'Clean coal' is smoke and mirrors

Submitted by Green Left Weekly on Fri, 02/03/2007 - 08:18

'Clean coal' is smoke and mirrors- by Ben Courtice
9 February 2007

Australian coal-mining companies and Prime Minister John Howard are promoting "clean coal" as a technology that will enable the coal industry to continue its exports while supposedly cleaning up the greenhouse-gas emissions from the burning of this coal.

According to the Australian Coal Association (ACA), clean-coal technologies "reduce emissions, reduce waste, and increase the amount of energy gained from each tonne of coal". These measures focus on capturing and storing the carbon dioxide gas emitted from burning coal to power electricity generation.

The main carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology being promoted by the Howard government is "carbon geosequestration" — the pumping of huge amounts of liquified CO_2 into deep underground cavities and keeping it there for thousands of years.

In September 2004, ABC TV's Catalyst science program pointed out that do this with all of the CO_2 emitted in just one day from Australia's 24 coal-fired power stations would require pumping into underground cavities the equivalent of a one-square kilometre lake of 200-litre drums of liquified CO_2 - every day!

This technology is being researched with optimists predicting it will be available in "demonstration" form in 10 years. But as Catalyst reporter Mark Horstman observed: "To make geosequestration work is an engineering feat on a scale bigger than anything we've ever tried in Australia. It begs the question — wouldn't the effort be better spent on energy technologies that don't create carbon dioxide in the first place?"

full article: http://www.greenleft.org.au/2007/698/36270
[ClimateChangeAction] 'Clean coal' is smoke and mirrors
Date: Sunday 10:54:54
From: glparramatta glparramatta at greenleft.org.au



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