A licence to organise crime
Carbon sequestration is just a license to organise crime. Leaks could be both highly profitable and hard to detect.
A Danish climate scientist has published a paper criticising carbon sequestration - the idea of dealing with CO2 emissions by stuffing the greenhouse gas away into underground or deep-sea storage where it can't affect the atmosphere. Professor Gary Shaffer of the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen was already …
Deferring a problem is not in any way dealing with the problem.
Even if the reservoirs used were pretty leak proof we would still use them all up eventually and the human race has shown in the past that it can't really be trusted to plan for future problems. I suspect that what would happen is that we would sweep the carbon under the carpet all the while promising to research how to deal with it before the reservoirs fill up. "Long before the reservoirs are filled", the boffins would say, "we will have worked out ways to exist without creating carbon emissions and we will have worked out how to safely dispose of the stored carbon." Except of course we won't. Once the carbon is being stored you can bet that there will be no funding for further research since the problem will have been "solved" so we can worry about it later. Then a short time before the reservoirs are full we'll all start to panic.
Oil & coal are examples of stable carbon sequestration so do the fossil fuel lobby really expects everyone to believe that they can use energy to extract the fossil fuels and return the carbon to a stable sequestered state and somehow not have a net energy deficit? That's Paul Daniels!
Either it is a lie or the fossil fuel lobby have no intention of storing the carbon in a permanently stable form (as the prof purports).
Isn't this all just a market thing?
Buy and sell, quotas, listed companies, futures?
It's a complete sham and only there to make it look like something is being done when all that really happens is people doing business andthe carbon issue can go a nd fuck itself..
Here is why: Imagine you have to pay for a right to emit CO2. It's costly, so you know today you will not be able to pay for it once limits are fully in force. What do you do? You go to your governemnt and seek help. No direct subsidy allowed in EU. What then? Let's not emit CO2. But the green energy is much costly, especially in conmparision to fossil fuels. The solution? Make fossil fuel more costly than a green generation.
How? Well, start a nation- or EU-wide mandatory scheme which is very expensive for generating companies. CO2 storage is very complex and energy hungry. Any of 3 major CCS methods takes about 40% (!!!) of energy produced by a generation plant to take CO2 off the exhaust and store it somehow, probably in a liquified form. There are estimates saying that converting one plant to CCS will be 1 billion pounds. That's direct costs, only, I bet. So total costs will be HUGE.
Energy tariffs are based on cost so the prices will have to reflect the cost sooner or later. And there you go. Green becomes cheaper than fossil. That's how you subsidize green industry and let the old fossil industry live in the transition period. Expect lots of FUD. The time is now.
I think CO2 storage is a worse issue than nuclear.
Nuclear sites are protected, flagged as irradiated and have been, I hope, reasonably secured against leakage.
Whereas carbon storage will be anywhere, under any pretext, and will leak with comparative ease. Also, it is not deadly unless one breathes no oxygen at all, so leaking CO2 is not the thing one will call 911 for. Heck, it'll probably go undetected without special sensors in place.
Unless there is a massive leak that fills a basin and kills all breathing creatures in it so somebody just has to notice, there will be absolutely no warning or even worry over it.
Of course, once it has escaped into the atmosphere and causes a notable increase in temperatures, then there will be panic - but largely too late.
Nuclear waste does not leak like that, and is not a cause for global warming. On top of that, nuclear waste may take millenia before becoming harmless, but in the end, it does become harmless.
in comparing CO2 sequestration with nuclear waste disposal. Vegetation can use the CO2 and turn it into sugar and oxygen. AFAIK, nothing can do likewise with nuclear waste. So perhaps the solution (If CO2 sequestration becomes an issue) is to maintain a large area of dense vegetation around any CO2 sequestration dumping grounds so that the leaks can be dealt with naturally. It won't hurt the plants. In fact, they'd probably like it.
I can do something with all that nuclear waste. I can build an buntload of radioelectric generators. Though thier output will diminish as the radioactivity of the material decreases, they will still produce some useful power. If there is so much nuclear waste as to be such an unbelievably TERRIBLE burden on humanity for MILLIONS of years, then there is MILLIONS Of years worth of electricity to reap.
Now, the kind of waste that sits around for millions of years doesn't exactly pump out huge amounts of power, but at the same time, it degrades the REGs at a slower pace too.
There is ALL SORTS of useful stuff you can do with nuclear waste, but people are jsut so damned terrified of it that burying it is less politically damaging.
Anyone who knows a damned thing about the science behind radioactive materials doesn’t fear any that has a half life of more than a year. RESPECT those materials, of course. Treat them as what they are: deadly power sources that need proper handling. Still, we use terribly chemicals every single day in other industrial processes that are hundreds of thousands of times more deadly than any radioactive waste.
My roommate is an Environmental technologist. If there’s an oil spill, chemical spill, or pretty much anything else that requires samples of soil, air, water or what-have-you to be tested, he’s the guy to call. They store at any of their facilities enough chemicals to wipe out a good sized city if you know what you were doing. In fact, the hardest part of their job is disposing of the chemicals after they are done using them for testing samples, because if you don’t watch what you are doing, you end up creating things like nerve gas.
(In fact, a noob at my buddy’s work accidentally created a nerve gas used in WWI at the office one day, and caused the evacuation of a multi-block radius.) These aren’t facilities on the edge of town or out in the bush. This is in the middle of a metro of a million people, and no one blinks an eye or cares.
Mention for a single second that the University five blocks away has a small reactor, and a reasonable amount of radioactive material on hand, and people go apeshit bananas. I really wish that people who are terrified of the radioactive boogyman would shut up and learn some bloody science.
Maybe then we could stop doing dumb things like burning coal for fuel. Coal which incidentally pumps more radioactive material into the atmosphere in a year than a nuclear reactor will process in its lifetime.
CO2 might be great for plants…to a point. Do remember they do breathe oxygen when it’s dark. I should also point out that even if you are a carbon denier who can’t wrap their mind around the fact that increased CO2 will absolutely ruin the planet…us poor pathetic humans can only tolerate so much of it in our atmosphere before we start showing direct ill effects.
More CO2 does not mean more photosynthesis. CO2 isn’t the limiting factor behind photosynthesis. Available nutrients are. Well, that, and sunlight.
So, nuke plants/ HELL YES. Get ‘em online. We can reprocess the waste, or build an enormous array of REGs to use the waste until it is no more. Were science allowed to make the policy on this, not fear mongers and the fossil fuel industry, we wouldn’t have energy concerns at all.
Dave as a nuclear engineer I love your thoughts on it. BUT you need to get your thoughts on CO2 correct. It is NOT the CO2 or water vapor GHGs that causes the warming. It is the extra added energy photons that are absorbed and delayed that cause the warming. If all the incoming photons are already delayed to produce our normal 32C of GHE warming,(& we still have excess water vapor in the ocean) then there are NO more photons available to cause more warming if you add more excess GHGs to the air. This is why when it rains and the number of GHG water vapor molecules increases you do not get any extra warming. The energy photons are limiting, not the amount of GHGs. The IPCC Climate Scientists can't do the science correctly.
It follows then that if there is already excess CO2 in the air, then it doesn't matter if we add more. It will not add to the warming. Extra CO2 is not a problem. The professor is a nut case.
I wasn't really going into the GHG argument, as that's far over my head, but rather into the "dealing with CO2 leaks" part in a practical manner as compared to radioactive waste. I guess my true point was that a leaking radioactive waste dump is probably a bad thing in most all cases, since, as I understand it, the stuff does Bad Things(tm) for most living organisms. But there's an entire Kingdom of Living Things (namely, plants) that would thrive around a leaking CO2 dumping facility, and could turn that leaking CO2 into something that the rest of us would benefit from. So compared to a leaking radioactive dump, it's doesn't seem to be that big of a deal.
I take your point, but my original point was that a leaking CO2 dumping ground is not really that big of a deal compared to a leaking nuke waste dumping ground. Vegetation will use the CO2 that leaks out and "neutralize" it, but I don't know of any natural process that could do the same for the leaked nuke waste. So when the original poster was claiming that storing CO2 was as "dangerous" as storing nuke waste, he was being a bit melodramatic I think.
Radioactive waste /might/ cause a few interesting mutations. Maybe. Depending on the waste.
CO2 /might/ be beneficial to some plants. Maybe. If it's in low enough quantities.
If a /lot/ of the really bad radioactive waste (from a disposal site)was put in one place and leaked, it would cause a large amount of devastation in a /very/ confined area. We are talking a few dozen, or maybe a couple hundred meters here. So your disposal site leaks, and you kill everything for a hundred meters.
If your giant underground storage tank of CO2 suddenly escapes, you can kill every living thing for dozens of kilometres. Not just people, but plants too. Those plants, at night, require oxygen to survive. Admittedly, it takes a stupid amount of CO2 to kill a plant, but you most certainly can kill a plant with CO2. Non plants are basically boned.
Radioactive material isn’t good for any living being, but can be used in a productive fashion by humanity.
I think it is very fair to say that the leak OF A STORAGE FACILITY is equally bad. Remember what we’re talking about here. Storage facilities. We are not talking Chernobyl, or an atomic weapon where several pounds of highly radioactive and a few tonnes of marginally radioactive material are blow up and spread across a wide area, giving everything for hundreds of kilometres new and exotic cancers.
We’re talking about a gigantic cement hole in the ground that is monitored religiously developing a crack. Even if you just dumped all this stuff in a cave, provided you were remotely intelligent and designed your storage facility to not be capable of leaking wasted into the watershed, you’re golden for millennia.
Let me tell you how to store radioactive waste so you don’t actually have to /care/ about leaks:
Drill a very large hole as far down into the bedrock as you can. Fill with waste. Cover with cement. This is significantly below any part of the water table, and won’t be spreading or what have you. The cement plug might crack or erode, but there should be the better part of a kilometre worth of Other Stuff between your very small hole of radioactive wastes and the water table. Radioactive waste doesn’t “leak out.” It doesn’t ooze, drip or mix with the atmosphere. It’s METAL. It sits there and emits whatever form radiation that particular substance emits and otherwise doesn’t move.
CO2 is a gas: to store it in a carbon capture scenario, you are storing it at several times atmospheric pressure. One tiny crack in that storage container, (be it geological or otherwise,) and the pressure differential will evacuate all your stored CO2 very quickly. It will then spread: a cloud of suffocating death that will wipe out anything that requires oxygen for X distance around, where X is the result of a formula taking into account the amount of pressure the original deposit was under, the size of the hole (and how much the evacuating gasses erode the hole as they escape,) the topology of the area and the amount of CO2 stored at that location.
If you want to know how deadly CO2 can be to large areas, please ring up the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and arrange to spend some time talking with a volcanologist. They will set you straight.
A big lump of radioactive material, even if it is sitting in a field somewhere is a slow-acting threat to which there is plenty of time to respond, it is /incredibly/ localised, and a fantastically easy problem to solve.
A gigatonne of CO2 under thirty atmospheres of pressure escaping through a hole the size of a fridge is the ecological equivalent of a multi-kilometer carpet bomb.
you're getting there, but still talking about vastly different quantities. Which weighs more - a gigatonne of CO2 or a gigatonne of nuclear waste?
Surely a gigatonne of CO2 would be bad for the surrounding area for a short while. But assuming the designers had brains and situated the storage facility in a place with somewhat prevailing winds (to disperse any leakages), in a relatively shortish time the CO2 will disperse into the wider atmosphere and no longer be much of a problem, and continuing dispersion will reduce the problem as time progresses. However, if a "gigatonne" of nuclear waste escapes into the atmosphere (say, one of your shafts getting being blown up by "terrists" before it's capped), then you have radioactive contamination over a wide spread area that's (for a while) only going to get worse as the waste disperses.
Come to think of it, if you dropped a gigatonne of pretty much ANYTHING on a small area, it will be bad for that area. Even water.
I am pretty sure there isn't much more than a few gigatons of "radioactive waste" in this whole solar system. We produce something like 25 gigatons of CO2 per year. You are doing nothing but spreading FUD. All of humanity’s radioactive waste to date would be a small fraction of a gigaton, and it could be contained cheaply. “Leaks” of this material are leaks in the range of GRAMS. Not tons. We are talking the possibility of maybe up to a kilogram of material breaching containment.
Carbon sequestration is a completely different story. In that scenario we are not talking about a few kilos of CO2 escaping, we are talking about multiple gigatons of pressurised gas.
It’s a question of scale. One gram of CO2 is far less deadly than one gram of radioactive waste. There are however quite literally ORDERS OF MAGNATUDE of difference between the sheer amount not only produced each year but available for total extraction and consumption.
I should also point out that we can and to extract significantly more energy, gram for gram, from radioactive sources than from carbon sources.
How damaging a material is GRAM FOR GRAM isn’t relevant when the material you are trying to make into a boogyman, if all lumped into ONE BIG PILE couldn’t damage a circle more than 100km in radius. All of the radioactive material we have available. Try to understand that. All of it, in a giant pile, in a field, and you still aren’t doing more damage than wrecking a small oil tanker on a beach.
Carbon sequestration? Natural disaster waiting to happen. Nuclear reactors combined with REGs, fuel reconditioning and a controlled decommissioning process? Clean, safe energy with a manageable environmental footprint.
Learn some science please before trolling.
but you avoided my point - what happens when a large-ish amount of radioactive waste becomes airborne in a manner similar to the escaping CO2? Or for that matter, leaks into the local water table?
Do I think storing CO2 in underground caverns is a stupid idea? Yep, I do. But to claim that it's more dangerous than storing nuclear waste is daft. As to your accusation of FUD, why would I do so? I have no horse in this race, I'm just a casual observer.
Where exactly did you mention the idea that the radioactive material would become airborne? This is about "leaks" of stored waste. Radioactive material doesn't become airborn unless you blow it up. STORED radioactive material all the more so. It might become exposed to hte environment, but I fail to see how radioactive material in a storage depot ever becomes airborne. So that's not avoiding anything you said at all; you have not once brought this up as an airborne contaminant before this.
If I store CO2 in an underground cavern and it leaks, it's horrifically dangeros. If I store radioactive material in a cavern, and it leaks...then a very small area is affected.
*IF* radioactive material is blown up and becomes "airborne," then any area covered in a sufficient amount of it may experience a spate of new and exotic cancers. A stupendous amount of t it becoming airborne may kill outright if it is the right kind of radioactive material. (Gamma emitting.)
The chances of that are tremendously slim, and the damage would still be remarkably localised. A gigaton of CO2 espacing is still far more dangerous than a small dirty bomb. And let’s not play game shere, we aren’t talking about a gigaton of radioactive material, no matter how much you want to try to compare radioactive wastes to CO2 gram for gram. We’re talking about a cavern full of CO2 versus the infinitesimal chance that some dude is going to nick a bunch of gamma emitting radioactive waste (without killing himself) and then build a dirty bomb out of it.
Let me tell you how it works: if he build a dirty bomb, then unless he can get it to detonate at 1700 feet, the spread will be crap. It *might* contaminate a couple of blocks if detonated at ground level with a powerful enough explosive. It won’t do ANYTHING if detonated much above 1700 feet because the material will be spread too thin to do more than cause a few cancers. You *aren’t* going to build a nuclear bomb out of any of this stuff, because that kind of fuel gets burned in the reactors.
CO2 on the other hand is viewed by people such as yourself to be relatively harmless, and so in the real world some yonk will try to compress 100 gigatons of the stuff into a salt mine. Eventually a crack will form and you will have a small province WIPED OUT.
Radioactive material is, gram for gram more deadly than CO2. When talking about LONG TERM STORAGE of these materials however, Radioactive materials are infinitely safer than carbon sequestration.
Storing nuclear waste: we need to store quite small amounts, and it gets less dangerous over time.
Carbon sequestration: we need to store absolutely enormous amounts, and it is dangerous essentially for ever.
Storing nuclear waste: EVIL AND BAD, because it's NUCLEAR and anything NUCLEAR is BAD AND EVIL, and certainly NOT GREEN.
Carbon sequestration: GOOD, because it is GREEN (er, how?) and GREEN IS GOOD.
>>> Carbon sequestration 'as bad as nuclear waste'
> Not too bad then.
I think we should all wish it was only that bad, but the problem is carbon storage requires physically immense containers, nuclear doesn't.
But if it leaks; you can detect nuclear waste leaking IFF it's problematic (still radioactive), with Geiger counters. If stored CO2 leaks, I expect it would be really hard to detect.
Population control, returning land to nature, and planting on a large scale will lower CO2 levels fast and doesn't require half assed schemes that are just putting a problem off. Population control will also solve a great deal of other problems as a nice little side.
Personally I would like to see a requirement for everyone living off of benefits to be required to be on long term contraceptives. Stop those who don't contrivute breeding on the state, this would also guarantee the "Child Poverty" statistics would go down.
PS: Actually I don't believe the bulk of the “Child Poverty” in the UK;-
Primarily, it is almost all due to the parents breeding beyond their means, so giving them more money just mean they breed more.
Secondly the fact that most of the rules used for measuring poverty in the UK are ridiculous. One I saw used children who didn't have a play-station, computer and TV in their bedroom as a measure of poverty!
All those mean are: a) their not as wealthy as some others, but that will always be true no matter how much money you give them, or b) their parents have a clue and decided to control access to the toys.
So, the first step is world-wide domination, so we can enforce our rules on who lives and who dies. Then, we just to decide on the criteria for our systematic depopulation procedures, whether based on age, race, geography, money, etc. The hardest part will be determining what method to use for the depopulation procedures.
The idea (shown in one of the links to the article) of making fuel from CO2 and solar/wind power seems better. An oft-stated criticism of solar and wind power is that the supply is irregular, so you need backup power supplies and you have to sell off surplus production cheaply. Storing power made from solar or wind power is difficult, but if you instead produce fuel, the use of this fuel will be CO2 neutral. And, unlike biofuels, you can do this in arid regions such as deserts. You do need water to get the required hydrogen atoms, but the required water is much less than if you need to grow plants.
"All" that is needed is to bring down the cost of such production facilities.
In practice likely synfuel CO2 feedstocks are going to come from fossil fuel burning generated CO2, rather than CO2 extracted from the atmosphere due to the differences in costs of these 2 kinds of CO2. In theory, if synfuels were made from sustainably generated electricity and CO2 obtained from the atmosphere (e.g. by growing, harvesting and drying wood or algae), then yes use of synfuels would be carbon neutral.
But I think you will find the most efficient and cheap way to convert CO2 to fuels is to grow plants.
Pretty much anything else would use much more power than it was worth, even growing your fuel can be pointless. A good example of pointless is the conversion of Maze->Alcohol as done in the US, were the fossil fuels for farm machinery and transport added to vast amounts of fertilisers (made from oil/gas) makes for ~0% net return.
See www.dotyenergy. They dispute about every claim out there, and bio and algae fuels are some of them.
We either don't have the land, don't have the water to support the plants, or don't have the money.
As for power, you've not heard of Wind's biggest issue have you? what to do with over-generation and off-peak power have you? Wind farms are literally PAYING people to take the energy during certain hours of the day. It;s a huge cost. If someone would pay a rate even a penny per KW wind farms could become 30-50% cheaper to operate. An RFTS plant only needs 4-5 hours of power per day to make enough H2 through electrolysis to feed RFTS to make fuel all day long (and storing H2 under low pressure locally to be used is clean and safe, using it is cars is NOT!) They can switch over and take power from the grid in less than 1/60th of a second, becoming a perfect system for grid balancing overproduction, and making wind generation cheaper (balancing the output from a wind farm is very difficult and expensive).
Doty Energy, www.dotyenergy.com. They have the patents, they have the systems, this CAN be done, using technology we already have today. RFTS processing is a 70 year old tech. It's been energy expensive in the past, but with wind and solar, we can easily do it, and make gasoline for about $3-5 a gallon (pump price depending on market conditions, pipelining, etc)
Its clean, safe (by comparison to even a simple power plant), and all the fuel can be made here. Getting Wind from where we have it, into energy into your home is very difficult to do with predicability, and is very expensive. Getting fuel from where we have wind, very easy. Same with solar.
This is not vaporware, it;s simply a technology the big firms won't invest in (because they can't control it). Anyone can build a facility for a few tens of millions, and make enough fuel to support a very large town or small city. It can't be a true monopoly, and we can break both our dependence on foreign oil, and big energy monopolies.
Economists call shifting costs of the activities of an entrepreneur elsewhere externalities. Example: factory owner pollutes river, fisheries downstream pick up the cost. But now major carbon burners are rightly to be treated like the polluting factory which was made to clean up its act in the last century. As other commentators have pointed out, this won't prevent major carbon burners trying to shift costs elsewhere using the illusion of carbon capture and storage to move the genuine costs of their operation onto someone else's balance sheets.
Even if you grow trees and bury them to sequester carbon, you'll still need to make sure the carbon buried is more than that involved in growing, cutting down and burying the trees, so to the extent government research grants and subsidies are added to the CO2 into atmosphere externality subsidy, you'd still need to do the energy accounting carefully even if your carbon sequestration method were proven to be geologically stable over millennia.
The problem with carbon offsetting is that once you've converted a lump of coal into CO2 storing it requires a reoccurring cost.
A lump of coal will stay a lump of coal for billions of years without any help from anyone. Shoving CO2 into the ground or planting some trees is ultimately limited.
There is no way they can guarantee CO2 will stay under ground. But in the most part they (big business and politicians) don't care less. As long as people think it is a solution they don't care less whether the stuff ends up in the atmosphere in 50 years time. They won't have to worry.
When you fly somewhere and pay a quid to "offset" how on earth is your money going to compete with fossil fuels for storing the CO2? Is your quid going to guarantee the existence of a tree for 1 billion years? No. Anyone paying for "offsetting" is getting mugged.
...on Lake Nyos in Africa. The lake's composition proved to be a natural sequester of CO2. Then a geologic event disturbed the lake bottom...and uncorked the CO2 from the lake. About 1700 people and 3500 animals got it and got it hard--mostly in their sleep, since it happened at night. And CO2 is heavier than air, so it can persist and travel. If any CO2 sequestration site suffers a catastrophic leak or failure, you could have a repeat of the Lake Nyos incident.
Nuclear waste is not bad. The continued unjustified fear of nuclear power has got to stop.
He is right to say that carbon sequestration is a stupid, unproven idea and in no way a long term solution to carbon control. In the same breath he shouldn't be denegrating the only actually proven and stable energy technology that could save our skins from the runaway greenhouse fire if, and only if, people get over their idiotic misconceptions about nuclear power.
10 Nuclear Myths debunked:
"But I think you will find the most efficient and cheap way to convert CO2 to fuels is to grow plants."
I am well aware of this. But land suitable for growing plants should not be used for fuel production. My point was that you can use arid areas (such as deserts) for producing fuel from sunlight or wind.
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