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GeoffBeacon

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Will carbon capture and storage work?
« on: August 08, 2013, 11:51:21 AM »
I've been pessimistic about CCS but Ive just been pointed to this competition entry (and I voted for it):

Spontaneous Conversion of Power Plant CO2 to Dissolved Calcium Bicarbonate
http://climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/10/planId/1304003/tab/DESCRIPTION

At < $30 a tonne it seems a snip. 

I have also heard about "Smart stones" to extract CO2 from the atmosphere by dropping olivine in coastal waters with strong tides. See http://www.smartstones.nl/index.php/en/

Are there any flaws in these schemes.


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TerryM

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2013, 12:39:47 PM »
Geof
I'll be talking to one of the chief engineers at Babcock Wilcox possibly as early as the 10th & will get his reaction to the limestone proposaL. Off hand it sounds like an enormous amount of limestone would be required 2.5 ton limestone to scrub 1 ton CO2 = 6.5 ton limestone per ton of coal - that's a lot of rail cars of limestone.
Terry

F.Tnioli

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2013, 01:20:22 PM »
Ah, Terry beaten me to it! Indeed, it'd be huge lot of olivine required; something on the order of 1.000.000.000.000 tons of it to make any serious cut to the present CO2 athmopsheric content of nearly 2.054.000.000.000 tons of CO2. Assuming heavy-duty rail cars each carrying 100 tons, and assuming each cart doing a trip every week year-round (a week, in terms of rail transport, is VERY fast for a round), and assuming the project would aim to drop enough matherial in a matter of 10 years, we'd need:

1.000.000.000.000 / 100 / 52 / 10 = 19.230.769 cars, rolling non-stop for 10 years. In reality, for repairs, wear and tear, logistics and other reasons, the fleet of cars gotta be at least twice as big - 40 millions of 'em. Assuming length of each being 20 meters, 40 millions of them put one after another would circle the Earth at equator some 20 times; in other words, if we'd make a train made out of 40 millions of 20-meter-long train cars, and then send it steaming right straight to the moon, and after reaching the moon we'd send it right back to Earth - then by the time the 1st rail car would get back to Earth from the moon -  the last car of the train would not yet have been departed from Earth, so the whole train itself would be like a double thread, tying Earth and Moon together.

Now that's indeed a lot of rail cars, eh.

As of now, there are approximatly 14500 trains in the world, if to trust wiki answers. Even if we'd assume average length of a train being 100 cars, which is alot, it then would be 1.450.000 train cars - that's for all purposes, passenger, all freight, oil cisterns - everything. That's how much mankind managed to built so far; 40 millions train cars is thus quite unrealistic, eh. Even if built somehow, it'd then be required to build corresponding rail roads on which 20 millions cars would be moving nearly 24/7 for 10 years, with all the required infrastructure - existing rail roads wouldn't suffice for even a tenth of required capacity, probably...

And rail cars is least of problems, yet. The energy to get enough sufficiently pure olivine is not a joke either - extraction operation would be astronomically costly, considering the amount needed. Then most likely it'll have to be crushed into small enough pieces, and all the machinery needed for that ain't no joke either. And then it'll have to be distributed properly - can't just drop 100-ton piles of it right into the shallow waters, as that much would simply form a pile, and only small fraction of the matherial would actually do any chemical reaction, the rest would be just "buried". So most likely it'll have to be special ships, going along coasts, spreading the matherial around.


Although those flows do not in any way discredit the idea itself! Perhaps with time solutions could be found to circumvent all the problems of "usual" way. I'm just affraid such solutions may perhaps create further massive trouble, though. Like, if they at some point would decide to use some fraction of existing nuclear weapons to "blow" large masses of olivine into the ocean (from known large deposits of this mineral underwater, for example). Or if they'd just blow a hole to olivine magmas with those same weapons, and let some few thousands gigatons of the staff to enter top layers of the ocean. On 1st glimpse it could work in practice, but i really wouldn't try to get tectonic... We might well end up eventually blowing ourselves up if we'd start to look that direction; after all, Earth crust is indeed like a very thin, tender, weak "skin" of the core mass of Earth - which is red- or white-molten, radioactive, rather poisonous mass of molten rocks and heavy molten metals (at the core).


added

As for the other project, - capturing CO2 at the exit pipe of power stations, - it has some serious flaws too:
 - R&D cost 15 billions USD for 5-year program. Not a problem for a proven technology - but a problem for any technology not confirmed by a full-scale pilot project. Uncertain if any investor willing to risk 15B for a something which is, seemingly, only a lab-tested idea. The thing needs much more humble "proof of concept" 1st if it's any serious, imho;
 - is not quick enough: 5+ years for required R&D, then some 10-15 years at very least to implement the technology to the majority of world coal and gas power stations. So ~20 years even in the best case before it starts to make any practical and significant difference. Those are 20 years we do not have, because
 - too late for the idea itself, too. Already existing levels of CO2, which is 400 ppm, is likely to lead to +6 or so degrees C warming. Was the case ~3 millions years ago - was +6 warmer with some 340...400 ppm CO2 in the air. At the moment, most of the warming is yet not realized due to thermal inertia of the world ocean, which is few decades long process; however, as additional thermal forcing from alread-yemitted CO2 stays around for centuries, the world ocean will continue to be filled with heat, and as it does, more and more surface increase of temperatures will realize as well - even with constant CO2 levels. And 2nd, there is massive man-made dimming (aka "global dimming"), from all the aerosols emitted by fossil fuel combustion, deforestation (often made by fire), increasingly powerful forest fires, cement production, airliners, etc. Most of those aerosols settle down in a matter of a 1...3 years. Sooner or later fossil fuel burning will stop (one way or another - it's not infinite in any case), aerosols wil lthen go down, but CO2 will still be around - which will result in further and large increase of radiative forcing, and then 2nd "act" of additional warming, comparable in scale to what was before that moment. There are, however, some few places on Earth which are quite far from any major sources of aerosols even nowadays; one such place is a little city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in Russia's far east. Well guess what, during last decade, average monthly temperatures for all 12 months there have increased by 2.2...3.6 degrees C (iirc, last time i checked). So almost +3 degrees C average annual temperature during last decade. And it ain't polar region, with that (so no strong polar amplification);
 - even if all above would not be a problem, there is one more thing: nowadays, and as it have always been since industrial revolution, power plants emit less than a half of man-made CO2. Significantly less than a half. The rest is being emitted by a sum of emissions from transport, direct home heating (by the way, peat, which is used to heat homes in poor regions, is VERY dirty thing as a fuel), agriculture machinery, cement production, intentional deforestation and other sources. And, it'd be quite problematic to install the technology proposed to every car, plane, ship, diesel locomotive, helicopter, truck, agriculture vehicle, i guess. Thus, it could, at best, only slow further increase of CO2 in the athmosphere a bit, but nothing more. To illustrate how relatively insignificant the reduction would be, suffice to compare the reduction expected (as they say on the page you linked), which is 0.7 GT CO2/yr, to the total amount of CO2 emitted by mankind: ~35GT CO2/yr. In other words, a reduction of annual emissions of 2.0%. Is this a big deal to you? To me, it's not; regular and still ongoing growth of CO2 emissions would completely negate this reduction in a matter of less than 2 years - which is 10 times shorter than the realistic timeframe of installing the technology.

So in the essense, this carbon capture scheme is, imho, nothing else than partial, inapproriate, insignificant and outdated solution to the problem. I am really sorry to say that. But it'd be even worse to be silent about that. Still, i am sorry.

And that's even before any consideration for the process itself, technologically. That 20-30$ a ton look good on paper, but i just bet the figure will be increased much, perhaps even 10-fold, after the technology gets from laboratory into the real world. To provide all the vast masses of compounds needed, to combat corrosion (inevitable, since the process involves water, hot gases and metallic constructions), to remove and properly dispose of the products, and to do all that in economically deteriorating world (which it most likely will be by the time R&D phase would be done for this tech) - will be expensive.


This was a long and sad message i piled up here, paragraph by paragraph. But it's how things are, imho. Say, if you didn't read James Lovelock's "Vanishing face of Gaia" yet, may be it's the time to. HEre it is: http://esotericonline.net/docs/library/Philosophy/Environmental%20philosophy/Environmental%20Issues/Lovelock%20-%20The%20Vanishing%20Face%20of%20Gaia.pdf .
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 02:34:47 PM by F.Tnioli »
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Vergent

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2013, 02:35:42 PM »
"Will carbon capture and storage work?"

No.

Vergent

ritter

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2013, 06:02:21 PM »
"Will carbon capture and storage work?"

No.

Vergent

Succinct answer. I like it.  :)

GeoffBeacon

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2013, 11:01:39 PM »
The analyses by TerrM and F.Tnioli are very helpful. Can I simplify the numbers for my own mind.

First, Wikipedia says there is 3,000 gigatonnes of CO2 in the atmosphere - I assume your 2,000 gigatonnes refers to the additional amount since the industrial revolution. That's roughly 300 tonnes for every person on Earth. If all this extra were extracted using limestone it would require about 700 tonnes of limestone per person.

But what if we did want to take 1,000 gigatonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere?

Are there any better ways?

What's your favourite method?

How much would it cost?

P.S. Surely bulk carriers would be more efficient than rail cars. Doesn't 1 bulk carrier = 4000 rail cars?
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GeoffBeacon

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2013, 11:35:42 PM »
I'd like to add the following report from Business Green to the discussion.

National Grid hails North Sea carbon storage potential

Quote
"Test drilling finds undersea site could hold 200 million tonnes of CO2 from a cluster of Humberside industries"
and
Quote
National Grid described the successful drilling as "a major milestone" towards its plan to create a CCS hub in the industrialised Humber region, which accounts for around 10 per cent of total UK emissions.
http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2287409/national-grid-hails-north-sea-carbon-storage-potential
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Vergent

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2013, 02:34:47 AM »
Okay, the short answer did not work. Carbon sequestration is a boondoggle being pushed by the coal industry.

Lets actually look at the energy it takes to sequester CO2 vs the energy budget required to sequester it. The first steps would be concentration and liquification. But first we must burn the carbon and get energy.

We burn one mole of carbon 12g one mole of O2 that is in 55L of air this yields 394kJ of energy. This would yield about 200kJ of electricity.



In order to concentrate the 44g CO2 out of 55L of cooled exhaust gasses by condensation, it must first be compressed to 10 bar(150 psi). It then must be cooled to 225k.

http://www.sears.com/craftsman-professional-60-gallon-air-compressor-3.1-rhp/p-00916476000P#desc

This compressor draws 3,600 watts(15A, 240v) and can pump about 10 cu ft/min. 55L is 2 cu ft (28L/cu ft), So it will require 3,600 X 12 = 43,200J of electricity to compress the exhaust gasses. This drops the net output of the power plant by over 20%.

Next we have to cool the gases down to 225k to precipitate the CO2.

The heat capacity of the CO2 is 36.33 J/(mol K)

The heat capacity of the Nitrogen is 29 J/(mol K)X 4 moles = 116J/k for a total of 152J/k

For 75 degrees of cooling that is 11.4kJ of cooling to get down to the required temperature. In addition we need 15kJ of cooling to overcome CO2's heat of vaporization. So now we are using 69.6kJ per mole, about 30% of the power output of the power plant, to sequester the carbon.

A large power plant burns 3 trainloads of coal per day. The CO2 weighs more than three times as much, we now need to power 9 trainloads for CO2 round trip daily. If we were using an absorbent instead of purification, and the absorbent could hold 10% CO2, 90 trains daily would be needed.

Where would those trains be going?

Well back to the short answer:

"Will carbon capture and storage  work?"

NO!

Vergent






 
« Last Edit: August 09, 2013, 02:56:45 AM by Vergent »

Artful Dodger

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2013, 05:50:24 AM »
I've been pessimistic about CCS but Ive just been pointed to this competition entry <snip>
At < $30 a tonne it seems a snip.

Hi Geoff,

Your instincts are correct. The US Government 'leases' coal for $1.12 per ton. And new Wind Power is already cheaper than new Coal Power. If you add $30 to the price of coal, it kills the economics. They ONLY way coal remains viable is if polluting the commons remains free to the polluter.  :P

Further, every CO2 geodisposal scheme has failed in testing due to leaks/escaping CO2. It must be chemically decomposed for the GHG forcings of C02 to be removed from the climate system. The only scalable method to do that is photosynthesis. But then why burn the coal, when we could just use the plants directly?  ???

So Verge is quite right. Industrial CCS does not work, period. WE ARE WASTING TIME.
Cheers!
Lodger

Vergent

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2013, 06:04:57 AM »
Lodger,

Yes, plant sugar cane, and distill it to an energy product, Brazil has already done so. Take the leavings, and bury them, sequestration. You are good. Coal for the next generation. Maybe they can use it to delay the next glaciation.

V

edit: added a space. We all need space.

VV

GeoffBeacon

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2013, 02:36:50 PM »
Thanks everybody,

I am not a supporter of coal fired power stations and I understand what Vergent says:

Quote
So now we are using 69.6kJ per mole, about 30% of the power output of the power plant, to sequester the carbon.
A 30% loss only increases the price of the electricity by about 50%. A sensible carbon tax of say $1000 per tonne of CO2e would easily pay for the loss of power.

Actually my interest is in the question:

Quote
But what if we did want to take 1,000 gigatonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere?
I don't really know the answer - although I would hope that at $1000 per tonne CO2e some answers would come forward. Actually, I had in mind fueling power stations with biomass and then sequestering the carbon but I must admit that the answers given here give me pause for thought.  I will rethink the proposals I made in a light-hearted article, I wrote on this here:

http://www.yorkmix.com/opinion/how-drax-could-be-the-greenest-machine-in-the-world/

Would anything like this be helpful.

Vergent. It did occurred to me as well that burying biomass might work. What about sinking it in the deep ocean?  Every time I see one of those big rolls of wheat straw I wonder if that were sunk would it sequester 3 tonnes of CO2e?

Clutching at straws?

Please can someone suggest how we could take 1000 gigatonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere. I'd like to know if anyone has a clue.

I don't.

P.S. I'm not particularly impressed by the "how many times round the world arguments".  If the rail trucks go 20 times round the world, the bulk carriers wouldn't cross the Pacific. I estimate that the one billion cars in the world would circle the Earth 100 times.
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TerryM

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2013, 03:41:42 PM »
Geoff


The last time sequestering CO2 came up I had asked my friend from Babcock Wilcox about the possibilities. His response was that the scheme then being discussed would work and had proven itself in the lab. The problem was/is that no one would buy the technology as it substantially reduced the efficiency of the plant.
They tried to sell it all over the globe but had no takers. His response to my prodding could best be summarized in Vergent's short answer (No)
Terry

GeoffBeacon

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2013, 05:21:43 PM »
Terry

Thanks.

Please ask your friend if they would have any takers at $1000 per tonne CO2e.

Or even $100 dollars a tonne CO2e.

At what price would he expect takers?

Geoff
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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2013, 07:27:32 PM »
I have nothing to contribute to the main question "Will carbon capture and storage work? I do not know the science.

I do feel that "carbon capture proposals" are driven by the same motivation as "geo-engineering proposals". We are desperately trying to find a solution to CO2 emissions that does not require us to actually reduce these emissions. We want to continue the fossil fuel economic engine that has created the industrial revolution and the wealth of our civilization.

This discussion is very dangerous as it delays the absolutely necessary actions to reduce and ultimately eliminate CO2 emissions.

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2013, 07:39:05 PM »
As soon as [next year or next decade?, I wish!] we stop drilling oil and gas wells, breeding cows, planting rice and pumping oil and gas, it would serve Gaia (for lack of another term) for us to practice carbon sequestration to reduce atmospheric CO2 back to 350 ppm.  It will likely be something "easy" like burying sugarcane stalks, but the technological details still need to be worked out.
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GeoffBeacon

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2013, 08:46:35 PM »
Tor

I agree.

Shared Humanity

So you think a carbon price of $1000 per tonne of CO2e is "desperately trying to find a solution to CO2 emissions that does not require us to actually reduce these emissions". It would absolutely change the way we live.

I do not often repeat my poems in places like this but I've just found this one looking for some material for a gig tomorrow:

Quote
Kill the world as little as you can
Don't drive a car,
Don't fly in planes
And leave that corned beef in the can,

Kill the world as little as you're able
Don't build with bricks
Don't build with steel
And eat the horse that's living in your stable.

Don't kill the world by rushing all the time
Gaze at the stars
Breathe in the air
Slow down your clock and we'll be fine

I am founder of the http://nomileshighclub.org.uk and http://greenrationbook.org.uk .

Sadly neither of these achieved what we wanted. I cant' even get "the_carbon_footprint_of_beef" on Wikipedia (I stupidly mentioned the Green Ration Book). Academics pontificate about the carbon footprint there methodology but tell you almost nothing. And the moderator at Wikipedia has taken off my comment about the large amount of embodied carbon in the "flagship green building project", BedZED. I wouldn't have minded him deleting the reference to the GRB but the rest of the comment went too.

Don't tell me I am "desperately trying to find a solution to CO2 emissions that does not require us to actually reduce these emissions".

(I do feel better after that).

But what do you propose for reducing CO2 in the atmosphere by 1000 gigatonnes?

P.S. I wish I had not put Google Ads on the Green Ration Book but I will give the small proceeds to another group I founded The Pollution Tax Association, we have been paying a small "carbon tax" to charity since 1992.

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2013, 10:34:08 PM »
But what do you propose for reducing CO2 in the atmosphere by 1000 gigatonnes?


Geologic time. Seriously.

We've made our bed, now we must lay in it. Our lack of foresight will not be cured by applying the same technologies/lack of foresight that got us into this mess. Geoengineering is great in science fiction, but we simply don't have the wisdom to implement it without further soiling the nest. Unknown unknowns, and all that.

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2013, 11:04:54 PM »
Quote
Vergent. It did occurred to me as well that burying biomass might work. What about sinking it in the deep ocean?  Every time I see one of those big rolls of wheat straw I wonder if that were sunk would it sequester 3 tonnes of CO2e?

Dumping biomass in the ocean is not sequestering it. It will rot and turn back into CO2. The only way to sequester carbon is bury it in solid or stable liquid form(oil). We could back-fill the oil wells with waste oil. We can bury cellulose wastes from crops. It would take a huge effort to reach 1000GT at 10$/ton that would cost 10 trillion$, like the USA national debt.

Vergent

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2013, 11:25:19 PM »
But what do you propose for reducing CO2 in the atmosphere by 1000 gigatonnes?

Hi Geoff,

How fast do you want to remove all that C02? May I suggest about 33.33 gigatons / yr as a reasonable goal (30 years to remove 1,000 GT C02)? That's to have a 50/50 chance of staying below 450 ppm atmospheric C02.

This is our current CO2 input to the climate system from fossil fuel combustion, neglecting the effects of thawing permafrost, methane clathrates, land-use changes, etc.

Each tree sequesters about 48 pounds (say 20 kg) of C02 per year.

33.33 billion tonnes / 20 kg / tree / yr = 1.5 x 1012 additional trees.

Say 50,000 trees per square kilometer of forest. That's 30 million km2, or just 10x larger than all of Australia.  ::)

Have I mentioned that this is not feasible? If you stretch the time frame to 300 years, and convert an Australian sized land mass to forest (w/o incurring any net transient C02 emissions), then it might work. But Greenland and the WAIS will be melted by then. And lot's of East Antarctica too.

Another approach to this calculation appears here: (they also say it can't work)

http://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica%20fact%20file/science/carbon_offsetting_tree_planting.htm

So no, there is no substitute for cutting carbon emissions from fossil fuels if we want to preserve a livable climate. If fact we're doing the opposite right now by chopping down the rain forest in the Amazon and Indonesia. We euphemistically call this 'Land Use' changes. :P
« Last Edit: August 09, 2013, 11:49:25 PM by Artful Dodger »
Cheers!
Lodger

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2013, 02:34:48 PM »
Vergent

Quote
Dumping biomass in the ocean is not sequestering it. It will rot and turn back into CO2.
... but (I guess) the CO2 won't surface from 5000 metres down  for several thousand years.
Longer if the biomass were torrified.


Artful Doger

Quote
there is no substitute for cutting carbon emissions from fossil fuels if we want to preserve a livable climate

Agreed. Necessary but not sufficient.

Let me give my own calculation. I'm doing it while I write this.

Now, at 12.31pm I don't know the answer.

Willow coppice yields 10 tonnes per hectare per year. That's about 5 tonne C and 15 tonnes CO2.

That is 1500 tonnes CO2 per square kilometer.

Consider removing 10 gigatonnes a year. That needs 6,666,667 square kilometers (a bit less than the size of Australia). That's about 4.5% of the worlds land surface or 15% to remove 33 gigatonnes per year.

13.24pm (after interruptions) Is that roughly correct?

We need not, of course, bury all the biomass in the sea (or land) straight away. We can build with wood rather than steel or concrete & etc. Make wooden cycles with rubber tyres. Here's a small beginning: http://www.andbike.cc/cycling-and-bike-gear/a-week-with-a-bamboo-bike/

Do you really believe that the only thing we need to do is stop burning fossil fuels?

If not what other big thing can we do?


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GeoffBeacon

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2013, 02:54:20 PM »
Of course in calculations involving tree planting, we should also consider their albedo effect. Trees are not always as good for climate as most of us imagine.
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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2013, 03:09:03 PM »
Of course in calculations involving tree planting, we should also consider their albedo effect. Trees are not always as good for climate as most of us imagine.

Also you have to consider the amount of water it will take to make the trees grow to maturity.  In certain areas that already depleting their aquifers, placing another demand for water may be counterproductive.
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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2013, 05:17:14 PM »
Quote
Do you really believe that the only thing we need to do is stop burning fossil fuels?

No, we also have to stop the gas and chemical companies pump their toxic waste into the ground and call it "fracking" the earth. It's a misspelling, take away the "r" and change the "a" to a "u". There is no way to undo the fracking. So, basically, we are fracked.

Quote
... but (I guess) the CO2 won't surface from 5000 metres down  for several thousand years.

No friend of the Earth would consider for an instant dumping gigatons of biomass into the ocean. What could possibly go wrong?

Vergent

Artful Dodger

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2013, 11:27:44 PM »
Do you really believe that the only thing we need to do is stop burning fossil fuels?
If not what other big thing can we do?
Hi Geoff,

Quick note before I head out for my 100 km bike ride ;)

If we are able to stop burning fossil fuels, it will be BECAUSE we did all the other things!  8)

No big things are required. Recall that the O2 in Earth's atmosphere was put there by single celled prokaryotic organisms. They didn't even need a nucleus to change the World!

No, it's every one doing a little bit, and nobody consuming extreme amounts, that can save us from climate change.

So signing off and headed out to do my little bit!
Cheers!
Lodger

Chuck Yokota

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2013, 05:38:16 PM »
Biomass needs to be converted into a more inert form before it is sequestered, or decomposition will return it quickly to the atmosphere.  Charcoal production seems to me to be the best means of doing this; it can be produced locally by lower-tech means, using the energy of the volatiles given off to power the process with useful amounts of excess energy.  No need to bury it thousands of feet deep, charcoal will remain for at least centuries scattered in the soil, and improves the productivity of many soils - see Terra Preta.

But I agree that we need to stop burning fossil fuels in order to make any headway against CO2 buildup in the atmosphere.

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #25 on: September 07, 2013, 04:16:12 AM »
Biomass needs to be converted into a more inert form before it is sequestered, or decomposition will return it quickly to the atmosphere.  Charcoal production seems to me to be the best means of doing this; it can be produced locally by lower-tech means, using the energy of the volatiles given off to power the process with useful amounts of excess energy.  No need to bury it thousands of feet deep, charcoal will remain for at least centuries scattered in the soil, and improves the productivity of many soils - see Terra Preta.

But I agree that we need to stop burning fossil fuels in order to make any headway against CO2 buildup in the atmosphere.

Chuck,

Convert biomass to charcoal, where have i heard this before?

http://www.itswild.org/sites/default/files/trees.pdf

And we tried it in the 18th and 19th centuries. The problem is once you have the charcoal. why would you bury money?

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Jim Hunt

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #26 on: September 07, 2013, 02:32:17 PM »

Convert biomass to charcoal, where have i heard this before?

See also the "biochar" thread.

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once you have the charcoal. why would you bury money?

Because another source of energy is "cheaper"?
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #27 on: September 07, 2013, 05:20:49 PM »

Convert biomass to charcoal, where have i heard this before?

See also the "biochar" thread.

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once you have the charcoal. why would you bury money?

Because another source of energy is "cheaper"?

Cheaper than free? Its from a renewable source. Further, it costs money to bury it, although, this may be the cheapest way to sequester carbon, and if you go the extra mile and activate the charcoal, you can use it to suck up all the toxic chemicals we have put in the environment.

But, this makes no sense while we are still burning coal. Instead of burning coal, we can burn biochar. But to mine coal and bury charcoal at the same time makes no sense.

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wili

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #28 on: September 08, 2013, 04:12:30 AM »

Climate Change’s Silver Bullet? Our Interview With One Of The World’s Top Geoengineering Scholars

 
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  Since coming to Australia almost two months ago I’ve heard about Clive Hamilton in the process of reporting just about every story I’ve done. Then I picked up his new book Earthmasters: The Dawn of the Age of Climate Engineering and now I see what all the fuss is about.

    In all of the debates over how to address climate change, climate engineering — or geoengineering — is among the most contentious. It involves large-scale manipulation of the Earth’s climate using grand technological interventions, such as fertilizing the oceans with iron to absorb carbon dioxide or releasing sulfur into the atmosphere to reduce radiation. While its proponents call geoengineering a silver bullet for our climate woes, its skeptics are far more critical. Joe Romm, for one, likens geoengineering to a dangerous course of chemotherapy and radiation to treat a condition curable through diet and exercise — or, in this case, emissions reduction.

    According to the cover of Hamilton’s new book, “The potential risks are enormous. It is messing with nature on a scale we’ve never seen before, and it’s attracting a flood of interest from scientists, venture capitalists and oil companies.
...

Why conservative think tanks like The American Enterprise Institute, The Cato Institute and even The Heartland Institute, which have for years worked hard to deny climate science and block all measures to reduce carbon emissions, have come out in favor of geoengineering.

What it shows us is that the debate over climate change and the role of the deniers is not about the science. They want to make it about the science because that gives it an air of legitimacy, but it’s really about fundamental cultural and political values. So if geoengineering is the solution then they’re happy to concede that there’s a problem because geoengineering is a big, technological, macho, system-justifying response to climate change. And that’s the kind of response that fits with their political orientation.

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/09/06/2522511/clive-hamilton-anthropocene/

Thanks to Graeme at POForums. Here are some trenchant comments from the good posters over there:

Disident:

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None of these monkeys has a clue about the science/reality behind any of the schemes and systems that are supposed to be modified. This is the same venture capital + "retards with initiative" that has gotten us into the current mess.

Lore:

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Much like the cigarette industry, [the ff interests] need to keep moving the ball downfield through a series of time outs. In losing the argument that indeed the planet is warming due to human caused reasons they are shifting to their next level of fallback positions.

"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JimD

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2013, 04:19:54 PM »
Norway abandons its CO2 capture and storage Mongstad project

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The outgoing government in Norway has buried much-vaunted plans to capture carbon dioxide and store it underground amid mounting costs and delays.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24183443
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Richard Rathbone

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #30 on: September 23, 2013, 03:36:04 AM »
As far as I know Sleipner is still running.

http://www.statoil.com/en/TechnologyInnovation/ProtectingTheEnvironment/CarboncaptureAndStorage/Pages/CarbonDioxideInjectionSleipnerVest.aspx

In most situations having a large enough carbon tax to drive sequestration will mean it pays to use renewables instead, but there a a few niches where high carbon taxes won't put all fossil fuel out of business and will be large enough to drive sequestration.

JimD

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2013, 11:02:21 PM »
Here is a little of the rest of the story about the new EPA rules on carbon emissions.

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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said Monday that forthcoming rules on greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants will not require them to have carbon capture and storage technology...
...McCarthy said that the technology is not a good fit for the power plants that are already in operation....
...It is not seen, at least at this stage, as an add-on that can be used on an existing facility. It doesn't seem like it's appropriate at this stage."

So it is only for new coal plants and the old ones are grandfathered in.  Does that fix things?  No wonder I am a cynic.  Bet the owners of coal plants are laughing all the way to the bank.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/23/carbon-capture-power-plants_n_3975848.html?ir=Green&ref=topbar
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Shared Humanity

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #32 on: September 24, 2013, 04:35:34 PM »
It is not all bad news. It is getting increasingly difficult to get approval and financing for new coal fired plants in the U.S.

http://www.rmi.org/RFGraph-age_capacity_operating_US_coal_gas_generators

JimD

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #33 on: September 24, 2013, 05:18:35 PM »
SH

But if we are going to have coal plants for some decades, as seems to be the case, wouldn't it be better to build new ones which were less polluting or retrofit the old ones to be less polluting?

If we don't make them fix the old ones and we don't require they build new ones that are less polluting to replace the old ones, we don't gain any ground at all.  It is not hard to keep those old plants running forever by just continually fixing them up.

Just seems to me this new EPA rules issue is just window dressing and will not functionally  change the status quo at all.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #34 on: September 24, 2013, 06:08:18 PM »
I just can't drop this I guess.  I really hate coal and I don't see that we are making much progress on the issue and these recent rules and interpretations by officials eat at me a bit.

Here is another point of emphasis on this coal plant issue that demonstrates why not applying the new rules to older plants means that there is no sense in having the rules at all.

Only 50 of the US's 6000 generating stations produce 33% of the US carbon dioxide emissions.  And 2% of the world total carbon emissions.

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The "50 dirtiest" power plants generated nearly 33 percent of the US power sector's carbon dioxide emissions in 2011 but only about 16 percent of its electricity.

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The top CO2-emitting power plant in the US – Power Plant Scherer in Juliette, Ga. – produced more than 21 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2011, a greater total than all of Maine. Ninety-eight of the nation’s 100 most-polluting power plants in terms of total carbon dioxide emissions are coal plants, the study found.

Note that the article was written before the guidance came out on existing plants being exempt from the new rules.

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The administration’s goal is to have power plant emissions regulations in place by 2015, and the new study provides a window into which plants could face steep federal fines unless they slash emissions or close.

Exempt.  Not going to happen.  Lobbyists anyone?  One of the reasons there has been shrinking demand for coal in the US is that power plants were drawing down their stockpiles of coal.  Could it have partly been due to their being careful on purchases until the impact and application of these new EPA rules were worked out?  Now that the companies know that the rules will not apply to existing plants and that they will not have to shut many of them down they can go back to normal levels of stockpiling.  I just don't see evidence that the current administration is even moderately concerned with AGW.  Greenwash windowdressing.

http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2013/0910/50-dirtiest-US-power-plants-emit-more-greenhouse-gases-than-South-Korea
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

ritter

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Re: Will carbon capture and storage work?
« Reply #35 on: September 24, 2013, 08:14:36 PM »
I just don't see evidence that the current administration is even moderately concerned with AGW. 
But, but, but.... They released a climate action plan!  ::)

No joking matter. I don't think anyone in government really has a clue what to do about this (and many up there don't even see global warming as an issue). Restrict our energy and you do risk tanking (or at least vastly altering) our economy and "non-negotiable" way of life. No administration wants that as their legacy. Nothing meaningful will be done.