Friday, June 23, 2006

Coal

An interesting op-ed on the pros and cons (mostly cons) of coal and its technologies, in the NY Times: Our Black Future by Jeff Goodell.

One interesting sidebit: while I know carbon sequestration had the potential to leak CO2 and threaten life, I didn't realize it had already once happened:
In 1986, at Lake Nyos in Cameroon, 300,000 tons of naturally occurring carbon dioxide that had been trapped in the lake suddenly rose to the surface and formed a misty cloud, suffocating 1,700 people.

1 comment:

Thomas Palm said...

After the big disaster in Nyos people have been trying to siphon off CO2 so it doesn't repeat. (It is continously being added from volcanic activity below the lake). I saw a documentary and the pictures were dramatic. There were so much CO2 solved in the water at the bottom that as it rose and the pressure decreased it relaeased, if I recall correcly, 9 liters of CO2 for every liter of water.

Unfortunately the same lake also threatens to cause a more conventional disaster. It is locate high on a mountain and one side is a fairly thin, crumbling wall of rock that could collapse, causing a gigantic flooding in the area below.