clean coal fired plant
Next time you hear someone utter the phrase, “clean coal,” have them take a look at a study just published in the Journal of Petroleum Science & Engineering (that mouthpiece for radical environmentalist propaganda).  The clean coal fantasy is based on the concept of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS)–the carbon dioxide that comes shooting out of the smokestack of a coal-fired power plant is captured and injected underground rather than climbing into the atmosphere where it acts as a greenhouse gas.  That would all be nice except that it’s “profoundly non-feasible,” according to the report.

The problem, it seems, is that the amount of underground space needed for CCS is 5 – 20 times larger than previously assumed.  So, for example, a typical power plant would need an area roughly the size of–oh, say… Delaware to store all its carbon.

Will this report put the kabash on the federal government’s giddy support for clean coal R&D?  The feds handed out $2.4 billion for clean coal research last year and, in February, the President announced the formation of a Carbon Capture and Storage Task Force to speed the development of CCS technology.  The Department of Energy seems determined to pursue CCS despite numerous obstacles, including the astronomical price tag, doubts about whether the stored carbon will actually stay put and that fact that no one’s volunteering to store the stuff in their backyard.  If you know of any massive tracts of North American land that may have escaped cartographer’s notice, please contact the Department of Energy at your earliest convenience.  In the meantime, keep installing those solar panels–there’s plenty of room on your very own roof.

–Erica Etelson

Posted by Danny Kennedy

Danny Kennedy co-founded Sungevity and now serves as strategic advisor. He is an internationally recognized opinion leader on climate and energy issues. He is the author of Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy - and Planet - from Dirty Energy (2012), a book that has been described as the clean energy manifesto for the next greatest generation.