Scientists poke holes in carbon dioxide sequestration

D’oh! Never was a serious option even if carbon constraint was found necessary

Newly published geophysical research and a committee of experts have cast doubts on whether carbon capture and storage (CCS) can play the major role that some scientists and coal producers had hoped for in mitigating climate change. A report released by the National Research Council (NRC) in mid-June warns that the injection of millions of tons of supercritical liquid carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel plants into deep geological formations is likely to create earthquakes that will fracture the surrounding impermeable rock and allow the greenhouse gas to work its way back toward the surface. Separately, Stanford University geophysicists Mark Zoback and Steven Gorelick write in a 26 June article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that “there is a high probability that earthquakes will be triggered by injection of large volumes of CO2 into the brittle rocks commonly found in continental interiors.” They argue that “large-scale CCS is a risky, and likely unsuccessful, strategy for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

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8 responses to “Scientists poke holes in carbon dioxide sequestration

  1. I agree with the conclusion on CCS, but I suspect motives. We’ve been disposing of aqueous wastes waste water by deep well injection for years, without the sudden concern for earthquakes. Once fracking became big, concern over earthquakes popped up.

  2. I still think there’s a couple of alien space ships orbiting up there full of guys with a nasty sense of humor periodically firing off a ‘stupid ray’ at the Earth just for the fun of watching us act like a Monty Python episode.

    The ray is apparently highly effective.

  3. Why liquid? That does sound like it could be a problem. But why not just the gas in gaseous form? Furthermore, there are often multiple layers of impermeable rock underground. Maybe the CO2 could break thru the contiguous one, but what about the next one say 500′ above or whatever. It seems like proper siting could address this problem even were liquid CO2 to be injected.

    • Better idea: vent it to atmosphere and claim you piped it underground.

    • In gaseous form volume is a problem (as is getting it where you want it). However that isn’t the big problem, that’s that CCS is a useless waste of an excellent biospheric resource, see here.

    • David, to pump it down, you effectively just liquify it via pressurization and let it sink. If you try to pump it down via compressor, you’d have much the same effect. besides, you can store 1000 times the liquid that you can in an equivalent space of gas. Even then, volume is a major concern, as many or most wells are not usable for storage.

  4. Even better idea: Do nothing as doing something will not affect CO2. Even if something is done no one can measure the difference in CO2 levels in atmosphere.

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