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Carbon Sequestration



May 08, 2009 – Comments (7)

Carbon sequestration is the action of capturing CO2 emissions and pumping them deep into the ground where they will stay for years and years and years, preventing them from contributing to Global Warming.

CO2 intensive industries, especially coal power plants, are depending upon this technology to help keep them profitable in the face of CO2 emissions restrictions.

The coal industry is fighting for its profitability with a marketing campaign, rebranding themselves "Clean Coal".

The question becomes is Carbon Sequestration a good solution to acomplish the goal of reducing CO2 emissions.

So lets presume it works succesfully.

Carbon plus Oxygen plus Oxygen equals CO2 and into the ground it goes.

Evidence from prehistoric times indicates that the oxygen content of pristine nature was above the 21% of total volume that it is today. It has decreased in recent times due mainly to the burning of coal in the middle of the last century. Currently the oxygen content of the Earth's atmosphere dips to 19% over impacted areas, and it is down to 12 to 17% over the major cities. At these levels it is difficult for people to get sufficient oxygen to maintain bodily health: it takes a proper intake of oxygen to keep body cells and organs, and the entire immune system, functioning at full efficiency. At the levels we have reached today cancers and other degenerative diseases are likely to develop. And at 6 to 7% life can no longer be sustained.

More here.

I am not convinced that burying oxygen in the ground is a good idea.

I think it is a better idea to leave the carbon in the ground and the oxygen in the air.

7 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On May 08, 2009 at 2:22 PM, Tak3natheFlood (98.99) wrote:

The only real use for pumping CO2 into the ground is to increase pressure around oil wells that allows for better oil recovery. This is great from an economic perspective but could certainly create a vicious cycle for the environment. It would be interesting to see what the net benefit (harm) this does.

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#2) On May 08, 2009 at 2:57 PM, devoish (70.13) wrote:


I think sequestration takes using CO2 to build pressure one step further into long term storage.

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#3) On May 08, 2009 at 3:44 PM, Option1307 (30.50) wrote:

You're on a roll here with thought provoking posts, keep it up Big D.

Putting the whole global warming issue aside, IMO this is just another example of not thinking about "solutions" completely and thoroughly. While this idea seems to have the desired results up front, there may be some unintended consequences, as you point out, that are ultimately worse then the original problem.

This is my main problem with many of the "solutions" that get thrown around in government/media/world/etc. today. We do not have honest and open discussions about them, taking the time to think about potential side effects we may inadvertently cause. Take for example, what the Fed/government is currently doing in reagards to the financial system. Does anybody actually understand what they are up to? Have we had an open discussion, it's truly sad...

With that being said, CO2 technology is going to be important going forward for investors, regardless of which side wins the "global warming" argument. It's something we should all learn more about.

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#4) On May 08, 2009 at 4:15 PM, portefeuille (98.91) wrote:

Have a look here, here and here:

CO2 concentration in Earth's atmosphere: 0.0384% by volume

O2 concentration in Earth's atmosphere: 20.9% by volume

No need to worry about the "O2 content" of the CO2 ...



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#5) On May 08, 2009 at 4:16 PM, AbstractMotion (< 20) wrote:

The biggest problem with sequestration is it takes energy todo it, which in many cases is going to come from a fossil fuel source anyways.  Likewise most of the possible long term dangers are hard to understand.  Keep in mind that CO2  is heavier then air, if it were to shoot out into a populated area in the future it could suffocate people simply by displacing air.  There's been some rare recorded incidents of this occuring in certain spot in Africa where CO2 actually accumulates at the bottom of lake beds due to geological activity.  Likewise methods of pumping it into the ocean may acidify the ocean and wreak other kinds of ecological havok.  Algal ponds show some promise, but you potentially run into a volume problem there.  Sequestration is largely an "out of sight, out of mind" solution to the problem we have with CO2, it doesn't really lessen the amount of it that's around it just sweeps it under the rug so to speak.


Generally I think sequestration is counter intuitive given other canidates available.  It'd be better to gasify coal or just burn more natural gas (methane) since it combusts much more cleanly then just about any other hydrocarbon.  Natural gas is currently the most realistic solution to solving the CO2 problem for several reasons, it burns clean, major oil producers can switch over easily to NG production(easier to legislate), we have a natural gas infrastructure currently and it's a portable power source that can be used to fuel vehicles with minor modifications.  In the longer term high effiency solar, ultracapcitors, flywheels and hydrogen production will probably give us a zero emission solution, but until then we need something that's practical today.



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#6) On May 08, 2009 at 6:23 PM, devoish (70.13) wrote:


Thanks for the numbers.

I guess the localized low O2 conditions are just that. Localized and due to local conditions.


I am not going long on "free markets" in this thread but one of my problems with the whole "free market" idea is that not planning at all beats planning and making mistakes.

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#7) On May 11, 2009 at 12:34 PM, wrparks (73.68) wrote:

"I am not going long on "free markets" in this thread but one of my problems with the whole "free market" idea is that not planning at all beats planning and making mistakes."


Smarta** comment for the day.  Does that make you a creationist who believes in an sucky god?

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