Carbon Capture & Storage.

Ron in Regina

Debate intensifies over environmental benefits of carbon capture

By Juliet O'Neill, Canwest News ServiceMarch 16, 2009

Source: THE CARBON DEBATE (external - login to view)

OTTAWA Not long ago, a project that captures carbon-dioxide emissions from a
coal-burning electric power plant in Saskatchewan then ships it more than 80
kilometres by pipeline to Montana and injects it underground for permanent burial
would have sounded like a mad scientist's brainchild.

But such an international partnership is, in fact, at the heart of the "clean-energy
dialogue" announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack
Obama last month.

And Malcolm Wilson, the man at the heart of the carbon-capture and -storage
project, is no mad scientist. Director of energy and environment at the University
of Regina, Wilson's team will test different chemicals for capturing carbon at the

"Coal-fired power plants are one of the mainstays of electrical production and,
certainly, one of the big producers globally of carbon dioxide," Wilson told Canwest
News Service. "That's not going to change any time soon."

Is the development of carbon-capture and -storage technology a wild idea and a
waste of billions of dollars in public funds or a worthwhile investment in
something that will reduce global greenhouse-gas emissions?

That debate is intensifying, because of the light Harper and Obama have shone on
the idea, followed by Environment Minister Jim Prentice's pledge to help co-
ordinate $7 billion worth of projects in North America over the next few years.
Prentice said the technology will be pursued both for coal and the Alberta oilsands.

Some critics say such funds would be far more wisely spent on energy-efficient
transportation systems; the development of wind, solar and other renewable power
sources; and massive energy-conservation measures to reduce reliance on coal and
oil from the oilsands.

Mike Hudema, an Edmonton-based Greenpeace campaigner against the oilsands,
holds that view.

"We definitely don't think Canadians or Albertans should be paying to clean up
industries' pollution," Hudema told Canwest News Service. "If we're going to move
in this direction and capture even a minor amount, it should be industry that's
footing the bill for it, and not Canadian taxpayers, and not Albertan taxpayers."

David Keith, an energy expert at the University of Calgary, says Canadian
governments have already spent far more on solar and wind power than on carbon-
capture and -storage technology, even if a $2-billion allocation by the Alberta
government for development of carbon capture and storage is counted.

"We've never solved any major environmental problem by just waiting for things to
get (commercially viable)," he said in an interview. "You need regulations or

Keith asserts that developing the technology for coal will be more cost-effective
than trying to make it work in the Alberta oilsands, a relatively small part of global
carbon emissions.

"We are building right now, just west of Edmonton, a coal-fired power plant that
will have more emissions than any oilsands plants," Keith said.

"Even in Alberta, the emissions from coal are much bigger than oilsands. And
globally, they're 40 per cent of the whole climate problem. That's where the action
is, if you care about climate. Cutting carbon costs money, and we owe it to our
kids to choose the cheapest places to cut."

Wilson, the scientist at the University of Regina, says many of the procedures and
equipment that will be used for carbon capture and storage have been around for
years. Carbon capture from gas plants is nothing new, for example. And carbon
dioxide is injected underground for enhanced oil recovery operations.

The technical challenge is to put the bits and pieces together, to prove they can
work smoothly without disrupting electricity supplies, and to ascertain the costs.

Government funds for the technology development are an important signal to
industries awaiting clear government policy on climate change, he said.

"Boards of directors are quite rightly very reticent to put out very large sums of
money that are going to cost their shareholders when they don't have clear
government policies. Governments are coming around now . . . Once governments
make decisions, the private sector becomes more engaged."
Ron in Regina
Weyburn-Midale CO2 Project (external - login to view): PTRC - Petroleum Technology Research Centre (external - login to view)
I like this idea

Algae to rescue on warming, fuel source? - Green Machines- (external - login to view)

I found a good website on this a while back but can't find it again. Capture CO2 from a coal or gas fired power plant, grow algae with it and then burn the algae in the process.

I know it's not the carbon capture you were referring to.
CO2 can be turned back into a CH using sunshine. No point in wasting good CO2.
I caught the tail end of a CBC radio item that talked about farmers capturing carbon on their farms - An Australian researcher is getting some good results from her test site. That would be sweet!
Part of spending billions on this untested tech is the Alberta energy industry worried about a new cap and trade system being worked out in Washington DC. An article in the paper on the weekend stated that Alberta is already thinking of exporting energy to Asia instead where they will not be penalized
for their energy exports.

The US wants Canada to spend billions on carbon capture, pay for pollution credits, and then buy our energy! We have other plans.

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