company CEO: “And then you’ll pay us in perpetuity to monitor these deposits?”
        Progressive Politician: “Yes. Money is no object. We’re saving the world. Taxpayers want this.”
        Petroleum company CEO: “Okay.”

      • Any oil executive will tell you that it is no skin off their teeth if oil is made to be more expensive.

        They know exactly where it is, and where to go and get it, and they will go and get it, whenever it is worth their while.

        I heard an oil industry expert this morning say that there is nothing new about “facking”, they’ve been doing it since the 1880s.

        What IS new, and mere decades old, is “horizontal drilling.

        It is the ability to drill horizontally for a mile or more, while maybe just as deep, that has made more oil available at lower cost. Well right now, maybe the Saudis have bombed the price, because they are trying to put the HD fracksters out of business.

        But like I said. They know where it is, and they will go get it when they damn well please; or when we holler loud enough for more energy.

        Don’t hold your breath waiting for more renewable energy. Old Sol, will deliver his one kW /m^2, and if you want more well you can just go and whistle Dixie.

        Ain’t gonna happen.

        I power my laptop from a source that is over one MW/m^2, and for mere pennies per hour.

      • Early on, American Industry was given a demonstration of what happpens when you try to buck t his administration. General Motors was commandeered, all GM executives were replaced with Obama cronies, and $10 billion was stolen from preferred investors and given to the unions. It is not good business to disagree with this president.

    • “Someone please explain to me how reducing CO2 would make this planet safer for humans. I mean a rigorous explanation- not alarmist talking point and BS” You’re asking the wrong group of people for that, unless it’s just a rhetorical question.

      • By “someone” I meant representative(s) of the, ahem, Esteemed Opposition who show up here on a regular basis.

        A challenge, so to speak.

    • Here is your explanation:
      1. Using the CO2 boogyman, install the one world government.
      2. Reduce the human population by ~95%.
      3. For the remaining ruling class humans, the planet safer. Not so mch for the other 85%. (Think hunger games: habitation zones, limited travel and access…)

      This is the end goal of the UN, not alarmist talking points and not BS.

      Eric

  5. This is truly the most enormous waste of money I’ve heard about, and yes I have seen the legions of empty buses choking up the streets of Norwich, England every day. But not only is this a completely futile exercise it’s actually bloody dangerous too when it all leaks back out again. I’d have fracking and nuclear power near my place but the silent killer buried beneath my house is definitely a risk I wouldn’t want to take.

    • andydaines, don’t worry they got it covered. Did I hear fracking? Did I hear the EPA? Surely they will stop such poisoning of our natural resources. I see problems in the pipleline, and I will say nothing (for now) of another Lake Nyos type disaster.

      ESD
      Potential Impacts of CO2 Leakage on Groundwater Quality
      =====
      Abstract
      Potential Impacts of Leakage from Deep CO2 Geosequestration on Overlying Freshwater
      …After exposure to CO2, water pH declines of 1−2 units were apparent in all aquifer samples. 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. …
      =====
      Abstract
      CO2 leakage through existing wells: current technology and regulations

      • These reports say otherwise. They have their own explanation for the booms. Cryoseisms.

        But worse yet…. cryoseisms could be that..”other major instability” that might release the CO2 suddenly, if a big one occurred in Decatur.

        And they are apparently very common in the upper Mid-West around Illinois, more common than earth quakes by far, and highly localized. What is not clear (to me anyway) is if they are deep enough to affect the rock formations storing the CO2.

      • Comment on a youtube video regarding cryoseisms: (6 months ago)
        “Yeah, this sounds nothing like “The Bloop”. And if your wondering, “The Bloop” was recorded back in 1997 and was said to be an Ice quake by the NOAA ( National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), but the sound could be heard by many sensors, over 5,000 km apart (3106.86 ft), it lasted a minute…” –LionHeartLeon

        My money is on sonic booms being “ducted’ by atmospheric conditions into a distant region. This happened about 5 years ago and I believe was reported here, though not generally attributed to the same cause.

  6. I am a big fan of sequestering CO2. I plant a lot of trees, then I cut them, burn them for heating, and plant more trees. I also build structures with wood from trees.

    Couldn’t these egghead researchers realize that trees are safer then storing CO2 under our cities, I mean how stupid is that?

    • And yet our mad politicians deem it necessary to cut down thousands of tons of trees per day, process (chip & dry) them, ship them over the pond and burn them instead of coal – all in the name of ‘saving he planet’. As I said, mad!

      • And if what I read recently is correct the ships going East pass similar ships going West carrying the product of Norway’s forests to Canada.

      • Back of the napkin: 36,000 of these boondoggles needed EVERY year to hold emissions to zero rise in PPM. But that’s at 2012 levels, so I could be a little off.

    • I am a big fan of sequestering CO2. I plant a lot of trees, then I cut them, burn them for heating, and plant more trees.
      _____________________________________

      Then you are not sequestering anything – you are re-releasing the CO2 in your fire.

      The concept of sequestering is fine. The only problem is that it is more dangerous than a Russian-designed and Russian-built** nuclear power station – much more dangerous.

      Ralph

      ** If you have lived in Russia, you will know what I mean. All projects and products have so many corners cut, they are perfectly spherical.

    • @David L. Hagen: Thanks for the link. Interesting, ingenious and logical. ( but the logical part will skip over many peoples heads)

    • Who said it’s even feasible, as feasibility also includes economics. Note they haven’t said how much extra energy it takes to transport/extract, pump and pressurize the CO2. It’s an expensive business, which could easily add 50% or more to the price of a KWh generated by a suitably equipped power station. This higher cost would wreak havoc to any economy, driving companies out of business, increasing the price of everything, driving families into fuel poverty, and the old to death. That is far more certain than any supposed minute (hundredths of a degree) temperature constraint 50 or 100 years hence.

      • Theoretically the cost is infinite. Since there will never be a time that they can stop monitoring and maintaining it every ton of CO2 stored there will have an ongoing cost associated with it.

      • ilma630:
        Saskatchewan Coal Fired Power Plant With Carbon Capture
        October 2014, a $1.4 billion coal fired generator, fitted with CCS which will “capture more than 90 percent of the carbon dioxide that would otherwise escape to the atmosphere” was turned on. The plant will capture around one million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
        Cost to upgrade a 30-year old coal fired power plant was $400 million.
        Original plant was rated at 139 MW.
        Upgraded coal fire power plant is now rated at 162 MW.
        Cost for CCS was a cool $1 billion with a cost over-run between $150 to $200 million ($1.2 billion total). Final cost to be revealed at a later date.
        CCS unit needs about 34 MW to operate, resulting in a “parasitic loss” of about 21 per cent of the plant’s power.
        18 MW are needed for other systems, reducing the net output to 110 MW or a total of about 32 per cent of the plant’s power.

        http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=85237
        https://decc.blog.gov.uk/2014/10/03/a-momentous-day-for-ccs/
        http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/06/carboncapture-economics-kemp-idUSL6N0S12GI20141006

      • Even more ridiculous; how much CO2 is released providing the energy need to collect, transport, pump and monitor the sequestered CO2? Is it even 1:1?

  7. What they have done is take a harmless gas that is good for the environment and turn it into a timebomb for the city of Decatur.

    It doesn’t matter how well it is managed now, what matters is how it will be managed in the future.

    Unless the gas is undergoing a chemical reaction, changing it into something else, it will remain a danger to the inhabitants until it is dispersed.

    Will they still be monitoring and renewing worn out sensors and pressure valves in 10 years time? How about 100?

      • waste at Yucca mtn will be in a stable state, not prone to sudden release. Yucca mtn is in remote, restricted access large government-controlled range. Yucca mtn was chosen for its low seismic risk as well.

      • “Nuclear storage in Nevada requires 10,000 years or more.”

        Yes, but Carbon (dioxide) Capture and Storage anywhere requires infinity years or more

      • Yes, but Carbon (dioxide) Capture and Storage anywhere requires infinity years or more.
        _____________________________

        Worth repeating again. The Greens complain how long nuclear waste stays active and dangerous, but CO2 will be active and lethal for millions of years.

        I am presuming here that CO2, being fairly stable, will not react with the local geology and become fixed.

        Ralph

      • I was addressing my question to DD More.
        As a separate issue, the good thing about CO2 storage is that it will be available to be released when the nanotechnologists are running their 3D printers that suck their materials from the carbon in the air.

  8. All this “Advanced Scientific Research” state of the art technology blindly poured into the belief that it will make a difference to the natural world. It is indeed expensive, but no worry it is renewable tax money.

    • The Genius Of The Crowd

      there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average
      human being to supply any given army on any given day

      and the best at murder are those who preach against it
      and the best at hate are those who preach love
      and the best at war finally are those who preach peace

      those who preach god, need god
      those who preach peace do not have peace
      those who preach peace do not have love

      beware the preachers
      beware the knowers
      beware those who are always reading books
      beware those who either detest poverty
      or are proud of it
      beware those quick to praise
      for they need praise in return
      beware those who are quick to censor
      they are afraid of what they do not know
      beware those who seek constant crowds for
      they are nothing alone
      beware the average man the average woman
      beware their love, their love is average
      seeks average

      but there is genius in their hatred
      there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you
      to kill anybody
      not wanting solitude
      not understanding solitude
      they will attempt to destroy anything
      that differs from their own
      not being able to create art
      they will not understand art
      they will consider their failure as creators
      only as a failure of the world
      not being able to love fully
      they will believe your love incomplete
      and then they will hate you
      and their hatred will be perfect

      like a shining diamond
      like a knife
      like a mountain
      like a tiger
      like hemlock

      their finest art

      -Charles Bukowski

  9. This is going to be a forever monitoring project and there will never be a time when some incompetent is put in charge of the job. And people of the future will always know how to maintain the equipment.

    Tell me another one.

    • Bob: Just a stupid comment. If it does stay in the ground for a few hundred tears and CO2 levels begin to fall again to 280ppm, they can then outgas the sequestered CO2 to help the plants out. Otherwise, just a time bomb.

      • When the CO2 levels fall to 280ppm again, there will be nobody left who knows the CO2 is there, much less how to unsequester it. In the interim, it’s leftist paradise! Good intentions, road to hell?

  10. “No out-of-bounds health, safety or environmental risks were observed from this properly designed and managed storage site. Appropriate risk mitigation and management plans were an integral part of the overall project planning. Extensive monitoring took place before, during and now after the injection to be sure the CO2 stays in place. The first line of monitoring begins deep below the ground, so we know if any leakage occurs long before any CO2 might reach the surface.”

    Nothing can go wrogn.

    • I’m assuming these quambies have never seen the state of an oil or gas well, or water bore after a life of a few decades, when the casing has corroded, the cement has started to crumble and mobile rock formations in the overburden or movement at faults can have crushed or severed the well.
      I’d like to know how they plan to manage integrity of their observation wells and abandoned injection wells over the infinity year lifespan of the CCS project after they’ve pressurised a reservoir with carbonic acid (compared to an old oil well that gets plugged with cement against what ever depleted pressure oil dregs are left in the reservoir after maybe 20-50 years of production).
      Since ecotards and activists would have us believe that hydraulic stimulation at the depth of a typical oil or gas reservoir can propagate fractures straight up into aquifers, how do they sleep at night knowing that today’s pilot CCS projects take place in shallower, therefore weaker, formations?
      Monitoring for leakage with instruments in the injection or observation wells is all well and good for the press release in TreeHugger.com, but if the reservoir into which CO2 is sequestered is over-pressured to the point of fracturing (not an unreasonable risk) then the shallower depth means less resistance to fracture propagation upwards and since the ‘extensive monitoring’ can at best indicate a pressure relief in the CCS reservoir, I’d like to know how they mitigate the risk that all that dangerous CO2 just buggers off somewhere (like into a fresh water aquifer or back into the atmosphere, where the overwhelming majority of climastrologists say it will drive the lesser-spotted trouser snake to extinction before the Greens have driven the OECD to bankruptcy).
      …time for a cup of tea and lie down.

  11. Generally speaking, in Nature, the solution to pollution is dilution. If you are crazy enough to believe that CO2 is pollution, it is even crazier to go to huge expense to concentrate and pressurize it near where people live.

  12. While there may be a toxicity problem with CO2 the major issue would be that of inducing unwanted seismic effects. We know from previous attempts to inject large quanties of fluids into geological foundations that this can cause tremors. The anti-fracking brigade use this as one of their major objections. The irony is that injecting gas instead of fracking fluid is MUCH more dangerous. Not only are the amounts of CO2 larger but the energy required to pressurise a gas is MUCH higher than for a liquid and that energy is stored in the compressed gas for an extended period not released as in the case of fracking fluid..

    Consider a simple example, take a 1 litre soda bottle and fill it with water and raise the pressure until it bursts. Since water is essentially incompressible the energy release is trivial and all that happens is a split seam and the water flows out. Do the same thing with compressed air and you get a loud explosion and lots of flying plastic.

    The IDBP project reported average pressure increases of 175 psi (1.2 megapascals). The energy available for explosive release if a failure occurs is VERY large, frankly the idea would terrify me even if it was a non toxic gas. I have seen a compressed air bottle fail and its not a pretty sight. A geological failure could release devastating amounts of energy from a large repository. The IDBP project planned to use 2 compressors powered by 600 kilowatt motors running for 3 YEARS. Most of that energy is now being contained in the repository. That represents a hell of a bang if something fails. A commercial repostory would have to be at least 100 times bigger for a single coal fired plant.

    Moreover this gas has to be retained over mutidecadal time frames, the IDBP project would need to run for at least 20 years before they proved that could be achieved. I wouldnt mind betting that by Jan 2035 much of that gas has leaked away.

    • Its really a wanton criminal act I think. The monitoring will not be sustained and deteriorates/fails. I suppose their safety case says that the probability of failure is very low with a catastrophic outcome. What it means is that this contained reservoir most probably cannot be sealed off in the event of geological induced breach.

    • Good point. But maybe their plan is to wait a while, then turn the pumps into generators, reverse the flow and generate electricity from venting the CO2. Sort of a gaseous pumped storage system. Geez these guys are smart! /sarc

    • My thoughts also. Remember our Senior Design Prof in college showing an Industrial size air tank explosion failure. A shrapnel bomb. Learned to only use water in any but the lowest pressure testing.

  13. I see a big beat down out behind the woodshed coming from the “Law of Unintended Consequences” because of this project.

  14. Sensors and monitoring sounds good to the foolhardy promoters of such projects. But if and when it decides to “break free” (e.g., earthquake, or some other major instability), all the monitoring data in world will not help save the people.

  15. At least this isn’t as dangerous as the Keystone pipeline, LNG terminals or the melting of all sea ice and glaciers.

    • Actually its a LOT more dangerous given the actual facts

      Pipeline leaks are easy to monitor – leaking oil is pretty obvious and effects tend to be local

      LNG terminal accidents would be spectacular but limited in scope and tend to be well monitored unlike a CO2 dump

      Melting sea Ice has no effect on sea level – it already displaces its own weight – see Archimedes
      There is no increase in glacier melt rate. In fact the measured rate of sea level rise has not changed at all between 1900 and 2012 as the IPCC reported in WGIAR5 Chapter 13 Page 114

      A rapid release of 10 million tons of CO2 in a geological disruption could be VERY nasty. Think earthquake, damaged communications, roads closed AND poisonous atmosphere.

  16. They should fill it every summer (to fight warming) and release it every winter (to fight cooling).

    Really, this seems much more dangerous that the Keystone XL pipeline! “Consequence of Failure” and such…

    • I suppose a sudden release might be impossible, and a gradual release would create a great cooling from depressurization, maybe freezing and plugging the leak. (?)

      • “I suppose a sudden release might be impossible, and a gradual release would create a great cooling from depressurization, maybe freezing and plugging the leak. (?)”
        It would be a surprise to anyone who’s tried to control a blowout in a gas well. Sequestered CO2 is generally injected into saline water (even in an abandoned oil or gas reservoir, the produced hydrocarbon is naturally replaced with water, the pore spaces don’t remain empty). When injected under pressure the CO2 dissolves in the water. Pressure relief (in the event the fluid has migrated far enough upward) will allow the carbon dioxide to break out of solution as bubbles of gas. Think of it like a large underground bottle of Coke.
        Did you ever crack open the cap on a shaken bottle of Coke (even a cold one), note the sudden appearance of many bubbles of gas which vigorously rush toward the opening (along with a heap of entrained cola) and then breath a sigh of relief when an an ice plug formed in the threads of the cap and plugged the ‘leak’?
        …Didn’t think so.

    • There were other once-living creatures other than people that also died – so w’ere talking more deaths than just a few thousand!

  17. Why would anyone in their right mind want to store all that Oxygen below ground when we need O2 to breathe?

  18. Fascinating how people could agree to such storage of an inherently volatile and in large quantities deadly material underground where they have major problems with the same kind of storage for nuclear waste even if it is turned into non-volatile, insoluble matter in safe containers.

    I wish I’d be able to see in what state even this particular storage will be in a hundred years.

  19. Didn’t nature long ago figure out a way to “sequester” CO2? I believe it is called biochemistry. Plants dine on it, as do cold ocean waters absorb it. When the planet warms up, the oceans also warm, releasing CO2 for the plants who like warm weather also. By some amazing stroke of luck, it works.

  20. And Decatur has a big lake almost right in the middle of town, too. But it’s a lot flatter there than it is at Lake Nyos, so the released CO2 should dissipate faster. Pray that it’s windy on the day of the big ‘quake!

  21. This article makes the case against any underground injection project, enhanced oil recover using CO2, fracking and leaving methane underground because it is high pressure. Seems to be a bit of fear mongering. No mention of the high pressure pipeline getting it there, which could rupture.

    What about the costs, energy requirements and other technical merits?

    • I cant see how you get that from the article.

      The problem with CO2 is that it is heavier than air so if it escapes it will displace all the oxygen at ground level and thus suffocate anybody in the area. It will, of course, dissipate over time so people can come back and bury the dead.

      Gases that are lighter than air (such as methane) do not pose the same risk as they will dissipate vertically instead of horizontally.

      Using CO2 to extract oil doesn’t leave vast quantities of CO2 at high pressure underground.

      • I’m well aware of gas MW and density. The lateral spread is going to depend on a number of factors. I doubt either methane or CO2 will be dispersed through an orifice. Tell me how close you’d like to be to a methane release.

        Also, EOR projects can go with higher pressures (2,400 psi) and injection rates around a billion cubic feet per day, depending on the volume of oil recovered. I’d guess it isn’t all at atmospheric pressure underground. What if some of the 3,500 miles of 1,400 psi CO2 pipeline in Texas were to rupture?

      • The CO2 might be injected at high pressure for EOR, but it mostly comes back out with the oil. CO2 is used because it mixes with the oil and lowers its viscosity.

        As for the pipeline rupturing, the largest pipe in the network is the 30 inch Cortez Pipeline which was completed in 1983. A mile of this pipeline at 1400psi will only contain about 600 tonnes of CO2. What sort of accident would it take for a whole mile of pipeline to discharge its contents without any of the safety features cutting in?

        Given the age of the pipeline (some of was built in the 1970s) and the length I doubt if it hasn’t been ruptured at some point in the past.

  22. New terror target. Loading up the nation with WMDs just waiting to be set off by anyone with a well placed truck-bomb.

    If you ever try to explain on an eco web-site that CO2 is not dangerous snarkers will chime in: “Oh yeah? Let’s put you in a room full of CO2 then.” Now I can just say: “You mean like if a carbon sequestration site loses containment?”

  23. The advantage is that we now have the next generation of oil reservoirs. Add water and energy and out comes oil. What is there not to like?
    Sure, until it is turned into oil one lives near a poison pit but once it is oil it will provide jobs and energy again. What do certain groups call that again: renewable energy.

  24. CO2 sequestration underground and under pressure is brought to you by those fine folks who oppose fracking.

  25. …be sure the CO2 stays in place. The first line of monitoring begins deep below the ground, so we know if any leakage occurs long before any CO2 might reach the surface.”

    Just bringing natural gas to the surface in many fields presents similar hazards. In Wyoming some very productive fields have a lot of H2S, but this is captured and becomes a separate co-product (sulfur) with a concurrent economic incentive to prevent leaks. With regard to sequestration, the CO2 might eventually combine with reservoir materials into some form in which a catastrophic release is not possible, but nonetheless, in addition to the suffocation hazard associated with CO2, one puts work (P-V work) into the sequestration that might equal several Hiroshima bombs. Also, the troublesome releases of CO2 are likely to occur suddenly so that there isn’t much advance warning of trouble, independently of monitoring, or not enough advance warning for any useful mitigation.

    Using old natural gas reservoirs for sequestration has the safety advantage that these reservoirs are mechanically stable most likely or gas wouldn’t have accumulated in them and remained for a long time. But the list of things that can go wrong is pretty long, and I’m surprised, in a way, that these demonstration projects aren’t confined to the relatively unpopulated areas of the West. On the other hand, I’m not surprised at the location, because everyone wanted some of this Federal pork. It presents an incentive to do occasionally destructive things.

  26. Why are we holding CO2 hostage? It reminds me of my neighbor who scolded me when I was empty water jugs on the lawn after a camping trip. You shouldn’t waste water, they said. I am not wasting it, I am putting it back into use, was my reply.

    We aren’t going to make it. We are smart enough to destroy ourselves and to stupid not to.

  27. if an earthquake cracks the geological structure, or if a mistake or greed leads to the reservoir being overloaded, the result could be a disaster.
    It is not a matter of ‘if’, it is a matter of ‘when’.

    • Only 210 miles to Cairo, IL, which just happens to be the top of the New Madrid Earthquake fault line.

      The Illinois State Geological Survey has this to say about that.

      In the following 5 weeks, 602 aftershocks were felt in Louisville, an average of 1 shake every 1½ hours with 6 of these estimated with magnitudes in the 6s. The second New Madrid fault released in the mid 7s magnitude on January 23, 1812 with 300 aftershocks in the following 2 weeks and the third New Madrid fault released the greatest amount of energy on February 7, 1812 with 970 aftershocks the following 6 weeks.

      Researchers find evidence that major earthquakes occurred on the New Madrid faults not only 200 years ago, but also about 550, 1100 and 1700 years ago and there is some evidence for an even older event 2600 years ago. Historic damaging (low- to mid-6 magnitude) events have also occurred in the New Madrid seismic zone (NMSZ) in 1843 at the southern end and 1895 at the northern end just west of Cairo. There are about 100 to 200 earthquakes per year in the NMSZ that are mostly only detected by seismographic recording stations in the area.
      https://www.isgs.illinois.edu/1811-1812-new-madrid-earthquakes

      But I am sure they have and AP for that now.

  28. We will all die not from too much C02 but for the lack of it.
    It is a real possibility that happened on Mars.
    Let’s hypothesize for a moment.
    Say Mars was once covered in forests and oceans teaming with oxygen producing plankton.
    Unlike Earth, Mars being smaller lost its carbon recycling tectonic plate movement.
    Volcanos died out and no more life giving C02 reentered the atmosphere.
    At some point there was not enough C02 to support plant life.
    In addition the lack of tectonic plate movement and the declining magnetic field the atmosphere was stripped away from the planet.
    The lighter gases first then finally the heavy C02 was all that remained.
    Just a fraction of what it had once been.
    Agriculture cannot be sustained under 200 ppm C02.
    The Earth had at one time 75 percent C02 now just .0004 percent.
    It is amazing that’s plants are living with this tiny amount.
    Someday in the future C02 will be a precious commodity.
    Sequestering C02 is just plain stupid.
    But what do you expect from a bunch of left wing idiots, oh I mean intellectuals.

  29. This article is alarmist and full of incorrect statements. First, the incident at Lake Nyos was due to an inversion which can only occur in a water body. An inversion cannot occur within a geologic formation.

    Second, once CO2 is injected into a suitable geologic formation, it is VERY difficult to get it back out. The CO2 becomes physically and chemically trapped.

    Third, EPA has a robust Underground Injection Control (UIC) permitting process for geologic sequestration demonstrations such as the one in IL and for future large-scale (i.e., 3 million tons/year) projects. Part of the criteria for obtaining a federal UIC permit for CO2 injection into permanent storage requires a complete and very robust evaluation of the geology, including potential seismic activity.

    Fourth, very little anthropogenic CO2 is used for enhanced oil recovery at this time. Most EOR operators use naturally-occurring CO2. In EOR, the CO2 is injected into an oil-bearing formation that can no longer produce oil due to decreased pressure. The CO2 mixes with the oil and allows the oil to be pumped to the surface. About 50% of the CO2 injected becomes trapped in the formation and the remainder is stripped from the oil and reinjected. While anthropogenic CO2 could certainly be used, the price of anthropogenic CO2, current and pending regulations and pipeline infrastructure make this beneficial reuse a challenge.

    Fifth, why are such projects occurring? Based on the mainstream science used to support current climate policies, the CO2 emitted from anthropogenic sources – combustion of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, oil) used to generate electricity and power transportation – needs to be reduced significantly to mitigate or minimize future adverse impacts. Capturing the CO2 before it is emitted to the atmosphere and store it in geologic formations or use in a beneficial use requires carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCS or CCUS). CCS at this scale has neither been adequately demonstrated nor is it economic feasible. As renewable energy cannot replace fossil-fuel power generation on a one-to-one MWh-basis, CCS is the only potential technology on the horizon that will allow the continued use of fossil fuels to power our life in the USA as well as the rest of the world. These large-scale projects are critical to enhance our understanding of the technology. Please see the websites for the Edison Electric Institute, the Department of Energy or EPA for factual information on CCS.

    • 1 question you must honestly answer: Would you want you and your family living on top of a large CCS project?

      • Fine with me! The criteria for obtaining a permit to inject CO2 for permanent storage is more stringent than a permit to inject hazardous substances, in terms of monitoring and well construction. CO2 is neither explosive nor flammable and due to the physical trapping of the CO2 within the formation, no large quantities of CO2 will be released.

      • Bhopal comes to mind. As there is of course surface CO2 pumping, storage, and injection machinery. What could go wrong?

        In the aftermath, at the oversight hearings, the phrase, “At this point, what difference does it make?” also comes to mind.

      • stringent criteria for a permit… another layer of government control, bureaucracy, and costs.

        For a highly questionable utility, or cost-benefit. The benefit side is only based on one still questionable assumption, that is, anthropogenic CO2 release has a high enough harm to outweigh the huge costs of CCS.

        No doubt the CCS cost (aside from a release) can be engineered and calculated, and driven down with scale and new tech.

        Have you seen the initial OCO-2 data? Compare that to what NASA simulations thought the picture would be.
        That should challenge all prior assumptions on anthropogenic CO2 relevance in the global carbon cycle.

        OCO-2 data has the real potential to do to anthropogenic CO2 climate change theory, what the telescope did for a geocentric solar system theory. Or what the microscope in the hands of Pasteur and Koch did for miasma disease theory.

      • I’d live there with family no problem.

        It is not easy to leak CO2 from deep underground fast, gas fields usually have fair amount of CO2 naturally. Sequestering might be an inefficient and useless exercise, though.

    • “Fourth, very little anthropogenic CO2 is used for enhanced oil recovery at this time. Most EOR operators use naturally-occurring CO2.”

      Dr Obenshein, where do “most” of the EOR folks get the “naturally-occurring CO2”? How do they segregate it from the anthropogenically-produced CO2?

      • RE, just to add to Dr. Bob’s response. There are several sources of naturally-occurring CO2 in the USA. One of the largest is the Jackson Dome in MS. Some EOR operators do use CO2 from natural gas processing units – the CO2 is stripped from the natural gas as part of the cleanup process. The CO2 is usually released to the atmosphere but in some cases, the CO2 is captured and sent to an oil field that is using CO2. The CO2 pipeline would co-mingle the anthropogenic CO2 with the naturally-occurring CO2 and it would be very difficult to tell the difference. The anthro CO2 has to be cleaned up to meet the same pipeline specifications as the naturally-occurring CO2 (i.e., certain % of water, H2S, etc.).

    • “Based on the mainstream science used to support current climate policies, the CO2 emitted from anthropogenic sources … needs to be reduced significantly to mitigate or minimize future adverse impacts.”

      BWAHAHAHA! Good one! A real knee-slapper!

      Wait, you’re serious?

      • Gary, I work for the Edison Electric Institute, the trade association of the investor-owned electric utilities. Debating the climate science is not in our wheelhouse. We are busy advocating for supportive, reasonable and achievable policies and regulations that impact our member companies.

      • kobenshein:

        “Debating the climate science is not in our wheelhouse. We are busy advocating for supportive, reasonable and achievable policies and regulations that impact our member companies.”
        ————————
        I understand. You are only following orders.

      • kobenshain
        January 14, 2015 at 11:07 am

        Gary, I work for the Edison Electric Institute, the trade association of the investor-owned electric utilities. Debating the climate science is not in our wheelhouse.

        I understand — certainly priests over the ages have worked unquestioningly and diligently over how many angels can dance on a pinhead.

      • “We are busy advocating for supportive, reasonable and achievable policies and regulations…”

        Which pretty much leaves out CCS, doesn’t it?

    • Dr. Karen Obenshain,
      Myself, I do not need any website to teach me the absurd impracticality of CCS, thank you.
      Is it not obvious?

    • While I agree that this article is unjustified alarmism I don’t agree with your 5th paragraph. Your 5th paragraph is far more alarmist than the article. Do you really believe that we needed saved from the CO2 boogeyman?

    • I’ve got a better idea. Use the money to build non-CO2 based energy generation. CCS is, frankly, foolish.

  30. This technology is the same used in Natural Gas fracking and extraction. And the end result, megatons of CO2 stored under high pressure, is potentially extremely dangerous though the odds of a disaster are slim.

    And yet, many of the same greens that are pushing this ‘Solution’ are the same ones who oppose Fracking and push for it to be banned. They even push such discredit me mes as fracking causing earthquakes.

    • Injection of CO2 into a geologic formation for permanent storage is NOT the same as hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. “Fracking” injects water mixed with sand and other components to creates fractures in the formation to release the natural gas. Injection of CO2 for permanent storage is done in such a way as to avoid fracturing the formation. Fractures would undermine the integrity f the formation.

      • If you are injecting CO2 as a liquid, you are essentially doing the same a s injecting water-both are incompressible.

  31. North American tectonic stresses are clearly realigning, as Oklahoma is now experiencing more Mag. 2.5+ earthquakes than California. Underground high- pressure CO2 sequestration near population centers, seems to be a very bad idea.

    • Alan, the seismic activity seen in Oklahoma appears to be related to the injection of waste water from fracking operations. Fracking is not causing earthquakes. You can bet the farm that the siting of waste water wells is undergoing review by the state agencies that have primacy over this type of well.

      • That’s a highly speculative statement, at this point. Many of these earthquakes are at depths from 20-30,000 ft, while most quakes associated with drilling/disposal activity are at much shallower depths. The majority of the quakes in Oklahoma are not taking place in the areas with highest drilling activity.
        One disposal well in Love Co. was shutdown in 2013, after being linked to a series of nearby earthquakes.
        Some have speculated that recent earthquakes are a result of disposal well activity which happened decades ago, yet many areas of the state are unaffected, including the vaunted Burbank field in Osage Co., which had hundreds of high- pressure salt water injection wells, since at least, the 1960’s.

        Michael Teague, Oklahoma’s energy and environment secretary and head of the state’s new Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity, recently said: “We’ve seen correlations with injection wells in Ohio and Arkansas, but we haven’t seen that tight correlation in Oklahoma.”

        Not long ago, Oklahoma Geological Society seismologist Austin Holland said. “We’re continuing to see a high rate, but it looks like a steady rate at this point.” That assessment seems to have gone out the window, as we’ve gone from a rate of slightly less than 2 quakes per day, to experiencing over 10 quakes/day, on at least 3 says of the past week.

        While Oklahoma is assumed to be volcanically inactive, with the state’s magnificent Black Mesa covered in basaltic lava flows from an ancient volcano in neighboring New Mexico, I have found a vein of erosion- exposed lava in Kay County (much closer to the area with greatest number of quakes.) and have found some number of pieces of lava in nearby river and stream beds. Volcanoes- that’s just what we need, to go along with our tornadoes and earthquakes…

        Something other than oil/gas activity is at play, here.

      • It’s less than speculative, it’s wrong.

        Besides what Alan wrote: Something like 85% of anywhere you go in Oklahoma is within 15 miles of an injection well, which is the new supposed distance that these wells can cause an earthquake, revised after earthquakes started to occur outside the previous conclusions of the Cornell researcher.

        The empirical evidence for these being a natural seismic event is that the energy released from the quakes over the past five years cannot be explained by the energy put onto faults by any human activity. The energy released by the 5.0 2009 quake alone is more than the potential energy added by all Oklahoma injection wells over the past two decades. The cumulative energy of the seismicity over the past 5 years is staggering and direct evidence that stresses were very high prior to the uptick in activity. So unless you believe that a piece of straw really can break a camel’s back, these events appear to be the result of natural stresses in the crust.

      • “…appears to be related to the injection of waste water from fracking operations…”
        In other words you really don’t know the cause.

  32. Curiously, the Greens who are most in favour of pumping millions of tons of CO2 into the ground are the same individuals who get over-excited over the prospect of fracking…

  33. It’s comforting to know that things are being monitored; that way people will know what’s about to kill them when the catastrophe begins. Even NASA screws up from time to time. Nothing is foolproof.

  34. Let’s see: the Econauts say that they can store an immediately perilous substance (CO2) underground, near ground water and seismic rifts, but don’t worry, we’ve got monitoring.

    Now, take out the CO2 and replace it with high level nuclear waste, and suddenly it’s not safe enough. All that the NucWaste can do is migrate–there’s no intrinsic pressure trying to force it out of containment.

    Now, that’s cognitive dissonance for you.

  35. From what I can tell, the New Madrid Earthquake Seismic Fault Zone is some 220-230 miles from Decatur. The 1895 New Madrid quake that measured 6.0 on the Richter Scale appears to have been strong enough to not only have been felt in Decatur, but might have done some damage there as well:

    http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=mississippi+river+fault+line&qpvt=mississippi+river+fault+line&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=B290FE11CEFD8B699B0AA053D9B0399C62EC2288&selectedIndex=2.

    Is this CO2 reservoir strong enough to withstand another 6.0 earthquake along this fault line with no damage that would otherwise trigger a release of CO2? Methinks I see a potential disaster here waiting to happen, and all in an effort to deal with a nonexistent problem. And doing something like this in California of all places truly is bordering on the insane.

    I guess this is what happens though when we humans begin to abandon rational, level-headed scientific thought and replace it with fear and irrational behavior.

  36. Sounds like a fabulous idea. We can convert all of Decatur, IL into research labs and housing for climate scientists, as I’m sure they all want to live as they preach to others. Toss in some solar and wind power, and we could host the next IPCC meeting there. Hell, we could house them and all the green NGOs there permanently. All using only clean, renewable power to sequester nasty GHG which will otherwise push the whole planet over the tipping point to Thermageddon. And knowing they are helping save the planet might just reduce their symptoms from Climate Anxiety Disorder.

    (/sarc, for the humor-impaired)

    • I like the proposal, Alan! Suggest we co-locate a ‘sanctuary for rescued and endangered’ polar bears there also. In the off chance that a New Madrid or Wabash fault earthquake proves insufficient to release the ‘sequestered’ CO2, it may still be sufficient to breach the polar bear facility allowing the cuddly polly bears to resume their free range, organic, environmentally conscious and sustainable feeding habits locally.

  37. Sequestering carbon dioxide is inane. We deserve whatever happens as a result because we were stupid enough to let it be attempted. Good example of why we shouldn’t stand idle while they are building strength for other stupid “prevention” ideas.

  38. So the people that have given us wind farms (deadly nightmares for wildlife, massive fire risks when they regularly fail catastrophically, navigation risks in water installations and a continuing danger when decommissioned unless they are disassembled and removed) and the ones who’ve given us the mirror array solar heat generation systems (an even deadlier nightmare for wildlife and a continuing danger to air traffic) tell us that they would like government to force adoption of another unproven technology which could (and will at some point) kill 10’s or 100’s of thousands of people, livestock and wildlife. All this in order to keep plants from having something to breathe.

    What could possibly go wrong.

  39. <i…A similar release near a major city would kill a sizeable fraction of the city’s population. …

    100%, should think…

  40. Hubris at work:
    Hubris when saying that all warming is anthropogenic, while probably only a small fraction may be attributed to CO2 emissions.
    Hubris when pretending that the bad climate change will be corrected with good man-made geo-engineering, whatever the risks.

    These are bad solutions to a non-problem.
    Useless, costly, ineffective, and contra-productive: plainly wrong!

    • Both Strong and Gore come from the Club of Rome clique, who in their 1991 Report, “The First Global Revolution” openly admitted how they were planning to exploit the contrived hoax of global warming in order to further their agenda.

      “In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.,” they wrote.

      http://www.jeremiahproject.com/newworldorder/globalwarming.html

  41. Even if the CO2 keeps underground, carbon sequestration is a crime against nature. Plants in deserts are craving for more CO2 to save water with less opened stomata…

    CO2 is the Gas of Life! It is not the villain, it’s the hero !!! When will they ever understand?

  42. If CO2 is heavier than air and hugs the ground when released in large amounts, why does it behave differently when released in smaller amounts from coal plants, car exhausts, or when exhaled? How does it get “well mixed” in the atmosphere when it is released close to the ground?

    • Eventually it would mix BUT in the meantime a lot of people can die.

      Power plants have tall chimneys to ensure that the dispersion happens at high levels and gas monitors around the flue gas vent systems.

  43. The CO2 is being injected into Mt. Simon formation sandstone where it will eventually mineralize (turn into solid). It is also supercritical at 10,000 feet deep with hundreds of feet of caprock on top and has been extensively surveyed and analyzed. Lake Nyos occurred when the volcano that created the crater in the first place vented CO2 into the bottom of the lake. Then the lake inverted, releasing the now cool and depressurized CO2 all at once. The two situations are not comparable.

    I am saying this for the purposes of accuracy, I am not a proponent of having to use this technology to mitigate climate change.

  44. I am not advocating for or against CCS, but I do have to say that the risk is minimal. CCS is essentially what Enhanced Oil Recovery is. EOR uses CO2 injection to stimulate recovery of oil that otherwise is not recovered from a formation. CO2 displaces crude and is stored in the reservoir.
    CCS in geologic formations can be viable and store CO2 for long periods of time. Ideally, CO2 is injected into brine formations where it chemically bonds with rock to form carbonates.
    The DOE at the National Energy Technology Laboratory had worked extensively in this area. See http://www.netl.doe.gov/research/coal/carbon-storage/carbon-storage-infrastructure
    and other such references.
    Several commercial projects including a proposed coal to liquids plant were to provide CO2 from coal gasification to companies that would use the CO2 for EOR and get paid for the CO2. Thus this form of CCS was actually profitable. It worked out that the CO2 from processing 1 ton of coal would produce an additional 2 tons of crude. Therefore the CTL plant would boost fuel production in two viable ways.
    I do not think CCS should be used to just store CO2 as that is a waste of the resource and a huge expense. But CO2 should be captured and used as a resource in oil recovery as it is in short supply at that cost and volume needed. There are only a few natural reservoirs of CO2 that can be tapped for EOR and CO2 pipelines need to run for up to a thousand miles to get the CO2 to the wellhead in some cases. Thus building a CTL plant next to an oil field amenable to CO2 EOR makes sense .

    • The volumes of gas involved in EOR are much lower, The DoE estimates around 48 million tons a year of CO2 are used for EOR. A single coal fired power planet would produce around 300 million tons per annum. In the US alone there are over 500 such plants and the Chinese and Indians alone are planning to build 750 new plants. Do the arithmetic – thats a hell of a lot of CO2 injection.

      • Keith, you are absolutely correct! CO2 emitted from coal, natural gas and oil power generation along with CO2 from natural gas processing (cleanup), refineries, manufacturing would quickly swamp the needs of the EOR industry. That is why geologic sequestration is being evaluated.

  45. What is amazing is that CO2 is pumped OUT of the ground where I live in order to be injected back INTO the ground to make old oil wells more productive. The mind boggles!!

  46. So – the ecoloons are against fracking as it introduces “harmful” chemicals under pressure that might cause earthquakes and “unknown issues” while fracking the ground but they have no issue introducing a harmful substance (in concentration) under pressure? Sounds entirely consistent to me. Not bloodly likely.

  47. Clicked on Elmer’s first link and am now puzzled…

    Why would water seeping into ground fissures and freezing and expanding quickly cause explosions? That makes no sense! Only the water close to the surface and in contact with the suddenly dropping air temps would freeze that rapidly. And if the ground or rock was so solid as to not “give” on either side for the expansion of the water as it froze, wouldn’t it just rise back up through the fissure it entered in the first place?

  48. Darn, I am finally forced to admit that CO2 is dangerous.

    But only when you put 1 million tons of the stuff in the hands of these pinheads.

    This is just madness.

  49. … Thus reducing the surplus population, the ultimate goal of Gaia-worship. Frankly, I don’t see a problem here.

  50. Where are the environmentalist. Wouldn’t this cause earthquakes, destroy ground water, and have negative effects on the environment that can’t even be predicted? Where are the movie makers and actor activists oposed to this effort to meddle with our environment?

  51. of all the idiocies of the warmistas , CO2 sequestration is the bang-your-head stupidest .

    Living in the Front Range , it is not possible to drive from Colorado Springs to Denver without passing at least one mile long coal change bringing power from Wyoming . Each atom of carbon of the entire volume of this endless flow of trains will be combined with 2 of oxygen . A quick google finds a 130 car train carries about 15,000 tons . Even lopping off 3,000 tons for ash he amount of carbon , each train will become 44,000 tons of CO2 .

    So their deimo demonstrates they can sequester about 23 trains worth , perhaps a couple of days worth , of an endless stream .

    Just plain stupid .

  52. If co2 were to drop to 200 to 300 ppm humans would quit breathing and if co2 were to go below 180 ppm plant life would die. Some one to introduce a measure in the senate to find out if the warmists were willing to go that far.

  53. Let’s apply a bit of science. The CO2 is pressurised, but pressurisation is by 3,000 + ft water and rock which makes the STABLE underground pressure exceed 105 Bar, needed to convert CO2 to the liquid phase.

    It’s perfectly safe unless you were to take away the rock and embedded water that keeps the CO2 liquid. You might argue that the CO2 could dissolve in the water and rise to the top; calculate how long that would need! Has the World forgotten basic Physics?

    • CO2 will not liquefy in the subsurface. It will dissolve in the reservoir fluid, react with minerals, or create a CO2 gas cap.

      • It will initially displace water because its density is 1.18 g/cm^3. However, the density of 100 Bar CO saturated water has been reported to be higher, so you may be right.

        It’s still safe though!

  54. Think it is worth mentioning the disaster at Lake Nyos was predicated on topology much as the CO2.

    Lake Nyos is a crater lake, all the CO2 outgassed in the disaster had nowhere to go but downhill – where all the people live, as they usually do, at the base of a volcanic flank.

    The sequestration formation close to Decatur would behave nothing like Lake Nyos if there was a sudden release of CO2.

  55. From Wankerpedia: “Lake Kivu is a fresh water lake and, along with Cameroonian Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun, is one of three that experience limnic eruptions. Around the lake, geologists found evidence of massive biological extinctions about every thousand years, caused by outgassing events. . . volcanic activity is suspected.

    “The gaseous chemical composition of exploding lakes is unique to each lake; in Lake Kivu’s case, methane and carbon dioxide due to lake water interaction with a volcano. . . [CH4 data]. . .There is also an estimated 256 cubic kilometers of carbon dioxide. . . The risk from a possible Lake Kivu overturn is catastrophic, dwarfing other documented lake overturns at Lakes Nyos and Monoun, because of the approximately two million people living in the lake basin.”

  56. Astonishing hubris, narcissism, arrogance, and ignorance, too. If you have relatives in Decatur, tell them to move asap, or carry O2 on their person at all times. CO2 is heavier than air, that’s why it’s down here and not up there. The CO2 curve that shows atmospheric warming as a function of atmospheric content is convex. It starts out kind of steep, but at some point (like right now) you can add astonishing amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere and the measurable greenhouse effect is negligible. Rather like an upside-down hockey stick. (giggle) Of course you have to completely discount other influences, like the sun, as independent drivers/variables. Oh well. Now we know why AGW has stalled, no?

  57. Cold water (lakes and oceans), moist soil, and unfrozen biosphere are presently doing plenty of sequestering. Do we really need to spend a lot of money trying to store CO2 underground? Using it as a by-product is another approach. Try pumping it through a forest to make the trees grow faster.

  58. I assume anyone selling real estate in Decatur has to disclose that there is a WMD stored under the city with demonstrated lethality.

  59. I never heard of this silly project. Seriously? 1,000,000 x 1000 kg of CO2 deliberately stored in the earth by people, on purpose? That is a huge amount of CO2. I want to know more about this.

    I have to say, how can anyone who works on this take any pride in their pointless work?

    As a punishment in military prisons, inmates would have to move a pile of rocks across the yard for a month, then move them back the next month, achieving nothing. The rock of Sisyphus.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisyphus

    Think about the beer brewing industry! I wonder if there are any breweries in Decatur?

  60. The rub is if such an event were to occur the Eco-Terrorists would simply point to it in confirmation of how deadly CO2 is. In typical form, they set up a problem and once it occurs use it to claim they were right all along. There is never any winning here.

  61. Just imagine if every coal powerplant in the US had one of those. A foreign country could pretty much wipe out a large portion of the US population with just a few hundred bunker busters. no nukes, no damage to the infrastructure, just a whole mess of dead bodies to dispose of.

  62. Let’s step back and look at this carefully. This is 100% pure unadulterated alarmism. The point is that carbon sequestration requires the same level of process safety analysis as a major chemical plant or fuel terminal. That is something that can be accomplished. The reason nuclear plants have such an enviable safety record is that they focus on safety from the design of the plant to the culture of the employees.

    The real issue here is not the hazards of CO2, but the fact that this facility is completely unnecessary. Even if sequestration was completely safe, it would still be a waste of time.

    • Omega, I’m not terribly worried (actually, I’m more amused), but there is a non-zero risk here. Decatur isn’t terribly near the New Madrid fault (229 miles) but there has been no large seismic activity for a long time, and the Midwestern plate is very rigid- it transmits seismic waves fairly efficiently. Could the pressure of this carbon capture, combined with significant tremors, cause an escape?

      Speculation, I know, but have these “experts” considered all the variables? And if this practice became widespread, where would the danger zones be?

      Of course, you are quite right about this being unnecessary and a waste of time and resources.

  63. Would “Gas-X” work. Sorry — this is a try on my part to be humorous, which I’m not very good at.

  64. Ironically, most of the CO2 that is being sequestered is coming from ADM’s ethanol production facility in Decatur.

      • Also, Continental Carbonic has a big facility there, too. If you need dry ice (and I mean, a LOT of cry ice), that’s the place to go.

    • Lee, in order to evaluate the impacts of large-scale injection of CO2 into a geologic formation, you need a large-scale source of CO2. Ethanol production generates CO2 and ADM is able to generate at least 1 million tons CO2 annually so the first large-scale project in the USA can proceed. Statoil’s Sleipner natural gas processing business in Norway has been injecting 1 million tons of CO2 annually for the past 10 years in a geologic formation located under the North Sea. There have been no issues with this project. Statoil injects CO2 in order to avoid paying a CO2 tax.

      • …1 million tons of CO2 annually for the past 10 years… 18 years ;)

        Karen, thanks for your patience explaining the lack of risk to folk here. Saves me having it to it!

      • so ethanol production is making a lot of CO2? Well, well, well……it is less powerful, costs more, and now adds CO2? what’s not to love about ethanol? (other than the campaign contributions)

  65. Clearly the only big winners in a carbon sequestration project would be silicon-based life forms. You have often asked why the team were so strange. Aliens, it’s worse than we thought.

  66. Gotta love the greens. For decades they have fought against building homes on ridge lines in order to preserve “pristine” landscapes, but now push for thousands of industrial structures (windmills) along the same ridges. For a generation they fought nuclear power on the grounds that the waste persists for a few hundred years, and now they push for in-ground storage of CO2 in deadly quantities…. a danger which will persist forever.

    I would say “bless their mess”, except their mess will be our mess once they have thrown up their hands and walked away from the fruits of their ignorance.

  67. The “progressives” seem to me to be both Malthusian and misanthropic in their views. They probably would see the deaths of thousands of people to be an overall benefit to the economy and to the global environment so sounding this sort of alarm is not likely to influence them. They tend to see the population of the planet as the cause of its problems. What is being pointed out here is more likely to be regarded as a feature rather than a bug by “progressives”.

  68. I have a perfect solution. Sequester the CO2 under the US Capitol building and the capitols of the states who insist on burying their heads a
    Ong with CO2. That way when the inevitable disaster occurs, the morons responsible for trying to take life giving CO2 out of the environment will be the first to suffer the consequences of their ignorance.

    Given that the opposite of pro is con, what is the opposite of progress?

  69. Disclaimer: I have worked on CCS (Carbon capture and sequestration) projects, but just because someone payed me to do foolish, non-productive work, does not mean I actually believe it has a useful purpose.

    First, we are comparing apples to camels, using CCS in underground storage vs. Lake Nyos.

    Lake Nyos was caused by an overturning of water containing CO2. All the CO2 was released at once. There is only one barrier to contain the CO2, and that is pressure. If the pressure above the CO2 laden water is reduced, pressure release becomes self sustaining, and the CO2 is all released. Even a small disturbance would do it, like shaking a bottle of Coke. Even without any disturbance, eventually the CO2 would over saturate the water, form bubbles, and rise. The further the bubbles rise, the bigger they get, and the lower the hydrostatic pressure, which releases more CO2. It would all release at once.

    They now have a barge on the lake, that has piping to depths where the CO2 accumulates. The pipe was partially evacuated, and now there is a continuous plume of CO2 and water. This prevents a dangerous build up of CO2. Its a controlled release now, not a sudden overturning. It’s also self powering.

    In geological sequestration, there are additional constraints in addition to hydrostatic pressure; permeability restraints and overlying impermeable rock (about 2 km worth).

    Even if a new fault opened all the way to surface, along the entire length of the reservoir, you would not get a release of all the CO2. And this scenario is EXTREMELY UNLIKELY.

    First, you would still have hydrostatic pressure keeping the CO2 in control. A properly designed CCS would not have an over pressured system (over hydrostatic gradient). Next, due to pressure loss through permeability, the rate that gas can escape is reduced. As the fracture is not propped open, and the two fracture faces are still in contact, the friction losses moving up the fracture would reduce the rate of gas escaping.

    But first you still have to remove the hydrostatic pressure over the CO2. As long as the hydrostatic pressure is in place, even if the rock overburden is breached, the CO2 will be immobile.

    Lets do the math. Assuming a 1 km x 1 km storage area, and in the EXTREMELY UNLIKELY event of a new fracture opening all the way to surface with a width of 1 mm x 1 km long, you have 1/1,000,000 of the reservoir exposed. Remember Lake Nyos in effect had the entire surface area of the lake release CO2 at the same time. In the CCS case, you have only a very small proportion of the reservoir exposed. The rate of release will be constrained by the reservoir permeability and the permeability of the 2 km fracture to surface. In this given case, even if you have no pressure losses due to permeability contrasts, you will still need several million minutes to release all the gas in CCS, compared to Lake Nyos. Nyos released all the gas in several minutes, and the CCS reservoir exposed is a million times smaller, at least.

    Nature does have examples of gas leaking to surface from deeper reservoirs. Google “burning springs”. The US alone has 1/2 dozen or so. A pathway has opened from the gas reservoir to surface, and gas is escaping. The natural gas is then ignited by lightening or a poorly chosen spot for a campfire. The flames are candle sized, up to that of small campfire. In other words, not much gas is escaping.

    The only way to release all the CCS gas at once, is to remove all the rock overburden at once. In other words, an asteroid strike or a Yellowstone type super volcano. I suspect that we would not be that worried by the release of the gas, as the other effects would be more problematic.

    That is not to say that there are not dangers. A blow out of a well will be dangerous out to no more than several hundred meters. Even H2S well blowouts, usually have exclusion zones of only a few hundred meters, and H2S is hundreds of times (1000s?) more toxic than CO2.

    Its possible that CO2 could leak into the lake, and build up over time. But reservoir monitoring, and measuring lake CO2 levels, would reveal this before it became a problem.

    In conclusion, while geological CCS is simply political posturing and serves no useful purpose, it is also no more dangerous than any other application of geological engineering. To compare it to Lake Nyos is simply not applicable, and is only fear mongering. In fact, it is exactly the type fear mongering used by proponents of AGW over the same gas, CO2.

    By all means, oppose CCS, but for the waste of money it actually is, not for any imaginary dangers it poses.

  70. even if you have no pressure losses due to permeability contrasts, you will still need several million minutes to release all the gas in CCS, compared to Lake Nyos. Nyos released all the gas in several minutes, and the CCS reservoir exposed is a million times smaller, at least.

    Or you simply need a slow leak into Lake Decatur that goes completely unnoticed as the CO2 content of the water increases and become saturated. Then comes the normal seasonal overturning of the lake water and BAM! all of that CO2 stored in that water is suddenly released all at once.

    • Yes, I had mentioned the possibility of a leak into the lake, and as I said, the aquifers around CCS would be monitored, including lakes. Any leak would be seen on a real time basis, well before it became dangerous.

      Any build up can be easily mitigated, as shown in the Lake Nyos example. Any observed leak that could not be shut off, would also render the reservoir unusable, and injection would need to stop.

  71. I suggest we leave scaring with the boogeyman to the others. Just as fracking has negligible direct environmental impact if executed properly so has CO2 Storage. The Lake Nyos incident cant be repeated from an underground reservoir under km’s/miles of rock. It’s not safety but cost-benefit that makes CCS such a bad idea.
    If CO2 is a problem CCS come way down on the list of means to adress it.

  72. There is very little danger of catastrophic release of CO2 from these reservoirs.

    It will act to dissolve subsurface carbonates, I’m more concerned about that.

    • No, CO2 in salt water actually FORMS carbonates. That is one of the supposed selling points of CCS. Over geological time, it transforms the CO2 from a gas to a solid.

      In any case, it would not usually be placed in carbonate reservoirs, or even sandstones with high carbonate cementing of the silica.

      • No, no it does not. Mineral trapping, what you’re referring to, is a minor process in CO2 injection. 10,000 years. There is net host rock dissolution from the dissolving of CO2 in carbonate aquifers. The only way it is important is that it can actually increase the integrity of the cap rock.

        If CO2 injection into salt water resulted in a net precipitation of minerals than many oil and gas fields would have been damaged by the process. The porosity and permeability in the CO2 injection formations would be damaged.

        http://sp.lyellcollection.org/content/233/1/59.short
        https://e-reports-ext.llnl.gov/pdf/310067.pdf
        http://sp.lyellcollection.org/content/233/1/59.short

      • P.S.S. Third sentence should read that “There is models that suggest the process could be slightly more significant after 10,000 years but there is observational evidence that the process is even slower.”

      • Robert: Note my use of “over geological time”. There will be little effect over the lifetime of the producing wells. That said, scaling of wells is a common problems, but is not usually due to CO2 effects, but more to pressure drops and incompatible fluids.

        While I agree that there will be a net dissolution of carbonates with CO2 water, it will be a minor effect, and centered mostly around the injection wellbore. Over geologic time, in combination with Mg and Ca, there will be a net INCREASE in carbonates in the reservoir.

        Most CCS is in sandstone. The few trials in carbonates are in the Middle East, because most of the ME is carbonate. They are also mostly tertiary recovery programs. Carbonates are poor choices for CCS, as they are prone to natural fractures and vugs. They are also inhomogeneous in permeability and porosity. Homogeneity is something that is more suited to CCS.

        [“vugs” ??? .mod]

      • There is a CCS project in the Arbuckle Group of the Wellington Oil Field in Kansas. Perhaps they have determined that it’s not well suited, I haven’t followed it too closely.

      • Thanks, I was not aware of the Kansas work. My initial look:

        1. Its a dolomite, and thus about 20 times more resistant to acid than CaCH3 at low temps.
        2. Its has a good cap rock in the Chatanooga Shale above it.
        3. Initially, they want to use CO2 injection in the oil zones above the saline aquifer.
        4. From this summary:

        http://www.recovery.gov/arra/Transparency/RecipientReportedData/pages/RecipientProjectSummary508.aspx?AwardIdSur=122838

        However, residual gas saturation and long-term mineralization in saline aquifers should also sequester significant and comparable tonnage of CO2.

        My emphasis.

        5. This has a good overview, especially on the pressure management to prevent leaks.

        http://www.kgs.ku.edu/PRS/Ozark/Reports/2014/MGWA_2014_Arbuckle_Freshwater_Aquifers_TBirdie.pdf

  73. I suggest we leave scaring with the boogeyman to the others.

    The point being, the “potential” dangers of their supposed “mitigation” are just as bad, if not worse, than the potential dangers that they are mitigating.

  74. In the future, ADM will tap into the CO2 reserve for the greenhouses to grow food when NAH gets cold.

  75. Perhaps they hope to construct a subterranean biome. Why else would they sequester a key nutrient for life processes below ground?

  76. And one must ask, how many of these time bombs (of this size) would you need to have to drop the atmospheric CO2 ppm by even 1or 2 ppm !!

  77. Les Johnson January 14, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Thanks for your informative and interesting post. I’m pretty happy to leave the identification of compatible host reservoirs for CCS to the geological experts. I also have pointed out that many equally worrisome risks already occur with respect to natural gas production. However, I am disturbed by the prospect of destroying so much availability of fuel and effectively burying it. CCS is thermodynamic madness, particularly if one sees the risks of a doubling of CO2 as pretty small anyway.

    • Yes, I totally agree on the “thermodynamic madness” of CCS. We are wasting at least 30% of the energy for no discernible good. Another way to look at it, is we are increasing the cost nearly 50% to get the same useful energy.

      Madness. Let plants do the sequestration.

  78. http://junkscience.com/2015/01/14/carbon-sequestration-project-meets-milestone/#more-67283

    This demonstration project is done in concert with Archer Daniel Midland (ADM) at it’s Decatur, IL, ethanol production facility. The project is completely on-site. The advantage of doing it at this site is the CO2 produced by ADM is said to be 99%, so there is no need to do any messy, expensive CO2 gas separation, just dehydrate and compress. Another description of the project can be found here. The facility requires an additional 100 MW of electricity to handle gas compression and (glycol) dehydration.

    • No, an alarmist would have used models to project (not predict) how many millions of people would die by mass suffocation by 2100.

      And the headline would be something like: “Carbon Sequestration, the New Holocaust”.

      That’s how the alarmists roll.

      BTW if CO2 is now a pollutant, how can a company get away with pumping a million tons of it into the ground? Is this not now a hazardous, toxic superfund site?

      • No, alarmist, not an alarmist.

        “1 million tons of pressurised CO2…” is alarmist anyway, since Eric fails to mention that there are billions of tons of pressurised water already down there. Image if that were to escape and drown everyone?

      • Kit Carruthers January 14, 2015 at 2:15 pm
        No, alarmist, not an alarmist.

        “1 million tons of pressurised CO2…” is alarmist anyway, since Eric fails to mention that there are billions of tons of pressurised water already down there. Image if that were to escape and drown everyone?
        ——-

        You missed my second point. Water is not a pollutant, CO2 officially (and ridiculously) is. Nothing could be more alarmist and misleading than declaring CO2 a pollutant and the purposely called it “carbon” instead.

        What the author did was mild by comparison.

        Do you attack the green alarmists with such rigor? Why is that any different?

        The larger point is that, whether it is risky or not is irrelevant. Either way, it is costly exercise in futility.

      • Why is it ridiculous that CO2 is classed as a pollutant?

        To answer your second point, lots of hazardous substances get routinely disposed of in the ground every day through landfill. These are (or should be) carefully designed to manage risk of leakage, monitored, and subject to extensive regulation. CO2 storage is the same.

      • Kit Carruthers

        To answer your second point, lots of hazardous substances get routinely disposed of in the ground every day through landfill. These are (or should be) carefully designed to manage risk of leakage, monitored, and subject to extensive regulation. CO2 storage is the same.

        OK. SO the single small-scale 1,000,000 ton CO2 pressurized gas reservoir underground is “monitored” against “all (of the cases) that we can think of” predicted.

        Fine.

        Now. Tomorrow night, on a still, sub-freezing winter night with no wind and no clouds at 3:00 AM, the monitors go off. The CO2 is venting – 50,000 tons per day.

        How are you going to stop it? How are you going to get even CLOSE TO the vent point to find out what is happening so you can start to figure out where the leak is even from?

        WHO will even hear the monitors? Where is the monitor station? What is its backup power?

        When the Memphis earthquake fault goes off again, what happen to the 1,000,000 tons of pressurized gas underneath the suddenly fractured and lifted Illinois rock?

      • Kit Carruthers January 14, 2015 at 3:13 pm
        Why is it ridiculous that CO2 is classed as a pollutant?
        ————-

        Because there is no scientific evidence to support it. Man has been producing CO2 in significant quantities since the Industrial Revolution. That’s over one and fifty years, with no adverse effects. The EPA ruling was based on predictions that have not come true, and have not for over twenty years.

        That’s why it is ridiculous.

        What empirical (not modeled, not projected) evidence is there?

  79. My car engine would be my lowest priority in such a situation. Unless you meant this in the context of trying to escape the cloud?

  80. Some of the comments address the analogy to nuclear waste storage, but fail to recall the hysteria the anti-nuclear movement stirred up surrounding the latter. They pointed out (incorrectly) that humans have never stored anything for more than a couple of hundred years without it being found and opened. Of course, King Tut would differ. But the hysteria had to be exaggerated in order to work, by taking one of nuclear waste’s virtues (the fact that it becomes less dangerous with time) and turning it into something fearsome. Noting that some of the intermediate wastes have very long half-lives (~40,000 years *), they painted the specter of a “nuclear priesthood” guarding the repositories against potential raiders for millenia to come — like the Knights Templar guarding the Holy Grail, I suppose.

    The problem here is that the CO2 will actually never go away. And it is mobile, unlike vitrified nuclear waste. It will be forgotten, and then it will be very dangerous. This is a foolhardy thing to do, and is as irresponsible an act as I’ve ever imagined.

    * By the way, looking at the make-up of nuclear waste, it takes about 500 years for the entire mix to become less hazardous than the ore from which it was extracted.

    • Hell, in a few years, in a sudden but irreversible fit of sanity, they’ll just open the valves and let it all back out.

  81. Reblogged this on Public Secrets and commented:
    The enviro-Left (and Green businesses hoping for lucrative government contracts) have been pushing carbon sequestration –storing CO2 deep underground — as one way to “save the planet.” But did you know if this underground storage ruptures for any reason, the released CO2 could kill thousands? Smart. Put people at risk to fight a problem that does not exist: caatastrophic man-caused climate change. Great work, Green Movement!

  82. We had a carbon price of $23 per ton. One million tons would have to cost less than 23 million to store indefinitely Price now is around $2-3 per ton. I find this hard to believe they can actually do this for a few million. We all know that eventually it must leak out. If it is a catastrophic failure, humans will die from asphyxiation. Any bird caught in the lack of oxygen environment will be dead very quickly.I will bet that the city of Decatur is in a valley. CO2 being heavier than air will sit in the valley, forcing out oxygen. An earthquake cracking the sandstone would give such a release, resulting in probably the death of the entire township. Knowing bureaucrats, they would demand the return of the carbon credits first before extracting(fat chance) the compensation to the families(or what is left of them.) . Carbon capture is as much of a fantasy as the notion that a trace gas is the driver of climate.

  83. It seems that CO2 is more dangerous than most people realize. Around 7 – 10% will cause many people to become unconscious is just a few breaths. I was made aware of this when two crew members were killed. The first became unconscious visiting a cargo hold containing citrous fruit, the second was killed when he went in to try and rescue the first.

    Apparently it is a nervous reaction as CO2 is used to regulate the breathing rate in humans. Over a certain level it knocks you out.and kills you

    • It doesn’t kill quite that rapidly. I used to work with people who enjoyed the buzz of sticking their head into freezer-chests and taking lungfuls of pure CO2 evaporating from the solid CO2 stored in them. I found the sensation is bit like having your lungs full of Coca-Cola. In hot weather it was not entirely unpleasant. The immediate effect was respiratory stimulation and “flushing”.

      • Yes, probably something else in the hold. Not CO. Fruit emits ethylene gas, which is an asphyxiant and affects the central nervous system. (It’s used as an anesthetic, combined with 15% O2.). LC50 is about 6% for rats, but over four hours. Asphyxia more likely than toxicity, but I’d leave CO2 at the top of the list, since it’s the one with the highest specific gravity. I’m wondering what was in that hold on the last voyage. . .

        Ethylene gas is injected into fruit warehouses to hasten ripening; haven’t heard of it being injected into a hold, but it’s possible, in which case, leaking valves could lower O2 to a dangerous concentration. Also possible the hold was set up with a Halon or CO2 fire suppression system, depending on the time-frame. Unusual for either of these systems to malfunction; double-valve-and-vents usually in place, etc., but it wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened.

    • Adrian Ashfield

      Around 7 – 10% will cause many people to become unconscious is just a few breaths. I was made aware of this when two crew members were killed.

      7.0 % = 7/100
      7.0 % = 70/1,000
      7.0 % = 700/10,000
      7.0 % = 7000/100,000
      7.0 % = 70000/1,000,000

      400 ppm = 400/1,000,000
      That is 178 times today’s atmospheric levels …

      The first became unconscious visiting a cargo hold containing citrous fruit, the second was killed when he went in to try and rescue the first.

      That company’s confined space/emergency access procedures/access watch training are fatally flawed, or were not inspected and followed: NO ONE on access watch should EVER re-enter a confined space to “rescue” a downed worker. The gas (or lack of oxygen) that put down the first worker will kill the second just as fast. What was being monitored? Was there training in place at all? Was there a standby-breather or self-contained rescue apparatus? Any retrieval dragline or winch? Any harness? Was there a air monitor? Was it calibrated? Was it powered up, or had the batteries gone bad?

      The fault is NOT the CO2 in that space.

      • RACook,
        This happened more than 50 years ago. The crew member had gone to check the temperature of the refrigerated hold. What exactly happened was not clear. AT that time the danger was not recognized. I didn’t say they were killed that quickly but clearly they were made unconscious very quickly. That it was CO2 was what I heard was the opinion of the inquest. Regulations to prevent a reoccurrence were put in place soon afterwards.

  84. Of course, IPCC models couldn’t have successfully modeled the Lake Nyos disaster because they insist CO2 is a “well mixed gas”.

  85. A few people have commented that they think I am being alarmist about the risks associated with CCS.

    My concern is not the Decatur project – given that it is a showpiece, I’m sure the most elaborate precautions have been taken to ensure everything works smoothly, as I said in the article.

    My concern is that a serious national CCS effort would thousands of Decatur scale projects every year.

    According to EIA there are just under 7000 operational power plants in the USA, many of which are coal power plants. In 2012, the USA burned 825 million tons of coal.

    http://www.eia.gov/electricity/annual/html/epa_05_01_a.html

    At this rate of consumption, an effort to implement 100% CCS would create a requirement to bury around 2 billion tons of CO2 every year.

    Since the USA would very quickly deplete the supply of optimal reservoirs located near major cities, the choice would be between building long, expensive pipelines to inconveniently remote reservoirs, or making a huge profit by cutting a few corners when it came to reservoir selection, fill pressure, and public safety.

    • I totally agree with your assessment about running out of GOOD storage areas near power generators.

      I still disagree with comparing CCS to a Nyos style catastrophe.

      • It only has to happen once. With the scale of CO2 burying which would be required, sooner or later some unfortunate combination of factors will trigger a disaster. If lake turnover is the only way a sudden release can occur, with this amount of activity there will be opportunities for some of the CO2 “captured” in a poorly chosen reservoir to leak unnoticed into a nearby lake.

      • Then you should be much more worried about catastrophic release of natural gas from either natural reservoirs, or from underground storage.

        The failure of any of these systems on the scale you imagine is minuscule.

      • I’m not suggesting that *every* CCS project will end in disaster. The risk for an individual CCS project probably is miniscule. What I am suggesting is that with a requirement to bury 2 billion tons+ of CO2 every year, a requirement to find up to several thousand new reservoirs every year, and a strong incentive to cut corners, sooner or later something will go badly wrong.

        Hopefully the silly economics of CCS will prevent this horrible scenario from being realised.

      • There are already 6,000km of CO2 pipelines in the USA, many operating for decades without major incident transporting CO2 to/from remote sites. There are 100’s of thousands of km of natural gas pipelines doing likewise, again without major problems. You’re more likely to die getting in your car, or in your own home from a domestic accident than you are to be asphyxiated from a ruptured CO2 pipe.

      • No argument here. That is exactly what I have been saying. CCS is safe. Its just not worth the expense, in my opinion.

    • The odds of failure of a natural gas reservoir, or a natural gas underground storage, are much greater than the failure of a CCS project, and the odds of failure of these natural gas systems are minuscule.

      I would not worry about CCS failure, as much as an explosive release of natural gas. And I don’t worry about that at all.

      CCS serves no useful purpose, in my opinion, but to be against them because of the danger, is not a valid fear.

  86. If I recall correctly, the African disaster was due to a combination of things: The sudden release of the CO2 from the lake bed and the bowl shaped area that held the heavier-than-air CO in place long enough to asphyxiate the villagers.

    • Yes, I went into some detail further up, on the sudden overturning of the Lake Nyos water.

      As you mention, geography (and weather) also played a key role. Low lying areas were hit hardest, with some people surviving, despite being just a few meters higher in elevation than deceased neighbors.

    • Yet fatalities ranged from Bwabwa, 3 km to the south, to Mbuk, 15 km. to the north; and from Cha, 7 km away on the west, to Subum, 7 km eastward, all well outside the “bowl.” The CO2 overflowed the bowl, just as it will at Lake Kivu.

      CCS is just plain crazy and always will be, even without imagined release disasters. Rather than piss away billions on CCS, we should be spending a few millions on relocating the population from around Lake Kivu and Mt. Nyiregongo.

  87. The sandstone, or carbonate, needs to be connected to fracture or fault, for the HC to enter it from source rock, usually shale, usually below it.

    The fracture can extend to surface, but the HC will only enter the reservoir, as long as the permeability of the reservoir is greater than the fracture permeability. (Path of least resistance). When the pressure in the reservoir > or = hydrostatic to surface, then flow will resume upward to the next trap.

    This is a process that takes millions of years.

  88. All I can say is if we are going to put big bucks behind something as stupid as sequestering CO2 at enormous cost, low but catastrophic risk, with zero benefit since there is no correlation or causation between CO2 and “bad things happening”, then lets put the money towards building a elevator to the moon.

    It could work, you would just need to put the elevator on wheels so it followed the orbit of the moon. No big deal. Actually instead of sequestration you could pump CO2 up to the moon and start green houses up there and grow watermelons and tomatoes. Watermelon and tomatoes are good summertime food and with Global Warming and all…

    Sorry could not resist more GWA – Global Warming Absurdium.

  89. I looked through posts but didn’t see anyone else link to this Weekly Standard article

    This essay seems a terrible mix of seen and unseen fallacies for federal energy “investments” in research, plus push to get CO2 tax funding for enhanced recovery.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/next-shale-revolution_821866.html?page=1

    “Using known and next-generation technologies and processes, enhanced oil recovery could increase domestic oil production​—​mostly from existing wells, not new fields​—​by tens of billions of barrels. Public policies to jump-start this nascent market could significantly enhance our energy security, improve our balance of trade, and generate tens of billions of dollars in revenue for the federal government and trillions in economic activity over the next half-century.

    Equally important is the answer offered by EOR to two of the most pressing questions in energy policy: What is the future of coal in this country, and what can the federal government do to reduce the risks of climate change? The answer EOR offers is uniquely compelling: Coal stays in our energy mix while almost all of its carbon gets trapped underground.

    The key to this opportunity lies in the fact that carbon dioxide is the essential ingredient in enhanced oil recovery operations. And in contrast to EPA’s divisive, expensive, and likely ineffective approach to regulating carbon emissions, EOR would give American companies an opportunity to make money putting carbon dioxide underground while producing oil, making this a wealthier, more productive country with a stronger, more secure energy economy and a cleaner environment.”

  90. Have to wonder how greedy and stupid these “scientists” are that they decided to store an acidic gas IN the type of rock that it eats best when combined with water… This project WILL fail, only a question of time.

    Removing the gas of life from the atmosphere is sincerely the dumbest thing I have ever heard of, so stupid that Science Fiction writers never even wrote about it.

  91. Storing is dangerous. It may explode any time that is more dangerous. The only way is to disintegrate CO2 through chemical action. We know the issue of Stratospheric Ozone.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
    .

    • Thank you, Dr. Reddy! When we sequester carbon dioxide in this manner, we also lose its economic value. Carbon dioxide can be converted into fuels, polymers and other substances, and research on this is ongoing worldwide. Jamming it underground just wastes a potentially useful resource. Cheers, Charles the DrPH.

  92. It is not “carbon” capture. It is “oxygen” capture, and when all the oxygen is captured there is no more problem. Gaia (or your own God) can start again.

  93. Interesting how bureaucratic rules cause materials concentration that lead to greater danger. For example, because of trace radioactivity in titanium slag, the law requires that that radioactivity be concentrated for waste disposal. The concentrated waste is pretty dangerous stuff. If you just spread the slag over 100s of acres it would disappear into the background radiation.

  94. Hey Erny72

    “…let’s face it, even most ecotards aren’t quite stupid enough to think that yesterday’s energy sources (wind and sunlight) are the answer to today’s energy needs, let alone tomorrow’s..”

    Yes They Are Erny. And Even More Stupid Than That.

    Most of ’em actually believe that cities like Melbourne, Sydney, Berlin, Shangai, Rio.Mumbai, Washington, London, Paris and all the other, and many, major cities with gob smacking energy requirements can be run by these inefficient, spasmodic subsidised shockers.
    On the grounds that you learn more about the nonsense and vacuosity from the opposition by reading there opinions at there websites ( small doses at a time only and it still requires a certain steely commitment) I do visit and read what is going on The Guardian and the Australian left Fairfax Press and, of course, the real opposition to the current conservative government. The public broadcaster. The ABC.

    Unfortunately Erny, Romeo and Juliet, Cleopatra and Mark Anthony nor Burton and Taylor or Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara could hold a candle to the devotion, adoration infatuation, and besotedness( is that a real word) that greens and AWGies have in regards to these unreliable and vintage technologies.
    Best thing to do is just keep on whacking them with the science, research and the Mocking and Satire.They are infuriated by the blatant failure of computer models and despise the success story of the satellite era but they just cannot tolerate the mocking and satire so keep up the challenging of their dodgy data and mock and satirise to your hearts content.

    For example when Eustace Cranch demands that a rep of climate science gives a RIGOROUS explanation for any dangers of CO2 I just go into hysterics. Rigorous explanations and climate science in the same sentence. Oh stop it now Eustace! Thank you but I cannot take much more humor and entertainment like that.
    Gotta go now. I am off to my backyard and attach my six unicorns to a giant treadmill which is set up to my electricity supply so if you are ever in my neighbourhood in outer suburban Melbourne and you hear hoofbeats you will know what to think of… yeah … renewable energy ones.

    Cheers Erny and Eustace

  95. The University of Illinois scientists responsible for this demonstration project assure us that the reservoir does not pose a safety threat.

    Bullcrap. I’m a University of Illinois scientist, and I disagree.

    • Thanks CRS. I agree with you. I am a German working in a mining company. CO2 is known as silent killer in our business, and – inspite of all precautions – always has taken its toll on the miners. The gas, if the barriers are opened will flood the area, and it will take a while to get it out, but one looses conciousness immediately. It is hard to understand how anyone can take the risk, low as it may be, to inject this gas below areas were humas are. One may say that chemical and physical barriers exist, but this is a strange project. Certainly all mining / deep drilling activities in the area will need to be forbidden, and a detection system and training for evacuation organized as a precaution at least. The advice is … Try to get to the next hill….

  96. That’s OK – we just have to treat it like Nucular waste. Quarantine the area, don’t allow people within 50km of it. Fence it off.

    How long can it take? What’s the half-life of CO2, anyhow? 10, 20 years?

    • Afaik it requires sunlight to split up CO2 into carbonmonoxide and ozone. This is said to take ~40 years. W/o sunlight, I presume it takes considerably longer.

  97. Are there credible(I mean credible, not necessarily scientific) sources concerning the energy needed to extract, compress and pump that CO2 into its new housing and to keep it there safely?
    How is that energy generated? Coal? Gas? Wind turbines???

    • “Capturing and compressing CO2 may increase the fuel needs of a coal-fired CCS plant by 25–40%.[4] ”

      4.^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h [IPCC, 2005] IPCC special report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage. Prepared by working group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Metz, B., O. Davidson, H. C. de Coninck, M. Loos, and L.A. Meyer (eds.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 442 pp. Available in full at http://www.ipcc.ch (PDF – 22.8MB)

  98. Thinking about it once again, you guys know how dry ice is produced? Collect CO2 under high pressure until it liquifies, lower its temperature, then release the pressure. Part will evaporate, the rest will turn to dry ice. In my opinion, if a crack develops in such a CO2 container, dry ice might clog it pretty effectively rather soon. So it will seep out, but it will likely not rush out all at once.

    I still doubt it’s anything more than a temporary storage. And most importantly, it requires a lot of energy to push all the CO2 down there and to keep it there. The scale of such containers we’d need to build to keep all our CO2 sequestered is immense.

  99. If carbon sequestration becomes commonplace, sooner or later someone will get greedy and careless,

    How far is the reservoir down. One could make the same point about a gas field. If it’s a km or more down then there is little chance of this. Some seepage perhaps but I’d doubt anything more.

    I’m more surprised they managed to get anything of any note sequestered by this method. It is all a waste of money. In the UK we have companies and universities (and combinations of both) paid to model this over and over again.

  100. I think this post is unnecessarily alarmist. There are quite a number of natural CO2 reservoirs in the U.S. Oil companies pump the [liquid] CO2 and transport it via pipeline to oil fields, where it is used in enhanced-recovery operations.

    I think the carbon sequestration project is economic stupidity, especially because there is no good reason to do it, but I don’t think storing it about 2 km below the surface is much of a hazard.

  101. The borehole will be plugged at some point, but this is not a typical low-pressure depleted oil/gas well. They are going to have to pump a lot of concrete down the bore. In ten years, almost everyone will have forgotten about this well. In thirty years, it’ll be just another anomymous plugged well cap rusting away in a lot somwhere with a rusty sign saying “Don’t touch”. People retire, move away, nobody remembers anymore. Lists of old wells molder in corporate and goverment files somewhere else, then are moved to a long-term storage facility where they become lost. One or more earthquakes and ordinary ground creep will crack the bore plug, and it will start leaking. In a hundred years, all the CO2 will be back in the atmosphere.

    Unless of course, in 50 years someone unknowingly drills into the the CO2 pocket and has a blowout.

  102. it hugged the ground, displacing all breathable air to an elevation 10s of ft above ground level…

    10s???

    [Possibly “tens of feet (above ground)” The phrase is unclear, certainly. .mod]

  103. This is silly. If you want to sequester CO2, grow fast-growing trees, cut the down, and bury them. In a few tens of millions of year they will be coal, completing the cycle.

  104. “no out-of-bounds health, safety, or environmental risks were observed”… Define “out-of-bounds”!!

  105. Hi everyone, I live 10 miles outside of Decatur. I have lived here for 5 years, moved from Peoria. I don’t read much about the city or get out much. I am alarmed to find out about this. I have read a lot of the comments and there seems to be much disagreement about how safe this is and if it’s even necessary. I do know that ADM stinks and we’re not supposed to swim in the lake or eat fish caught in the lake, it’s nasty. I have an in-law that works for ADM, makes me wonder how much of all this he knows about. As far as politicians go, or people trying to make money from this, what’s new? Idiots risking lives and mother earth for their own gain, I’m afraid that will not change. I don’t have an argument for or against it but it is scary to know that if something goes wrong thousands of people could die. I’ve been to Clinton a few times, it’s a nice town and it has a big wildlife/wooded park. I hope nothing ever goes wrong there (or Decatur, of course). I am glad to see people commenting/caring about a place they’ve never been to or lived in, if these people were the majority we’d have a much better place to live.

  106. All pressurized reservoirs leak to a greater or lesser degree: there is no such thing as a 100% seal in nature. Visit the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles and watch the methane bubbling out of the lake; and a casual walk along Wilshire Blvd will tell you that methane alarms are mandatory for many buildings in this area. Then take a road trip from Santa Paula to Ojai north of Los Angeles and see the liquid hydrocarbons freely seeping into the road-side gutters and marvel at the hydrogen sulfide gas suffusing the atmosphere. And it’s all natural.

  107. I was just informed my nieces in-laws have a monitoring package on their property because of the dump site. They will be dead of course before ever getting a warning. They live just a couple miles from ADM(Archer Daniels Midland Co.) who operates a Co Gen plant, so take what you want from that. I have a theory on the whole thing. What a nice way to dispose of your own waste and make a fortune doing it?

  108. It’s in Decatur because ADM makes a lot of CO2 and heat! They use some in their greenhouses, they compress it into dry ice, carbonate beverages, etc. But there’s still a lot left over…

  109. Goodness… Why not just plant more plants and allow them to feast and enjoy the CO2? They LIKE IT! And it is essential for many plants survival!!! Don’t greenies like – greens?!?!?! Hmmmmmm?????

    This is a really bad case of mankind trying to out-think nature in all ways.

  110. I live Approx 1 MILE from said site. The CO2 that is being pumped underground comes from ADM from the alcohol plant. It is being generated right in that plant and pumped right there!
    I just happened to see this article and asked my husband about this and he said he has known this for years. In fact they are doing seismology testing right now. There are signs along the road cautioning about the crews.

  111. ADM just paid off the right people to have them design and build it for ADM paid for by IL tax payers. ADM will own it and ADM owns the C02 Company and most of the Richland the community college. It is on the West end of town and unless during a rare East wind will blow off to the East. ADM owns Decatur. I used to work as a pipefitter there for about 15 years. There will be a disaster, only question is when. ADM (Another Dead Man).

    http://www.netl.doe.gov/research/proj?k=FE0001547

  112. Apologies if double post. Darned WordPress insisting on login.

    “If carbon sequestration becomes commonplace, sooner or later someone will get greedy and careless, and will be careless in their choice of geological reservoir, and / or will overload their geological reservoir to boost their bottom line. And that carelessness will, in my opinion, almost inevitably lead to a catastrophic loss of life.”

    This has already happened at least once. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2Omha8C4WY
    5/31/2014 — 4 Mile Long eruption of Liquid Sand + stored CO2 @ Fracking operation in Colorado
    Of course the USGS and company involved denied and obfuscated. Also an interesting demonstration of a paid shill-army riding in.

    • I was reading an article in the Smithsonian about the dunes on one of the Great lakes. There is a disconnect between what academic knows and what happens in the world of experience. In this case sand. In the desert there are places for whatever reason, sand can swallow you up. How long have I know that? Since I was little when I saw a dog disappear. Evidently in the academic world, that is not possible based on the mechanics of sand. How could they not know ? It wasn’t important to me, other than to watch how sand moved when you were in a desert. Ironically, I’ve even seen it recently in a movie. I showed the article to friends, then went back to the movie to show them the scene. Never occurred to me that academic would think that it couldn’t happen. I don’t think I’m the only one who knows this.
      Much like the recent article on atmospheric rivers. Really? That’s new? and they didn’t either a) know about it ,or b) consider it.

      ” A peach is a peach, but it isn’t a peach until the officials say it’s a peach”

  113. Storing a gazillion tons of CO2 under pressure under cities?

    Yeah … a thousand “Love Canals” (Google it) shaping up with these kinds of projects …

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