Clean Coal in my Stocking

 We live in a power hungry society.  I like living with cheap power.  I know I waste a lot.  I’ve bought a more efficient car, compact fluorescent light bulbs, but I’m still an energy pig.  I just look good because the guy across the street has enough Christmas lights to make a UFO landing strip.  I use almost 10 times more power than  my counterpart living in the ’60’s.  A quadraphonic Hi-Fi doesn’t even hold a candle to a modern HDtv with surround sound… when it comes to power consumption. 😉

One of the most promising power sources here in America is coal.   We have a butt load of it.  America has more coal than Saudi Arabia has oil.  The problem is, coal is a dirty power source.  Efforts to filter and clean the output of a coal fired electric plant can only go so far.  We can’t just build higher smokestacks anymore, either.

There is another alternative, though.  Instead of letting the output go up the smokestack, some are proposing to entomb it underground.  The Earth’s crust has many pockets in it.  Oil and water gather in those pockets.  Empty pockets can be used as banks to store carbon dioxide.  Emissions from a coal plant can be directed into an empty aquifer or dome structure, encasing it there instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.  We can assume that a dome holding oil for millions of years should safely encase our CO2.

Department of Energy Carbon sequestration. Another DOE SiteCarbon Sink Article on Wikipedia.

3 Responses to “Clean Coal in my Stocking”

  1. Manuel Says:

    Well, we need to come up with something because coal is just way dirty!

  2. jackalope Says:

    I heard about the underground process on NPR yesterday. Apparently the residue after this particular coal energy process is all carbon dioxide which is then converted to a liquid that would be pumped underground instead of contributing to the greenhouse effect. This led me to wonder what the unforeseen seismic consequences of this might be…adding anything to something else usually requires some sort of shifting to accomodate the extra matter…

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