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UK government blew £168m on Cancelled Carbon Capture Projects

How fast can we burn millions of dollars trying to stuff a perfectly good fertilizer down a sinkhole? This fast…

Carbon capture must rank as one of the most flagrantly ridiculous ways to spend money (even more pointless than desal). To capture and bury the CO2 of a coal fired plant we have to spend around 60% more to build every new power station and then throw away 40% the electricity it makes. (See TonyfromOz’s calculations in the link below).

Sputnik News reports on the second collapse of UK funding for Carbon Capture:

The UK Government has wasted US$123 million on a competition to develop technology that will capture carbon emissions. The project was cancelled according to a report, after the Energy Department failed to agree the long-term costs of the competition with the Treasury.

Concerns over the price to consumers led to the competitions demise, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

The report, which was produced by the NAO, warned that it was “currently inconceivable” that the CCS projects would be developed with government support, and that the competition costs did not achieve value for money.

This is not the first time a competition run by the government to kick-start CCS has been cancelled. In 2011, the government having spent U $70 million had to stop the project.

“The department has now tried twice to kick-start CCS in the UK, but there are still no examples of the technology working,” said Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office.

Other failures of carbon capture have also wasted wild amounts of money. The concept is so intrinsically futile we need some kind of miracle techno advance, or we need to break laws of chemistry to get it to work.

TonyfromOz went through the exact details of the Cabon Capture and Storage fantasy. My introduction:

Did you know CCS (carbon capture and storage) requires an industrial plant almost as large as the coal fired power station it is supposed to clean up? Or that it uses fully 40% of the energy of the entire output of the same station?

The central problem is that under conditions we humans like to be in, the CO2 molecule emphatically wants to be a huge voluminous gas. To make it more compact and storable back in the small hole it came from, we either have to change it chemically, or forcibly stuff it in under some combination of extreme pressure or extreme cold. And there aren’t many cold sealed rock vaults in Earth’s thin crust, which rests on a 1000 degree C ball of magma. Any form of chemical, temperature or pressure change uses monster amounts of energy, and there is just no getting around it without fiddling with laws of chemistry. The whole idea of CCS is so insanely unfeasible that in order to stuff a beneficial fertilizer underground it appears we must spend 60% more to build every new power station and then throw away 40% of its output as well.

You can’t make this stuff up. CCS is the threat that makes new coal stations unaffordable in the West, and building those costs into the plans makes cost comparisons with renewables (and nuclear) so much more “attractive”. Anton goes through some provocative numbers. — Jo

Other posts on carbon capture

h/t Colin (Govt Cancels Carbon Capture After Blowing £168 Million) and Pat (Reuters info)

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