Wednesday, 25 February 2009

cart before the horse: I

National Grid to pipe carbon dioxide emissions under North Sea
The company is planning to develop a £2bn transport and storage network so it can collect carbon and store it overseas.

Let’s get things straight: the plan is to extract C02 directly where it is emitted, e.g. a coal fired power station; then collect and compress it so it becomes liquid and pump it into old oil or gas wells, for example under the North Sea, not exactly overseas, where it shall remain forever, at least for 200 to 10,000 years, it is hoped; devil may care.

The additional cost per ton of CO2 is estimated at $50 to $100 for the above process which at the same time reduces the efficiency of the coal fired power plant by approximately 40%. A ton of coal when burned emits between 2.6 to 3.2 tons of CO2 – the lower the quality the more CO2 - a ton of coal today costs around $80.

Easy to understand CCS (Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage), the Sequestration of CO2 is still in early stages. Of course, the prime location for new coal fired power plants will be where the oil or coal came from, but even then those cavities offer limited volumes and capacities. 30 or 40 years later our children will have to start all over again. It will double or triple the cost of coal and ruin the efficiency of the plant which in return will have a hard time meeting sustainability.

Alternative energy generation is challenging but so is trying to hang on to old cart horses.

Carpe diem!


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