MORE PROBLEMS WITH CCS
'Carbon storage' faces leak dilemma – study
27 June 2010 (AFP)
"Dreams of braking global warming by storing carbon emissions from power plants could be undermined by the risk of leakage, according to a [new] study…
"Rich countries have earmarked tens of billions of dollars of investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS), a technology that is still only at an experimental stage…[that would capture]…carbon dioxide (CO2)…from plants that are big burners of oil, gas and coal…[and] buried in the deep ocean or piped into underground chambers…"
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"CCS supporters say the sequestered carbon would slow the pace of man-made warming. It would buy time for politicians to forge an effective treaty…Critics say CCS could be dangerous if the stored gas returns to the atmosphere. They also argue that its financial cost, still unknown, could be far greater than tackling the source of the problem itself.
"The new research, published by the journal Nature Geoscience, wades into the debate with an estimate of capturing enough carbon to help limit warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)…Storing CO2 in the ocean will contribute to acidification of the sea, with dangers that reverberate up the food chain…It also carries a higher risk of being returned to the atmosphere by ocean currents and storms."
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"Underground storage is a better option, but only if the geological chamber does not have a significant leak or is breached by an earthquake or some other movement…The gas will have to be stored for tens of thousands of years to avoid becoming a threat to future generations, a scenario similar to that for nuclear waste…[L]ess than one percent of the stored volume [per 1,000 years] can be allowed to leak…To offset any bigger leak, re-sequestration [i.e., grabbing and storing an equivalent amount of CO2 from the air]…would be needed…But this would be a cost burden that could last for millennia…
"Until only recently, CCS was widely dismissed as fantasy or a last-ditch option…In 2008, the Group of Eight (G8) summit recommended launching 20 large-scale CCS demonstration projects by 2010…[O]ver the past two years, countries have committed 26 billion dollars in CCS projects…"