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Doubts over carbon capture - Hugh Conway

28.04.2010

Hugh Conway

A new paper by Christine Ehlig-Economides and Michael J. Economides of Houston University is getting more than a little attention because it claims that CCS (carbon capture and storage) is a deeply flawed concept and that it is impractical as a solution in significantly reducing CO2 emissions.

Their report argues that for CCS to work in ways anticipated, it would take a reservoir the size of a small US state to hold the carbon emissions produced by a single power station.

Previous modelling of the effectiveness of CCS is flawed because it is based on the false belief that pressure feeding carbon into rock structures is constant, argue the authors.

Michael Economides, professor of chemical engineering at Houston University said: "It is like putting a bicycle pump up against a wall. It would be hard to inject CO2 into a closed system without eventually producing so much pressure that it fractured the rock and allowed the carbon to migrate to other zones and possibly escape to the surface."

Governments worldwide are currently looking to develop CCS prototype schemes as a method to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.

The report has come under significant criticism from the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, who told the Guardian newspaper that they believe the report has made inappropriate assumptions about the science and geology.

The British Geological Survey confirmed it was looking at the Economides findings and was hoping to shortly produce a peer-reviewed analysis.

Economides, who has a PhD from Stanford University, said he had seen the arguments against his paper from the API and others and dismissed them as "nonsense" saying vested interests, are protecting a new concept foisted on the world by geologists without proper thought.

"I was a petroleum engineer for many years and soon realised that geologists did not understand flow and the laws of physics, against which you can't argue"

The Economides paper is here: http://twodoctors.org/manual/economides.pdf
 

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