Sequestering CO2

While it may not be the most virulent of the greenhouse gases, CO2 certainly gets is share of attention as the most common and well-recognized global warming villain. A potential CO2 antidote, “sequestration” (capturing CO2 from smoke stacks, recompressing it, and pumping it into porous rock strata thousands of feet underground), is about to be tried in a big way at a coal-fired power plant in West Virginia. A September 22, NYTimes article explains.

For at least an generation, now, the petroleum industry has known about and occasionally practiced the first cousin of sequestration – injecting CO2 into oil-bearing rock formations to enhance the recovery of tightly bound petroleum liquids. Occasionally, because the technology details aren’t suitable in every case, and much more often because the economics of oil production and downstream pricing won’t support the fairly expensive process.

Sequestration is a safe and effective way of disposing of CO2. Whether it can be affordable is another question. The initial estimate isn’t encouraging, if the article is correct that disposing of the CO2 will consume 15 to 30 percent of the energy gained from burning the coal that produced it. Perhaps the West Virginia test can begin to answer the feasibility questions and point us toward a practical answer.

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One Response to “Sequestering CO2”

  1. Sequestering CO2 – Part 2 « The Alternative Energy Page Says:

    […] The Alternative Energy Page An Outsider’s View the Science and Public Policy of Wind, Solar, Ethanol and Other Alternative Sources « Sequestering CO2 […]

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