Planet Gore

Carbon Capture?

Via Heliogenic Climate Change (“The Sun, not a harmless essential trace gas, drives climate change”), here’s a handy boil-down of “Carbon Capture and Burial — a Stupid Answer to a Silly Question,” from the Carbon Sense Coalition’s Viv Forbes:

“These are the likely effects [of carbon capture and storage (CCS)]:

  • About 30% [some say as high as 50%] of the power station electricity will be wasted in separating, compressing and pumping of CO2. Thus a power station now using 1 million tonnes of coal per annum will need 1.5 Mt of coal to produce the same output of usable power for electricity consumers or other industries.

  • A 50% increase in coal used will require a similar increase in coal mine capacity and transport and handling facilities — a huge waste of community land, resources and capital.
  • The resource life of every thermal coal mine will be reduced by 30% [50%].
  • Capital costs for every power station forced to wear this ball-and-chain will rise 30-100%, and electricity charges must rise by a similar amount to cover the parasitic power losses and the increased capital and operating costs.
  • No wonder some greens support CCB [carbon capture and burial] – it will make coal fired electricity so expensive that even piddle power from windmills will look attractive.
  • The same dismal story will emerge at every cement plant and steel works that is forced to install CCB.
  • The figures for gas powered facilities are similar in principle, and only slightly better.
  • The use of oxygen instead of air in the boilers merely shifts the nitrogen separation costs from the end of the process to the beginning.
  • And after all that trouble and expense, the effect on climate is probably undetectable. There is no proof or evidence that man’s production of CO2 controls the climate.

A typical 1,000 MW power station could burn about 3 million tonnes of coal per year, requiring 300 trains per year to supply the coal. If CCB is installed, the extra power needed will call for another 150 trains of coal. And if trains were used to haul away the captured CO2, the mass of material moved would require another 1,150 trains per year, each train carrying 10,000 tonnes.

Australia currently uses 128 million tonnes of coal per year to generate electricity. The CO2 produced by all of these stations could total over 300 million tonnes py. If triple header trains were used to transport this as liquefied CO2 it would require 30,000 trains per year or 600 trains per week. No matter what method of transport is used, the tonnage realities are still there and it will require immense energy to capture, compress, transport and bury the CO2 anywhere.”

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