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Zero-emission Power Plants Proposed

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the cold-fusion dept.

Technology 737

ckbreckenridge writes "Supercompact, superfast, superpowerful turbines called ZEPPS (zero-emission power plants), designed to combat global warming, could help produce the electrical power needed to keep up with 21st century demand. They would consume methane and oxygen and produce liquid carbon dioxide, which could be sequestered underground. The current electricity grid would need to be replaced by a 'supergrid' across the USA, says Jesse H. Ausubel in The Industrial Physicist. Work on such a system should start as soon as possible, since CO2 levels leaped up 2 ppm in the past two years as global warming becomes more of a reality."

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How is this diffrent? (5, Insightful)

Ziak (807893) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525272)

How is this diffrent then toxic waste from nuclear plants being stored under ground.... if we continue storring all this wouldn't eventually run out of place to put it?

Re:How is this diffrent? (2)

DankNinja (241851) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525317)

For one, CO2 isn't radioactive for thousands of years.

Re:How is this diffrent? (2, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525375)

But that CO2 will sit there for thousands of years and eventually escape into the atmosphere. If the global warmers are correct, that will cause catastrophic warming, the sky will fall, plagues of locusts will eat our first-born, and all kinds of other nonsense. So nuclear waste is far safer in the long run.

Re:How is this diffrent? (3, Insightful)

bigtangringo (800328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525386)

Not to mention we could always install more CO2 processors [google.com]

Re:How is this diffrent? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525455)

Not to mention we could always install more CO2 processors

Am I the only one that clicked on that and figured it was going to be a link to some website about Sim Earth?

That was a pretty ingrenious link actually. My hats off to you.

Re:How is this diffrent? (1)

catherder_finleyd (322974) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525489)

If you reprocess Nuclear Wastes by removing the long-lived Radioactive Isotopes (U-235, Pu-238), and use them in reactors, you are left with stuff that is only radioactive for 10's - 100's of years.

Re:How is this diffrent? (4, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525342)

How is this diffrent then toxic waste from nuclear plants being stored under ground.... if we continue storring all this wouldn't eventually run out of place to put it?

That was my thought. Let's leave the problem of dealing with our consumption to future generations. Isn't that the whole problem in the first place?

What industrial uses could we find for this stored CO2 other then my silly suggestion [slashdot.org] ? Is there a scalable way to build greenhouses to take care of the problem naturally (photosynthesis)? My gut tells me probably not.

Re:How is this diffrent? (2, Insightful)

chrischan (630726) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525470)

Photosynthesis does not help, either. It fixes the CO2 in the plant, but what do you do with the plant afterwards? Burn it? -> CO2. Let it decompose? -> CO2. Or put it underground, like you could have done with the CO2 in the first place?

Re:How is this diffrent? (1)

Yartrebo (690383) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525521)

You could convert the seeds of the plant into oil and pump it back into the oil wells. If the oil stayed there for millions of years, I figure we could safely pump freshly made oil back in.

Of course, it is kind of silly to do when we're still pumping oil out. Perhaps with fusion and hydroponics (using grow lamps) it might be practical.

Re:How is this diffrent? (1)

Mantorp (142371) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525558)

build more houses and make lots of toothpicks

Re:How is this diffrent? (0, Redundant)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525360)

CO2 isn't toxic and ultra-radioactive for tens of thousands of years. If it escapes, it simply causes the same global warming that a regular power plant would cause.

Re:How is this diffrent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525384)

Who cares? We will all be dead by that time. What does future generations have done for us? Let them deal with our toxic waste.

Re:How is this diffrent? (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525548)

The president tells us that all right-thinking neocons will be raptured up, so we don't have to worry about ruining the environment. Let all those heathen liberals deal with the problem.

Re:How is this diffrent? (4, Insightful)

bperkins (12056) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525393)

It's different because it's much much worse.

The amount of waste produced by a nuclear power plant is fairly small, wheras the amount of CO2 produced is on the order of the amount of fuel it burns.

Re:How is this diffrent? (2, Insightful)

k98sven (324383) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525429)

How is this diffrent then toxic waste from nuclear plants being stored under ground....

Tweaking your analogy:

How is this different from all the oil stored underground that we're pumping up and burning?

Re:How is this diffrent? (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525475)

"How is this different from all the oil stored underground that we're pumping up and burning?"

Oil won't escape from containment and (supposedly) cause catastrophic global warming...

Re:How is this diffrent? (1)

virtualXTC (609488) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525480)

It's difficult to process radioactivity and make it non-hazardous. CO2 on the other hand is much easier to handle and doesn't need to be buried as deep. CO2 is also utilized in photosynthesis and can be changed into sugars and Oxygen. A processing plant of photosynthetic bacteria or plants could easily be built if the amount of waste starts becoming a problem.

Re:How is this diffrent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525522)

Then why is global warming such a big problem if CO2 is so easy to deal with?

Glad you asked... (4, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525496)

How is this diffrent then toxic waste from nuclear plants being stored under ground.... if we continue storring all this wouldn't eventually run out of place to put it?

A friend who worked in the Hazardous Waste disposal industry lamented the ignorance of many protesters who came out to his site and harrassed the workers. They didn't know the difference between Hazardous and Toxic waste. CO2 is not toxic. In high concentrations it can be harmful (depending on the lifeform), but that is the definition of Hazardous. Toxic means it does harm even in small concentrations.

Example:

1,000 gallons of horse urine if dumped on a field would probably kill the grass, but if dilluted and spread over time it would not.

1 milligram of plutonium spread on a field would kill the grass, no matter how you dilluted it and grass wouldn't grow again for a long time.

I'm sure I didn't explain this as well as he could have, but I hope you get the gist of it.

Re:Glad you asked... (1)

Yartrebo (690383) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525568)

It would take more than that of plutonium to kill grass. Plutonium isn't all that active (half life over 10,000 years), so you'd probably need closer to a pound to kill grass, which is pretty resilient. Killing a human would take far less, since the dose would accumulate over the years, and humans are not very resilient to radiation damage.

Re:How is this diffrent? (1)

olman (127310) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525582)

How is this diffrent then toxic waste from nuclear plants being stored under ground.... if we continue storring all this wouldn't eventually run out of place to put it?

By the scale of, oh, about 1 to 100000 or so. And I think I'm being generous here.

FP (-1, Offtopic)

InfoHighwayRoadkill (454730) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525273)

woot

Fizzle Pizzle (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525278)

Fizzle Pizzle Bizzle

omaha steaks! (4, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525280)

Finally an unlimited source of dry ice for Omaha Steaks. I'm going to buy some stock....

Re:omaha steaks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525351)

YHBT

YHL

HAND

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525291)

first ... yeah I'm first !

.... Duh? (3, Insightful)

Vrallis (33290) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525294)

I guess I'll be the first one to day it...

You are going to combat the excessive amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere by...producing more CO2? Even 'sequestered underground,' that isn't much of an option.

Re:.... Duh? (2, Funny)

Vrallis (33290) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525339)

Say it, not day it...

That's what I get for not doing a preview...

Re:.... Duh? (3, Insightful)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525376)

The ammount of carbon in the world (excepting exceptions, pedants please piss off) doesn't change, it just gets put in different places.

The best place for it is in the ground (as happens in this process, air->ground-as-liquid) rather than in the air (as happens when you burn fossil fuels, ground-as-coal->air).

As long as it doesnt leach out and contaminate the area (not likley, and even if it does it's not serious) then this is exactly the right thing to do.

Re:.... Duh? (2, Insightful)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525382)

"They would consume methane and oxygen and produce liquid carbon dioxide"

Yep, doesn't sound 'zero emission' to me either.

The other thing that caught me is that its producing liquid carbon dioxide? I thought carbon dioxide sublimates, as in goes from solid to gas with no liquid step. Or, if it has a liquid stage, its only under very specific conditions of temperature and pressure.

I am not a chemist, but it doesn't sound right to me...

Re:.... Duh? (2, Insightful)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525466)

This is the difference between being 'emmitted' and 'produced.' The idea, I think, is that it's not being spewed uncontrollably into the atmosphere.

Re:.... Duh? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525587)

The other thing that caught me is that its producing liquid carbon dioxide? I thought carbon dioxide sublimates, as in goes from solid to gas with no liquid step. Or, if it has a liquid stage, its only under very specific conditions of temperature and pressure.

I thought that too. But according to Wikipedia's article about CO2 [wikipedia.org] and dry ice [wikipedia.org] "Dry ice is produced by compressing carbon dioxide gas to a liquid form, removing excess heat, and then letting the liquid carbon dioxide expand quickly. This expansion causes a drop in temperature so that some of the CO2 freezes into "snow" which is then compressed".

I guess we learn something new every day. So much for my bright idea [slashdot.org] .

Re:.... Duh? (1)

baywulf (214371) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525387)

But see the CO2 is in liquid form and when it evaporates, it absorbs some heat from the earth thus slowing down global warming.

Re:.... Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525468)

ummm.... only if it leaves the planet directly after that.

Re:.... Duh? (1)

Noehre (16438) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525413)

Why not?

We already use CO2 produced from coal gasification plans in advanced oil recovery. You shoot the CO2 into oil pockets to get more of the oil out. The CO2 just gets trapped where the oil was.

Re:.... Duh? (4, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525436)

Uh, it was "sequestered underground" in the first place. Where do you think the fossil fuel came from?

If those chambers are capable of holding oil and natural gas for millions of years, they are certainly capable of holding CO2 as well.

In fact, newer drilling operations often inject CO2 into the well in order to pressurize the chamber and assist in extracting the last drops of oil from a dried out oil chamber.

The idea of storing CO2 underground might sound crazy to you, but that's only because you've never done any serious research into the problem of carbon sequestration.

I'm not certain that this is the best possible solution -- I think we need to be looking at nuclear fuels instead of better ways to control CO2 emissions from petroleum -- but it's not crazy.

Re:.... Duh? (5, Informative)

TAGmclaren (820485) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525452)

I know this isn't a popular option, but there is only one way left to combat CO2 emissions without winding the planet back to the stone age.

It's nuclear power. There is no other technology available that has sufficient output, whilst not outputting CO2 that will put the Florida Quays any further underwater.

The common argument in return is saving CO2 isn't much use if you make the planet uninhabitable due to reactors melting down. Well, the Chinese, with some help from the Germans, have very kindly solved this problem for us [wired.com] . Go check the link out - it's to wired.com - they have developed a nuclear reactor that doesn't go critical when the coolant system is switched off.

We can save the planet, if we're willing to get over the Cold War era stereotypes.

fp! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525297)

first!

Here we go again. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525309)

Global warming may be part of a normal cycle.

Feel free to discuss.

Zero emmisions? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525311)

But it creates *liquid* co2 that needs to be stored?

Re:Zero emmisions? (1)

Ziak (807893) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525357)

someone had to say it..........We can use the c02 to play paintball! Then we will never ever need to use real guns to kill people we can use paintball guns to solove real wars... if your hit you just move off the off and wait till the war is done... and no deaths!

Re:Zero emmisions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525502)

No, no, no. You've got it all wrong. We solve all the world's problems by holding summits. A little Kumbaya, a little incense burning, and suddenly, everybody just wants to put down their strap-on suicide bombs, and just hold hands and smile at each other.

Re:Zero emmisions? (1)

spike1 (675478) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525510)

Yes, I was wondering that too... Now, I may be being a bit dense, here, but... CO2 doesn't HAVE a liquid alotrope. It goes straight from solid to gas when it melts, so how do they make *liquid* CO2?

Wait just a minute... (1)

jhtrih (218203) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525313)

Does this mean that I can continue to drive my gas-guzzling tank? I am so for this, I terrorizing people on the road more so than the environment!

Re:Wait just a minute... (0, Offtopic)

AsbestosRush (111196) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525369)

I'll be happy to oblige you by leaving a honda silverwing shaped impression on your bumper. I'll be shure that I have a full tank so that when you do kill me by impact, your truck's engine compartment will burn.

Options Are good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525324)

I am glad the there are people in the world that think of these things. The only concern I have is the idea of putting the liquid CO2 in the ground. What impact will that have on other systems of our planet?

Zero Emissions? (2, Insightful)

Laivincolmo (778355) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525326)

I thought it had CO2 as an output...?

Methane source? (4, Interesting)

Noehre (16438) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525329)

And where exactly is all of this methane going to come from?

You can convert coal and oil to methane, but it isn't a clean process by any stretch of the imagination.

I doubt existing natural gas supplies would last long under this proposed plan.

Re:Methane source? (3, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525350)

Lots and lots of Hormel Chili.......
*Ducks*

Re:Methane source? (4, Funny)

milgr (726027) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525396)

Cows.

Or perhaps pig manure, ala Mad Max.

Re:Methane source? (4, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525421)

And where exactly is all of this methane going to come from?

The article neglected to mention that beans were to be enforced as the staple diet for the whole planet. Initially every citizen will be expected to report daily to their nearest power plant for 'fuel' retrieval but it is envisaged that within a few years there will be sufficient levels of methane for direct extraction from the air in the major cities.

It goes without saying a ban on all naked flames will be required in the major metropolitan areas.

Re:Methane source? (4, Interesting)

slackerboy (73121) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525423)

And where exactly is all of this methane going to come from?

Well, if we're smart, we'd set up big anaerobic digestors as part of our wastewater treatment systems and capture the methane produced as a byproduct. Two birds, one stone. (Incidentally, a number of landfills already do this to generate onsite power rather than just flaring it off.)

Re:Methane source? (1)

Noehre (16438) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525586)

Which is unlikely to produce close to enough methane.

Re:Methane source? (1)

Bobdoer (727516) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525481)

Didn't you see Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome? They're going to have a guy called Master Blaster harvest it from pigs which they keep underground.

Duh!

Re:Methane source? (1)

sporty (27564) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525524)

beans beans the musical fruit?

Re:Methane source? (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525573)

there are huge reserves of methane hydrate off of the coast of the united states.

Re:Methane source? (2, Interesting)

Omega1045 (584264) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525581)

There are huge methane beds near coal, like in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming. They have experienced a minor methane economic boom (seriously, no pun intended) in the last couple of years in the northeast corner of WY. Along with the methane wells, a lot of water is also produced from the wells. There has been discussion about injecting the water back into the well. However, it might be possible to inject the liquid CO2 there instead, and clean the water for use by population or industry.

That's just daft! (1)

delta_avi_delta (813412) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525335)

NEW MIRACLE CURE!! Lets freeze the carbon dioxide blanketing the earth, and store it underground! Genius! Is this the best we can come up with? Pretty soon someone is going to suggest we blast it into space...

Re:That's just daft! (1)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525385)

Lets freeze the carbon dioxide blanketing the earth, and store it underground! Genius! Is this the best we can come up with?

Well, that's where it came from in the first place...

NEW MIRACLE CURE (1)

to_kallon (778547) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525425)

i agree, storing it underground is insane!
i've got a much better idea:
LET'S BLAST IT INTO SPACE!

Re:That's just daft! (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525515)

Lets freeze the carbon dioxide blanketing the earth, and store it underground! Genius!

Considering it started out underground in the form of oil, and we took it out and dumped it into the atmosphere, it only seems appropriate, doesn't it?

What to do with excess Co2 (3, Funny)

Usagi_yo (648836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525345)

"They would consume methane and oxygen and produce liquid carbon dioxide, which could be sequestered underground." I'll guess we'll put it with the spent nuclear fuel rods.

Re:What to do with excess Co2 (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525579)

The problem IMHO isn't too much CO2, it's not enough plant life on the planet to soak it up.

Still burning hydrocarbons though (4, Interesting)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525346)

It produces less radioactive waste then coal-fired plants, but could we please sink more into solar energy sources? By some estimates, we'll begin the end of primary production in the persian gulf within the next decade. Venezualia and the Ukraine may stretch the world's oil supplies by a few years, but the sooner we can get alternatives up and running, the less it's gonna suck when we run out of the cheap oil.

--
It's all about the cash [slashdot.org]

Re:Still burning hydrocarbons though (1)

orion41us (707362) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525532)

Ummmm.... Hydrocarbons/coal make radioactive waste?? - I think you mean fission-fired plants....

Will they ever learn? (5, Insightful)

TimmyDee (713324) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525348)

Sequestering CO2 underground is tantamount to screwing our kids over -- again! Burying liquid CO2 will only result in it's boiling at a later point in time, at which point those that live above it will suffocate (this has already happened in Africa, I believe) and we'll get a really killer (as in bad) positive feedback mechanism with respect to climate change. Warm that area, warm it's contained CO2. That CO2 then boils, enters the atmosphere, and adds to the problem.

What we need is real solutions, not some half-assed band-aid effort. This is not a solution, but a cop-out.

Re:Will they ever learn? (3, Informative)

Noehre (16438) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525484)

The CO2 is a liquid because of the pressure, not because it is really cold.

"Warming it up" won't make it boil.

Sequester the CO2 in Coca Cola (5, Funny)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525352)

Have a safe planet and a smile.

Re:Sequester the CO2 in Coca Cola (1)

Angstroem (692547) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525464)

...not unless you keep the drinkers from burping.

Re:Sequester the CO2 in Coca Cola (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525575)

Tell Bill I said have a Coke and smile and shut the fuck up.

(sorry couldn't help myself)

Methanol Power Plants? (2, Insightful)

grunt107 (739510) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525361)

Why is it only areas that can be monopolized get wise energy choices like methanol? The reduced-pollution benefits of alcohol have been known for over 2 decades, yet no politician wants to force the issue on ethanol-burning transportation. Instead it's oil-powered hydrogen fuel cells.

Re:Methanol Power Plants? (2, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525430)

"yet no politician wants to force the issue on ethanol-burning transportation"

That's because ethanol takes a significant amount of energy to produce, often more than you get out when you burn it. Now, it may be possible, in areas where there's consistent sunshine, to use solar heating in ethanol production, but it will require a lot of non-ethanol energy from some souce to produce that ethanol.

It also introduces new safety problems of its own. AFAIR ethanol burns invisibly, so it's not exactly an ideal fuel to have in a crash.

Reduce Demand, Not Supply (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525368)

Typical approach, sate the demand rather than reduce it. Once cheap new power is on line everyone will put a heavier draw on it and we'll be back where we are. Oh and the methane magically appears out of nowhere (which is a good thing, because there are expected to be natural gas shortages this winter) and that CO2 sequestered underground* Sure would be a drag if we built up massive demand then finally ran out of energy, rather than weaning ourselves of it. Those rascals who live in self sufficient homes, they'll feel the full fury of our wrath when they look at us all smug while we're stranded and frozen. Grrrr!

* Don't you just love that phrase? It's like 'solutions'. My waste solution is to sequester my used food wrappers and banana peels in the city dump. Hey, that does sound better than stinking up the environment with trash, doesn't it? OTOH the next time I serve jury duty, now that I know what 'sequestered' means I'll fight 'em tooth an nail.

liquid? (1)

wankledot (712148) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525388)

Doesn't CO2 sublimate from solid to gas? Is there such thing as liquid CO2?

(Highschool chem education in full effect, please correct me if I'm wrong)

Re:liquid? (2, Informative)

TimmyDee (713324) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525426)

It depends on the pressure, I believe. If you place CO2 under pressure and not freeze it, it will liquify.

Re:liquid? (3, Informative)

theparanoidcynic (705438) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525440)

It sublimates directly at atmospheric pressure. It will form a liquid at high pressures however.

Awesome Development (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525406)

They've expanded the definition of zero. It now includes "quite a lot as long as it can be buried".

I bet our presidential candidates could make good use of this new zero.

Non convincing. (2, Informative)

FiReaNGeL (312636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525411)

"Work on such a system should start as soon as possible, since CO2 levels leaped up 2 ppm in the past two years as global warming becomes more of a reality."

Please study statistics. Please realize that a sample over 2 years when Earth existed for billions of years don't mean a thing. Global warming may be a reality, as it may be caused by humans, or part of a natural cycle, or part of a natural cycle human activity accelerated.

In my book, 2 ppm over 2 years, considering error and all, isn't a good reason to start producing these plants 'as soon as possible'.

More CO2 is worse. (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525415)

Compressing the CO2 to liquid, and storing it underground, takes energy. So these new plants would be even less efficient than our current plants. Which means producing more CO2 per joule of energy generated. Less efficient plants just postpone a bigger disposal problem to the increasingly bombarded future. How about investing that money in a renewable energy *source*, like biomass, solar, wind or tide? Or more efficient bioreactors for separating electrons from petro fuels, cutting emissions proportionately to increased efficiency?

I am George W. Bush and I approve this message ... (1, Funny)

Triumph The Insult C (586706) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525416)

There is no such thing as global warming

enviromentalists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525420)

Sigh, why does people assume higher C02 levels or changes in gas levels are a product of industy? It could be but there's a lot of other things is could be. It could be ocean polution cutting into the flora that's converting it to oxygen. Hell, it could be a very nature process that is in a peak and about to drop. Nature is dynamic, shifting, changing it's really impossible for us to say what causes what. My personal opinion is that: In the long run we need to look into way ways of harnassing the by-products of industry to make it cyclic, as opposed to simple efficient though that is also a noble goal.

Carbon sequestration (4, Informative)

GangstaLean (102189) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525432)

IGCC (integrated gas combined cycle) coal plants basically can be retrofitted to do this, at a lower cost than CH3, but the stable long-term options for carbon sequestration seem to be:
  1. CaO +CO2 -> CaCO3, conversion to limestone using lime. Problem, most people get lime from baking limestone.
  2. Capped oil well or deep aquifer storage in gaseous form.
  3. liquid "bubbles" that are thermodynamically unstable, sink them to the bottom of the ocean or other.

The problem with all of these is you have to worry about the re-emergence of the CO2. Limestone seems like a good option because you just have to keep it dry. The downside is that limestone is heavy and even though the production is exothermic, producing lime has not been worked out. Pressurizing CO2 and storing it underground works, unless it leaks out. Then you have the same problem. Liquid bubbles are good if you have a very high pressure place to store them (the ocean), but the long term effect is acidification of the ocean and exhaustion of the carrying capacity (estimated to be around 1000-1500Gtons, we produce around 3Gtons/year).

There aren't any easy answers. However long term, since coal is about 57% of current electricity in the U.S., it's not going away. What carbon sequestration will do is allow us to bridge the gap economically and technologically between high and low carbon fuel sources.

I'm a big fan of wind, but there are still lots of hurdles.

Re:Carbon sequestration (1)

freqres (638820) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525576)

I wouldn't count on wind. Methane production will break wind.

Zero Emission Power Plants Using Solid Oxide Fuel (5, Informative)

Mstrgeek (820200) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525437)

This is a well written PDF that was very educational dealing with Zero Emission Power Plants Using Solid Oxide Fuel Cells and Oxygen Transport Membranes

http://www.netl.doe.gov/publications/proceedings /01/vision21/v211-5.PDF

Title is wrong... (1)

cr0y (670718) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525443)

If it puts out CO2 then it isn't zero emissions, It can only be dubbed zero emissions if it takes IN something and puts OUT NOTHING. The fact that it puts out CO2 instead of other chemicals really isn't the point.

wikipedia link for methanol (2, Interesting)

k3v0 (592611) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525448)

Methanol [wikipedia.org]

The only way this will be economically feasible... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525449)

...is if we use neutron emissions to transmute the CO2 into gold.

--AP in economics from Devry Institute

unless you know... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525458)

since CO2 levels leaped up 2 ppm in the past two years as global warming becomes more of a reality.

Well this would be a problem if humans produced any real quantity of co2....the thing is 300 gigtons of co2 is produced a year from natural causes and humans only produce 6 gigtons...the more likely couse of increased co2 is that carbon sinks are going though a natural cycle and are currently absorbing less at this time....or it is possible that natrual production of co2 has increased.

stendec@gmail.com

seems wrong --- entropy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525461)

It just seems wrong ... the heat pullled out of the CO_2 has to go somewhere. In practice gas compression is not a reversible process so total entropy has to go up. There is no magic to be had. This is almost as stupid as Dub's goal of building a hydrogen economy by converting fossil fuels.

The language we use... (2, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525462)

Storing CO2 emissions underground is not the same as zero emissions.

Moving oil from underground to the surface is not the same as "producing" oil.

And breeder reactors do not create more fuel than they consume.

These may all be worthy activities, but let's try not to engage in magical thinking.

As Barry Commoner observed: "Everything must go someplace. Everything is connected to everything else. There is no such thing as a free lunch."

Google operating system - the next MS ?? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525501)

First Google was cool and independent. Now with e-mail account, "G" searchbox included in your favourite browser, maybe a browser of their own, instant messaging, shareholders onboard, and... a desktop?

What's next? The Google operating system? Are we looking at the beginnings of a next-generation Microsoft-like empire?

Why not just.. (1)

olman (127310) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525503)

There's perfectly good technology for producing emission-free power. I do believe it involves atoms.

This one would produce a shitload of liquid CO2. Even the article states it's challenging storing 500x the amount of CO2 oil companies do these days.

I suppose it's just a matter of time until the thetans will land and provide us with free energy. That's why we don't need emission free energy sources.

I'm dreaming too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525504)

I'm zero-emissions after a six pack and a couple cans of corn. NOT!

ZEPPs Already In Service (1)

ttfkam (37064) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525506)

We get about 20% of all our electricity from them. They're also known as nuclear power plants.

And before some wise ass decides to say, "The waste is an emission," no it's not. At least it's not in the context of this article.

Ahem (1)

linuxwrangler (582055) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525525)

Hurry! This is a limited time offer! While supplies last!

Oh, sorry. It's just that articles like this remind me of what I see on Home Shopping Network when I don't change the channel fast enough.

In this case we have an idea that is not tested, will require development of materials that don't currently exist, and will need a new "supergrid" to support. Further, the effects of the proposed sequestering are not known.

But in spite of that it merits "billions" of research dollars immediately because of the fear of global warming.

We've discussed a lot more practical projects on /. in the last year and these are actually being built (cheaper and/or more efficient solar cells, large wind turbines, inherently-safe nuclear reactors, etc.)

Time to send this guy packing till he comes up with more than vaporware.

Zero emissions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525527)

Try breeder reactors. Say it with me, bree-der re-act-ors. CO2 is still an emission. Lets say there is a leak in the containment system of this lq CO2, ut-ohh now we have gas CO2. Same problem. Come on, next story.

Whats the motivation? (2, Interesting)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525531)

We are weakening pollution restrictions on power plants via changes to Clean Air Act made by the Bush administration. What is the motivation to invest in new clean tech? Very little.

Not meaning to be gloomy, but industry will follow the path of least cost unless standards dictate otherwise. If not for "bleeding heart California liberals and environuts" you wouldn't even have the mileage standards we enjoy today in our vehicles - they were derided as "impossible" by the auto industry in the day.

Use the CO2 (1)

HexaByte (817350) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525539)

Let's not store that CO2, let's use it to hyper-carbonize plants in special greenhouses. We can then compost those plants to create the methane gas we need to run the darn things.

Of course, we could just wake up from our dream states and realize that there is NO zero-effect way to create energy.

OSQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10525564)

Homer: "In this powerplant, we OBEY the laws of thermodynamics!". ...

Wrong Direction (2, Insightful)

sboyko (537649) | more than 9 years ago | (#10525574)

The current trend is toward smaller, more distributed power, not massive single units. Distributing power generation closer to where it is needed reduces transmission line losses. Putting all your generation in a few, large units also causes problems when one or two of them go down at the same time. Can you say brownout?

The real solution is twofold: use more efficient powerplants (use waste heat from powerplants rather than dumping it into rivers and oceans), and more importantly, reduce consumption.
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