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Refitted to Bury Emissions, Coal Fired Plant Draws Attention

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groovedaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 11:37 AM
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Refitted to Bury Emissions, Coal Fired Plant Draws Attention
NEW HAVEN, W.Va. Poking out of the ground near the smokestacks of the Mountaineer power plant here are two wells that look much like those that draw natural gas to the surface. But these are about to do something new: inject a power plants carbon dioxide into the earth.

A behemoth built in 1980, long before global warming stirred broad concern, Mountaineer is poised to become the worlds first coal-fired power plant to capture and bury some of the carbon dioxide it churns out. The hope is that the gas will stay deep underground for millennia rather than entering the atmosphere as a heat-trapping pollutant.

The experiment, which the company says could begin in the next few days, is riveting the worlds coal-fired electricity sector, which is under growing pressure to develop technology to capture and store carbon dioxide. Visitors from as far as China and India, which are struggling with their own coal-related pollution, have been trooping through the plant.

The United States still depends on coal-fired plants, many of them built decades ago, to meet half of its electricity needs. Some industry experts argue that retrofitting them could prove far more feasible than building brand new, cleaner ones.

Yet the economic viability of the Mountaineer plants new technology, known as carbon capture and sequestration, remains uncertain.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/22/science/earth/22coal....
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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 12:23 PM
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1. They're going to use 30% of electrical output
to sequester 1.5% of the pollution they produce. Would it not make more sense to not produce that 30%, thereby not producing 30% of the normal dose of pollution? What am I missing here?
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 01:23 PM
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2. I think you might be using unrelated numbers.
Edited on Tue Sep-22-09 01:24 PM by kristopher
The article isn't clear, but a possible explanation in the ambiguity would be that the 15-30% quote refers to the plan to sequester 90% of CO2 emissions.

This is never going to be a practical way to deal with CO2. IMO, all it amounts to is an olive branch of hope for the coal industry so that we can make true statement that all options have been explored.
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