Zero Emission Power

Zero emission Power means generating electricity by burning fossil fuels without releasing any carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. One of the reasons that fossil fuels have been used so freely in the past to generate power is that the carbon dioxide produced was perceived as safe; the main worries were sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and acid rain. Certain groups of individuals are now promoting the view that carbon dioxide may be involved in climate change, a view for which there is no evidence; none, not any of any kind. Nevertheless, let us continue.....

If fossil fuel is burned, carbon dioxide is produced. To prevent its release into the air, burning has to take place in a closed system, and any carbon dioxide formed must be liquefied or absorbed and stored in some way. But how do you store a gas?

It is possible to produce electricity from fossil fuels without release of carbon dioxide but the technologies are astronomically expensive. In many parts of the world coal is the main source of energy; it is cheap and reliable and economies depend on it. No country is going to negotiate away the profitability of its industry by taking away coal and replacing it with zero emission power at several times the price.

Some of the suggestions for preventing carbon dioxide emissions are:

1.Liquefy it and dump it in the deep ocean
2.Liqufy it and inject it into geological formations, unmineable coal reserves or disused mines.
3.Combine it with minerals to form carbonates.

Research is being done in Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the United States. Government money for some of these research programmes is plentiful, but some commentators have been tempted to ask whether the funding is being used to buy headlines rather than carry out serious research.

My own view is that dumping carbon dioxide (a biologically active material) where one cannot recover it if something goes wrong seems to go against common sense.

The third suggestion above doesn't seem workable, either - carbon dioxide typically needs two to three its own mass of absorber to prevent its release into the atmosphere. This would have to be quarried, and would probably be based on limestone.

Perhaps one should look a little harder at the evidence for global warming (no increase since 1995) before pursuing such astronomically expensive technologies.

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