Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Carbon Sequestration

Is there something I'm missing about carbon sequestration? I just don't see how people (besides the coal industry) can get interested in it. For example, here the EPA boasts about an experimental project that will sequester... 1 Mmt (1 million metric tonnes), and say that ultimately the site could hold 100 Bmt.

The world emits 70 Mmt/day. Per day. And the US emits about 7 Bmt/yr (2006). So this site would only work for about 14 years.

OK, so maybe there are several such sites possible around the US.

But beyond that, it seems to me the chances of an accidental release of the sequestered CO2 could be phenomenal. If the CO2 escapes, it tends to lie low to the ground (being heavier than air) and suffocates people. You might recall Lake Nyos (1986: 1700 people dead, 3500 livestock dead).

Claims that these underground caverns will be safe...forever... something about it just doesn't smell right. Placing nuclear waste deep underground for millenia is bad enough.... but nuclear waste isn't a gas, even though one heavier than air....

1 comment:

EliRabett said...

Forever in this case only has to be a few hundred years. Since that is the time horizon for fossil fuel, including coal, what sequestration buys is time.