Carbon Capture & Storage. CCS

Over the years there’s been a lot of talk (by those that don’t know) about CCS & how it will ‘Save the Planet’. The basic idea is to separate & capture CO2 from flue gases (about 7 billion tons/yr), compress it & pump it into underground caverns, simple…until you look into the practicalities of actually doing it …then the idea goes pear shaped. It is very inefficient; ~ 20-30% of the energy produced is absorbed by the process resulting in more fuel being wasted.

Where will you find the large caverns in suitable impervious strata close to the production site? If not there are even more energy losses in transporting to distant (empty oil wells ?) ones.
Additionally there is the huge capital cost of this colossal extra infrastructure & massively increased water requirements.
RWE predict that power plants using CCS will accumulate additional costs of over 60 – 80% per kilowatt hour.
CCS has still never been demonstrated at full scale, only a few small scale pilot plants, its costs are uncertain but huge.

A large volume of CO2 in one place is dangerous. If it suddenly escapes, it will asphyxiate all animal life in the vicinity. The gas is heavier than air, and takes a while to safely remix.
This has happened in Africa in 1986, when a sudden release of a large volume of CO2 from Lake Nyos in Cameroon, Africa, killed 1,700 people & 3,500 livestock living within 15 miles of the lake.

Lake Nyos disaster, Cameroon, 1986: the medical effects of large scale emission of carbon dioxide


Most if not all gas fields contain water. The carbon dioxide will react with this water and create carbonic acid which may weaken the geological formation. Also “supercritical” CO2 is corrosive & an amazing solvent. You need to be really, really sure it will not find a way out of anywhere it is stored. (It’s same as when you fart on the bottom of the swimming pool, it makes ”U” turn and comes to the surface, as compacted gas, with revenge! )

Carbon Capture & Storage CCS.

Fuller explanation –
Your questions answered

Conclusion: Inefficient, Costly, Impractical, Hazardous, Unnecessary;
even Greenpeace & IPCC say it’s not viable. & & (58 page analysis)

Jan 2017£100m wasted on cancelled carbon capture project.

Natural CCS(carbon sequestration)

Anything man can do, nature does better, nature does everything better than you.’ (not Irving Berlin)

The slow way (millions of years)CO2 reacts with minerals to form carbonate minerals – these in turn form some of the most stable sedimentary rock formations there are:

Limestone: (CaCO3) Calcium carbonate.

Chalk: The most common forms are (CaCO3) & (CaO) calcium oxide.

Marble: is crystalline metamorphosed limestone or dolomite

Dolomite: ( CaMg(CO3)2 ) calcium magnesium carbonate

E.g. The White Cliffs of Dover, the Dolomites, Chalk Downs, Derbyshire…. It is an ongoing process.

The fast way (decades) – Airborne CO2 is naturally transported by winds; plants, coral & phytoplankton absorb it increasing photosynthesis resulting in more plant growth that will absorb more CO2, providing more carbon based food & fuel. It’s the Carbon cycle, we live in a carbon world, & like it or not we are all part of it. Also see Ocean ‘acidification’ and CO2 for Plants
Increased CO2, is increasing oceanic carbon sequestration by the biological pump.

Chemical Laws for Distribution of CO2 in Nature –

  • Fascinating paper on CO2 in the ice core record (shows yet again that science is never settled).
    It discusses all the practical problems in coring, extracting, transporting, storing, handling, and testing the ice core samples; also many relevant details of firnification (The process of firn formation from snow and of transformation of firn into glacier ice ).
    All these processes could result in a comparative lowering of the CO2 levels recorded leading to uncertainty in historic CO2 levels.

Should we celebrate CO2?” Lecture by Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace.

See also – Ocean ‘acidification’