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Drilling has begun on a massive $84M USD U.S. Department of Energy carbon sequestration project. The project and other sequestration efforts have many critics, including the IPCC and utilities, two rivals which typically disagree on climate issues but in this case are in agreement.  (Source: Wired)

The DoE project drills deeper than past U.S. sequestration projects, into sandstone of Mt. Simon, shown here. The reservoir along with similar ones in other parts of Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois could store up to 100 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide.  (Source: Wired)
Why worry about your problems, when you can bury them away?

As the U.S. Department of Energy's first-of-its-scale project in carbon burial launches, interest in carbon burial and sequestration is at an all time high.  Many nations wish that there was an alternative to traditional emissions cuts, which can hinder growth, and could reduce their net contribution to atmospheric carbon.

Carbon sequestration could provide just such a solution.  By burying the substance in underground cavities or in carbon rich soils in swamps or other sites, the net contribution of a country to emissions can be reduced.  And while many in the environmental community no longer like the idea, pointing out that such deposits could be easily released and don't solve the overall problem, the movement to adopt carbon sequestration still has powerful supporters.

Drilling began this week in Illinois on the DoE project, which will bury one million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the ground by 2012.  The project is the first of its scale in the U.S., and while still small compared to total U.S. emissions has the potential to grow much bigger.  Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky have enough underground space to store approximately 100 billion tons of CO2, enough to completely negate 25 years of emissions at the current rate, if fully filled.

Robert Finley, the manager of the current project states, "This is going to be a large-scale injection of 1 million metric tons, one of the largest injections to date in the U.S."

While Mr. Finley is enthusiastic about the project, others aren't.  The Bush administration last year canceled funding for an even bigger carbon sequestration project, FutureGen, citing concerns about the practice.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, typically a strong voice in support of emissions control, has sided with the utilities for once in vocally opposing carbon burial.  It has released studies indicating 30 percent of the energy from a coal burning plant would be wasted trying to capture the carbon dioxide from the flue gas.

One thing that could give supporters of burial a boost though is new carbon-specific filtering materials produced in labs like Omar Yaghi's at UCLA and at Georgia Tech under Chris Jones.  These materials may potentially make capture much cheaper and more efficient, making storage the only remaining challenge.

John Litynski, who works in the fossil-fuel-centered National Energy Technology Laboratory's Sequestration Division, believes storage should be easy as pie for the U.S.  He states, "What we found in the U.S. with the research that we've done over the last 10 years is that there is a significant potential to store CO2 ... in these very large reservoirs that are underground."

However, many of these reservoirs are deeper underground that existing sequestration projects have reached.  That's why the deep reaching Illinois project, which drills into the Mt. Simon sandstone, is such a critical test bed.  Scientists will, for the first time, be able to observe what happens when they pump compressed carbon dioxide 6,500 feet below the surface.  Describes Mr. Litynski, "We have numbers for what we think the capacity is in the U.S., but the only way to prove that is to actually drill a well."

The Illinois project will pump carbon dioxide produced by ethanol fermentation underground.  Archer Daniels Midland provided land for the site.  Even with these concessions, the project will cost over $84M USD, thanks to the high cost of drilling.

At a recent speech Mr. Litynski was challenged by an audience member who pointed out that 10,000 projects of the scale of the Illinois one would be needed to offset current emissions.  Mr. Litynski refused to back down from his support of the concept, though, dodging the question and stating, "From my point of view as someone working in this field ... the political rhetoric gets to the point where it's all supposed to be solar or wind or coal or natural gas (versus sequestration).  The reality for the situation is that we need all of these technologies."

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RE: Disagree
By yomamafor1 on 2/17/2009 7:37:07 PM , Rating: 1
Not to be a douche, but I wouldn't call a fuel source that needs to be buried and properly secured for millions of years a "clean energy".

Its an interim solution to hydrocarbon, but better long-term energy sources must be discovered.

RE: Disagree
By masher2 (blog) on 2/17/2009 8:42:37 PM , Rating: 5
What do you think we must do with the toxic byproducts from producing millions of tons of steel, concrete, and other materials used to build windmills? Or tens of millions of acres of solar cells?

No energy source is perfectly clean. With current technology, though, nuclear power seems by far the least polluting...and "clean coal" might actually beat many renewable alternatives.

RE: Disagree
By infinitybit on 2/17/2009 8:46:09 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't have to be that way. Thermal reactors currently in commercial use are quite wasteful. They only use 3%-5% of total uranium in the fuel rod (or something like that). Fast (aka Breeder) reactors can burn so called "waste". At the end of the cycle you end up with short lived isotopes. Unfortunately fast reactors are too expensive right now.

RE: Disagree
By masher2 (blog) on 2/17/2009 9:04:04 PM , Rating: 3
While FBRs are somewhat more expensive to operate than traditional reactors, they're still far cheaper than solar power. The primary reason FBRs aren't used is because of government restrictions -- President Carter banned fuel reprocessing in 1979, a hit the industry never quite recovered from.

RE: Disagree
By MisterChristopher on 2/19/2009 9:49:15 AM , Rating: 2
Why did he do that? What were his objectives from this ban?

RE: Disagree
By A Stoner on 2/18/2009 10:45:58 AM , Rating: 4
Actually they are working on the solution to this problem. It is called conversion.

from the
The Fusion Development Facility Mission (FDF): Develop Fusion’s Energy Applications but the Fusion Development Facility could also be the basis for a steady state neutron source for transmuting nuclear waste from nuclear fission reactors
• Develop the technology to make
– Tritium
– Electricity
– Hydrogen
• By using conservative Advanced Tokamak physics to run steady-state and produce 100-250 MW fusion power
– Modest energy gain (Q<5)
– Continuous operation for 30% of a year in 2 weeks periods
– Test materials with high neutron fluence (3-8 MW-yr/m2)
– Further develop all elements of Advanced Tokamak physics

Another method... same source

This site had previously looked at non-direct electric uses for nuclear fusion and transmutation was one of them. Transmutation is over three times easier to do than fusion for electricity. It does not have to be positive energy generating for the nuclear fusion part. The electricity is supplied and the fusion device is viewed as an "energy using neutron generator". The uranium is converted by the neutrons back to an isotope or into plutonium that the nuclear fission reactor can use as fuel. The fusion neutron generator only has to be available about half the time.

A fusion-assisted transmutation system for the destruction of transuranic nuclear waste is developed by combining a subcritical fusion–fission hybrid assembly uniquely equipped to burn the worst thermal nonfissile transuranic isotopes with a new fuel cycle that uses cheaper light water reactors for most of the transmutation. The center piece of this fuel cycle, the high power density compact fusion neutron source (100 MW, outer radius <3 m), is made possible by a new divertor with a heat-handling capacity five times that of the standard alternative. The number of hybrids needed to destroy a given amount of waste is an order of magnitude below the corresponding number of critical fast-spectrum reactors (FR) as the latter cannot fully exploit the new fuel cycle. Also, the time needed for 99% transuranic waste destruction reduces from centuries (with FR) to decades.

The subcritical FFTS (Fusion Fission Transmutation Scheme) acquires a definite advantage over the critical FR (Fast reacotor) approach because of its ability to support an innovative fuel cycle that makes the cheaper LWR do the bulk (75%) of the transuranic transmutation via deep burn in an inert matrix fuel form. This cycle is not accessible to the FR approach because the remaining marginally fissionable long-term radiotoxic and biohazardous transuranics cannot be stably and safely burned in critical reactors. The fission part of the Hybrid consists of standard FR components; a sodium-cooled metal fueled lattice featuring geometry similar to that of the Generation-IV Sodium Fast Reactor (SFR) is proposed. The critical milestone in the development of the Hybrid lies in the realization of the CFNS as a relatively inexpensive, high source density fusion neutron source.

End source...

Basically, there are lots of opportunites that the liberals, the libtards, the media, the greens and every other progresive movement will never let you know about, let alone ever allow you to benifit from. There is alot of research going on that will fix all of these problems, the vast majority of it would by far do more for humanity than global warming research, wind and solar power, and thus they cannot support it nor allow you to have access to it. Once you have have access to it, they lose their coveted positions of power over you, telling you that you are evil for using too much toilet paper, too much electricity, too much gas, anything at all is too much if that makes your life anything better than humans living through the iceages past. That is why these are not front page, cable, or over the air news items that people get to know about. If you knew the truth, you would demand more funding for these projects and when they finally succeed, they lose their power over you while you reap untold freedom by being empowered by POWER.

"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot

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