Interesting News from California

The cat is out of the bag. It’s impossible to meet the administration’s target of cutting CO2 emissions 80% by 2050 without using carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).

What this really means is that it will probably be impossible to cut CO2 emissions 80% and that worldwide temperatures will reach the tipping point where there will be a climate catastrophe, according to the United Nations IPCC.

The idea that there will be a climate catastrophe due to global warming is, of course, absurd. (Temperatures have remained steady for a decade or more.)

Dr. Elizabeth Burton, Technical Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, spoke at a recent Electric Power Conference in Rosemont, Illinois, where she said, “California couldn’t meet the 80% reduction without CCS for gas turbines.” That’s interesting since California has virtually no coal-fired power plants and must rely on natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) plants for the bulk of its power that doesn’t come from hydro.

She went on to say that the CO2 stream in the flue gas in NGCC plants was only about 25% as concentrated as in coal-fired power plants, which would make it much more difficult to capture the CO2. Furthermore, she indicated it would require that an NGCC plant be derated more than a coal-fired power plant when equipped with carbon capture.

Coal-fired power plants must be derated by around 30%, due to the heavy parasitic load when capturing and compressing CO2 so that it may be sequestered. (Derating means that a power plant produces less electricity for transmission to customers.) It should be noted that no system for capturing CO2 from an NGCC power plant exists today. For that matter, only a few experimental systems exist for capturing CO2 from a coal-fired power plant.

If NGCC plants are derated by more than 30%, it will require building a comparable number of additional NGCC plants to provide the electricity to meet demand. So, not only will consumers be faced with increased cost from the capturing and sequestering of CO2, they will also be faced with the cost of building many more, perhaps double, the number of existing NGCC plants just to maintain the current supply of electricity.

Dr. Burton also said it would cost $70 to $100 per ton to capture CO2 from NGCC plants. This compares to $40 to $80 per ton for coal-fired power plants. This data would suggest that the NGCC plants might have to be derated by 40 to 50%.

In addition to the above information, no one has yet demonstrated that billions of tons of CO2 can be safely sequestered.

While Dr. Burton was talking about California, everything she said also relates to the entire United States. But, in addition, the rest of the country has coal-fired power plants. Building a few hundred coal-fired power plants to replace the electricity lost from installing and operating carbon capture equipment, plus building an additional few hundred NGCC plants, also because of derating, and one can only conclude that cutting CO2 emissions 80% by 2050 is a fool’s errand.

Dr. Burton passed over pipelines as being a trivial matter. The fact is, it will require around 20,000 miles of pipelines in the U.S.,operating at 2,000 psi to transport the CO2 to where it can be sequestered. At $1 – $2 million per mile, the pipelines could cost $20 to $40 billion.

The book, Carbon Folly covers the issue of cutting CO2 emissions 80% by 2050 in greater detail. (See below.)

The tragedy is that the EPA, some state governments and this administration are attempting to force us to go down this path.

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