Roger Pielke Jr.: Recycling Carbon Dioxide in Iceland

No, CO2 is not pollution, yes it’s a resource and no, we shouldn’t be stealing it from the biosphere unless there is no other alternative. Junior seems impressed by it though.

Today, I went on a tour of the Svartsengi Geothermal Power Plant near Grindavik, Iceland (pictured above). During the visit I learned that the facility produces >300 megawatts of electricity plus hot water for the region (or about 1/3 of a conventional nuclear power plant). Of particular note is that the plant facility is also home to Carbon Recycling International, a joint US-Iceland company that is actually turning carbon dioxide into liquid methanol fuel.

Roger Pielke Jr.

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6 responses to “Roger Pielke Jr.: Recycling Carbon Dioxide in Iceland

  1. There is a plant in Novgorod, Russia, that has been stealing from the atmosphere everything there is (including cardon) for half-a-century: http://www.acron.ru/en/about/geography/production/acron/

    Even though the main products are ammonia and urea, once you’ve got atmospheric gases in liquefied form (can sell those right away, but the fun does not stop there), you can recombine them in any way you want. In addition to stuff they mention on their website, they also make PVC glue and formaldehyde resins (I understand, those are waste products that consumers are willing to pay for).

  2. “a joint US-Iceland company that is actually turning carbon dioxide into liquid methanol fuel.”

    Nope. It is being used as a fuel additive, not as a fuel.
    Reportedly at 3%.

    Methanol is EXTREMELY corrosive to rubber, and it’s combustion products can attack certain metals. Energy density is low in methanol, even lower than in ethanol. These properties will always limit its usefulness as a fuel.

    An engine designed to run on methanol can be very successful. It was used in Indy cars for 40 years. But as an additive to consumer gasoline, it is a really bad idea.

    Riddle me this, Batman: How is recycling CO2 from power plants, then burning it, recycling. CO2 in the atmosphere is still the end result, regardless of the intermediate steps.

  3. Gamecock,

    “How is recycling CO2 from power plants, then burning it, recycling. CO2 in the atmosphere is still the end result, regardless of the intermediate steps.”

    If you are worried about CO2 from non-power plant sources, such as automobiles, it would eliminate those emissions.

    I’m not worried about CO2 emissions, other than trying to stop the misguided carbon-phobes from wasting our money and limiting our economic and political choices.

  4. I little methanol in your fuel is good. It pulls the moisture out of gasoline.

  5. Good it is, but to be more precise, it pulls moisture into gasoline, rather than out of it. That’s how water gets removed from the fuel system. To be even more precise, methanol doesn’t really do that too well by itself; it requires additional interface molecules to become miscible with gasoline (think HEET).

  6. That’s why “The power plant official we spoke with even spoke of an export market for Iceland for methanol” is ignorant. It doesn’t ship well.

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