Dec 5, 2012

Carbon capture technology: climate superhero or rort?

There's a reason fossil fuel giants -- and some environmental groups -- just love carbon capture technology. But is it really the answer to climate change?

Imagine the biggest Ford pick-up truck you have ever seen, and in its tray is a sprawling concoction of tubes and boxes that make up what could be the world’s first mobile carbon capture and storage technology for vehicles.

The prototype, cumbersome and inefficient, apparently reduces emissions from this gas-guzzling monster by just 10%. When refined, a more compact version may achieve a 60% reduction — and the bottled carbon dioxide can be returned to the petrol station to be used as a feedstock for algae. This is either a work of genius in progress, or an act of the greatest futility.

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15 thoughts on “Carbon capture technology: climate superhero or rort?

  1. macadamia man

    Pie from the sky CCS and deferred disaster Nukes. Oh, dear. Looks like “hope they work out ok” is all we have left if the carbon-cult really can’t be cured. . .

  2. geomac62

    Howard wasted millions, billion ? on carbon capture and nothing of substance has eventuated . After all this time there is still no way to capture/store the carbon without using two thirds of energy or is it one third of the energy ? that a power plant produces . Then there is the question of safety in ensuring the carbon doesn,t erupt out at some stage . CCS is a way to hold back clean technology while using old methods but promising ” new ” methods that are unsustainable to producers and their customer base .
    Living in the Latrobe Valley we get promises of exporting brown coal , CCS and various other new developments and they all fall flat because no bank will touch them . Not because the banks are too timid but because there is no sound business base to back them . Pie in the sky ideas that are thought bubbles hoping for Howard like subsidies that keep them in money and deliver zilch . Thats the plan though , make out something is being done while delaying progress of clean renewable energy . Victoria has gone backwards at a rapid rate but is good at spin , well not quite . Two miles distance before you can put up wind turbines but you can have a coal mine 200 yards from private residences . Apparently coal dust etc is ok but wind noise is dangerous even though beneficiaries of turbines don,t get ill but non beneficiaries complain of ill affects . Placebo wind ?

  3. Apollo

    There isn’t a need for carbon capture anyway, the alternatives already exist. There are already companies that recycle green house gas to feed algae for electricity generation and food production. Green house gas also can be re-hydrocarbonise to become fuel again through a process of polarisation for separation of elements and recombining with others.

  4. a bed

    CCS is political cover.

    The energy companies aren’t doing any more than the very mimimum R&D. Australia has one small research plant that vents the CO2 extracted (and doesn’t bury it).

    No one is going to let them pump the CO2 into their region anyway – and have you seen the geological maps for suitable regions? None is near the power plants anyway, so you have to truck it anyway!

    Regarding using it for geomass, do you realise the difficulty of converting tonnes of CO2 into algae? The size of the ponds? The equipment to harvest it? Its simply impractical.

    The real answer is reforming society to consume less energy, and to allow investment of renewable energy start-up companies. Both of these are achieved with my voucher approach to innovation.


  5. Bo Gainsbourg

    I really think some environment groups are repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot. If CCS was viable coal companies would be seriously investing in it. Not using it, as they will with this report, as another excuse to block renewables and stave off any real action themselves. Climate Institute would be better off getting NSW and Vic to drop their ridiculous windfarm restrictions and actually trying to get some coal power stations replaced. Without that we can’t get past square one. Coal PR people will be cracking the champers tonight.

  6. Simon Mansfield

    Trees work pretty well at capturing carbon – or so says NASA’s James Hansen. But what would he know.

  7. James Butler

    Its important to expose the various delusions of radial environmentalists programs and schemes. Carbon trading is linked to a for-profit trade designed to make investment bankers rich rather than protect the environment. Recent research just found that electric cars will pollute the earth 50% MORE than current gasoline cars? inlcuding all the toxic chemicals used in their high capacity batteries which environmentalists have no idea how to get rid off. Simply google these facts and other environmental agendas and you’ll realize how bad all these schemes are.

    Its sad to see the world constantly deceived by self deluded environmentalists who may have “good intentions” but have no idea of how real science and economies work.

    I am FOR protecting the environment, but rather using science based facts and implementing future technologies. Global warming isn’t even a VALID term anymore, now converted to “climate change” which has NOTHING to do with human pollution anymore, but our Mass media fail to deliver that message. Human pollution only contributes to 3% of climate change (possibly) and the rest is just nature.

  8. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    James Butler, how do you know that “… the rest is just nature”? What evidence do you have to support this viewpoint? Are you saying that because it’s only 3% it doesn’t mean much and wouldn’t have much effect? Where did you get that idea?
    By the way James, “future technologies” haven’t been ‘presentised’ yet. How can you use something, from the future, you haven’t actually invented or developed yet?
    Also, what are you doing about sea level rise? You can’t explain that without referring to atmospheric CO2 increase – or can you? Has our mass media failed you on that one?

  9. Malcolm Street

    James Butler – “toxic chemicals used in their high capacity batteries” – the current generation of batteries, replacing Nickel-Metal Hydride and Lead Acid, are Lithium Polymer and Lithium Iron-Phosphate and have absolute sod-all in the way of toxic waste.

  10. Joel

    Well, I’m sure that in 20-30 years, when some government proposes an alternative means of implementing emissions reductions, CCS will be almost ready for a field trial. Almost. So there’ll be no need for those new laws – we already have CCS almost ready! Almost!

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