Government not learning from its mistakes

The UK Government has launched another 1 billion competition to encourage carbon capture and storage. Its previous competition collapsed after Scottish Power abandoned its carbon capture plant in Fife.

It is still politically incorrect to say that CCS technology is unworkable, though most of the engineers I know have been aware of this uncomfortable fact for years.

To make the technology sound attractive, the phrase 'Clean Coal' was invented. Anyone opposing 'clean coal' was, by implication, in favour of polluting the environment.

A nice illustration of political-speak.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey demonstrated his ignorance of the science when he said this week that the potential rewards from carbon capture and storage were immense.

This time the 1 billion in funding will be used on a wider range of projects, including gas power stations and industrial plants involved as part of group schemes. They will attempt to do in four years 1 what the rest of the world has failed to do in several decades - develop CCS to a commercial scale.

They will also be eligible to spend another 125 million on research and development.

One is reminded of the enormous amounts of money spent on the TSR2 in the sixties. The only difference, a cynic might say, is that the TSR2 actually worked.

It is time that this waste of money was stopped.

The reasons why CCS is unworkable are described on the Carbon Capture page.

A more important point, however, is this; CCS is totally unnecessary. There is no evidence that carbon dioxide is an environmental threat. None of any kind.

Water shortage, on the other hand, is a problem in the UK which needs immediate attention; we have already been told of hosepipe bans to be implemented this summer, and many farmers in parts of England have left fields unplanted because they will be unable to irrigate.

1.125 billion would be better spent in the building of additional new reservoirs and in working out what to do when it doesn't rain.

N.D., habitat21, 6 Apr 12

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12016-2020, according to the press release.

Note to students ... please do not take my word for any of this. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions.

You might start by working out how much carbon dioxide would be produced by a gas-powered power station delivering 2000 MW for 12 months continuously using methane as a fuel.

Then work out the carbon dioxide volume, assuming it solidifies or liquefies. (density about 1.5 gm/cc for solid, 1.1 gm/cc for liquid).

Then find out the area of land covered by, say, an average city or small county, and see how deep you'd have to stack solid carbon dioxide to fill a container of that cross-sectional area with 50 years-worth of emissions.

Then ask yourself if such a thing is feasible....

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