Carbon sequestration technology aims to store carbon, regardless of its source, whether it is from a new high-efficiency coal plant or an ancient relic of a plant. In the past, researchers looked at many ways of doing this. Some argued to put it in the sea while others argued to sink it in artificial wetlands.
However, the most popular idea is to pump it underground. The U.S. Department of Energy already launched an expensive initiative to test out such a system. Now Swedish power supplier Vattenfall has beat everyone to the punch, building and bringing online the world's first industrial-ready carbon sequestration plant, located in Brandenburg, Germany.
Construction on the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) plant began two years ago. The plant cost $97.4M USD to construct. Many view it and other CCS plants as essential for coal to stay competitive against greener energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, and nuclear power. The plant officially opened with a ceremony this Tuesday.
The power plant used by the facility is a specially built 45 MW plant 350 kilometers (217 miles) away. CO2 is delivered by the truckload to the waiting plant, where it is pumped underground into a natural gas reservoir. Vattenfall's main competitor, RWE, is looking to build a 450-megawatt CCS power plant in Hürth, nine kilometers southwest of Cologne.
The technology is thought to be viable at current carbon credit costs when it can be coupled with a plant with about 1,000 MW of capacity. Thus the current new plant is an experimental proposition, which is losing money in the short term.
At the new plant, gas is pumped into 800-meter-deep bore holes into the depleted reservoir. Estimates vary, but it is expected to be trapped there anywhere from 1,000 and 10,000 years.
While some power companies are promoting the technology as a green dream, interestingly many environmental groups are vocally opposing it. Over 99 organizations in a group called the "Climate Alliance" invited protesters to the opening of the plant. They say the technology is too unproven and CO2 separation also lowers plant efficiency to as little as 34 percent, from a typical efficiency of 44 percent. Further, they say it will slow the adoption of alternative energy sources, lulling people into a false sense of security.
While some, particularly in the green community are particularly opposed to the technology, it doesn't seem likely to go away anytime soon. SPD (Germany's top political party) head Kurt Beck acknowledged the criticism, but cautiously plugged the effort, stating, "One sees clearly that it is far more than just a theoretical beginning. It is one of a number of solutions to the climate problem."
quote: group called the "Climate Alliance" invited protesters to the opening of the plant. They say the technology is too unproven and CO2 separation also lowers plant efficiency to as little as 34 percent, from a typical efficiency of 44 percent.
quote: If CO2 isn't a problem then this sequestration operation is adding needless expense to energy production.
quote: If it helps clean up the air
quote: I support a carbon tax or a cap and trade system where people pay for their initial allotments of carbon usage.
quote: I don't care how many toxins there are in plant exhaust. I just don't want them dumping their garbage in our public space. I can't just throw my grass clippings out in the street. My grass clippings are definitely going to be less toxic than plant exhaust. The city makes me pay to take away my clippings, or I can take care of them myself by composting it. Either way, it's my responsibility. I just think the plants should take care of their waste the same way I'm expected to take care of mine.
quote: Would you care to explain what these "true goals" of the movement are?
quote: Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental
quote: If I were reincarnated, I would wish to be returned to Earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels
quote: To feed a starving child is to exacerbate the world population problem
quote: Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, is not as important as a wild and healthy planets…Some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.
quote: The collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans
quote: Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs
quote: The only real good technology is no technology at all. Technology is taxation without representation, imposed by our elitist species [mankind] upon the rest of the natural world—
quote: Everything we have developed over the last 100 years should be destroyed
quote: If you ask me, it'd be a little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy
quote: We have wished, we ecofreaks, for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us into Stone Age, where we might live like Indians in our valley, with our localism, our appropriate technology, our gardens, our homemade religion -- guilt-free at last
quote: Capitalism is destroying the earth.
quote: The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States: We can't let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the U.S
quote: but humans are no more special than any other species on this planet.
quote: Whom do you suggest we start with?
quote: By the end of December, US officials project that they will have shipped more than 612 million condoms this year to Africa, Asia, and Latin America
quote: you're simply spitballing
quote: You've probably confused yourself over some 5-year old story on the "Mexico Policy" of denying aid to groups which advocate abortion.
quote: I suppose you'd prefer they all die?
quote: If the wars of the future are fought entirely by machines, that will likely be a positive thing. Whoever has the better machines wins... and there's no need to actually shed any real blood.
quote: Do you know why our population has increased so dramatically in the last one hundred years or so?The easy answer is industrialization, but the core of the answer lies in the way we produce and use energy. For the vast part of human history we produced energy at a current rate or near current rate. [...]This allowed us a certain amount of productivity, a certain amount of food, and thus a certain population. And indeed if you look at human population trends you will find that population has stayed relatively stable in our past when compared to the industrialized era.So what changed? We started using non-current energy, or energy that was previously trapped and stored, IE fossil fuels. Now this ancient energy basically allows us to increase our productivity and available food, and thus we have a dramatic population increase.
quote: Barring immigration, most European nations have birth rates below levels to sustain themselves.
quote: world population is sinking at an alarming pace.
quote: There's a bit of synergy and overlap in the 20th century
quote: 4) You fail to read the first paragraph of the wiki page you linked me to:As of September 2008, the world's population is estimated to be just over 6.721 billion. In line with population projections, this figure continues to grow at rates that were unprecedented before the 20th century, although the rate of growth has almost halved since its peak of 2.2% per year, which was reached in 1963.
quote: If you had read that, and noted that I was talking about historical population rates vs. the last 100 years or so, or after the 20th century, you would see that the link you have provided wholeheartedly agrees with my point.
quote: The key to slowing or stopping population growth is to modernize the poorer countries, not to revert the modernized countries to a pre-industrial level.
quote: In the Belgium Ardene there is a hole Vally that is marked as uninhabitable because of copper mining in 1600s.They only found out in the 60s because statistics showed a higher rate of copper-positions related diseases and shorter life span of the people living there.
quote: What then a days was seen as no problem at all had later proven huge environmental effects.
quote: No. Your body is extremely poor at absorbing copper. An inorganic salt of copper, on the other hand, can be fatal in a dose as small as a few grams.
quote: Copper is, in fact, an essential nutrient:
quote: but unless you have a link or more information
quote: A temperature rise of 2-3C isn't a catastrophe; it's a *good* thing, both for mankind and the environment. The mean temperature of the globe is around 54F now, whereas man (and most of the plants and animals we depend on) prefer something closer to 70F.
quote: No one buys a $30K insurance policy on a $15K Civic.
quote: Sure. They've been doing that since the end of the last ice age.
quote: The evidence for a thermohaline circulatory shutdown
quote: Compared to that, sea levels today are barely moving at all:
quote: Even were we to demolish every power plant on the planet, give up electricity entirely, and all ride bicycles to work, we'd still have the emissions from land use changes, livestock production (a huge one there, larger than all cars, planes, trucks, and buses combined), municipal solid waste, concrete production, iron and steel smelting, and many other sources.
quote: Face facts. The only way to stop human emissions is to halt industrial civilization itself. Some may desire it... but any rational person does not.
quote: When the Dutch Communist Party disbanded last decade, they merged into the GreenLeft Party, a radical environmental group. Why? Their publicly-stated rationale was that they could "better achieve their goals" by working through the environmental movement, rather than as a separate organization.
quote: How so? Of course pumping CO2 underground is going to take energy. The point is that the coal plant is **still* substantially cheaper to operate than enormously costly solar.
quote: 2. it means there is also about +30% more steel needed 3. making this steel cost also huge amounts of energy 4. this same extra steel will drive up steel prizes even higher then they are all ready today
quote: including the prodigious emissions and mining destruction associated with that production.
quote: Solar farms in the desert would be fine, if we:
quote: Estimates vary, but it is expected to be trapped there anywhere from 1,000 and 10,000 years.