Photo via AMNH
You all know how we feel about CCS, the technology that will somehow miraculously provide the world with so-called 'clean coal' (in reality, it provides Democrats with a way to appease the coal industry in the increasingly unlikely event of clean energy reform). Well, along with the host of other problems it has -- it's ridiculously expensive, nobody wants the CO2 buried anywhere near them, etc -- a new report has found that we're going to need some 5 to 20 times the amount of space underground once thought to store it. Which makes it a "profoundly non-feasible" solution for storing carbon.Climate Progress has just parsed a "new study in the Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, "Sequestering carbon dioxide in a closed underground volume," by Christene Ehlig-Economides, professor of energy engineering at Texas A&M;, and Michael Economides, professor of chemical engineering at University of Houston." And CP points to a key passage:
Published reports on the potential for sequestration fail to address the necessity of storing CO2 in a closed system. Our calculations suggest that the volume of liquid or supercritical CO2 to be disposed cannot exceed more than about 1% of pore space. This will require from 5 to 20 times more underground reservoir volume than has been envisioned by many, and it renders geologic sequestration of CO2 a profoundly non-feasible option for the management of CO2 emissions.Which essentially means that any area allotted to storing the liquid carbon captured from, say, a coal plant's emissions, will have to be 5 to 20 times bigger! Basically, we're going to need a ridiculous amount of space to bury the captured carbon. How much space, you ask, for, say, that commercial coal-fired power plant? Oh, just a storage are the size of a small US state! It's true--here's the report's conclusion:
In applying this to a commercial power plant the findings suggest that for a small number of wells the areal extent of the reservoir would be enormous, the size of a small US state. Conversely, for more moderate size reservoirs, still the size of Alaska's Prudhoe Bay reservoir, and with moderate permeability there would be a need for hundreds of wells. Neither of these bodes well for geological CO2 sequestration and the findings of this work clearly suggest that it is not a practical means to provide any substantive reduction in CO2 emissions, although it has been repeatedly presented as such by others.As if we needed any more evidence suggesting clean coal is bunk. But wait -- if we could just round up a Rhode Island for every coal plant in the nation, and we'd be emissions free!
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