The most effective, proven atmospheric carbon capture technology is nature.
Thursday's Energy Absurdity: UN Casts Doubt on Atmospheric CCS
[Follow me on Twitter at @EnergyAbsurdity]
I just love this story, mainly due to the credulous manner in which it is reported by E&E News.
The following passage especially cracks me up:
There are two main ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere and oceans. One is to cultivate or protect CO2-hungry plants like trees and seagrasses. The other is to deploy carbon removal technology such as direct air capture, which uses fans, filters, piping and energy to pull CO2 from the atmosphere and pump it permanently underground.
In recent years, Congress has provided billions of dollars in subsidies to help establish the direct air capture industry in the U.S.
But the U.N. panel appears to favor so-called natural approaches.
“Engineering-based removal activities are technologically and economically unproven, especially at scale, and pose unknown environmental and social risks,” the panel wrote in a lengthy note released last week. “These activities do not contribute to sustainable development, are not suitable for implementation in the developing countries and do not contribute to reducing the global mitigation costs, and therefore do not serve any of the objectives of the Article 6.4 mechanism.”
Wait, what? The U.N. panel “appears to favor so-called natural approaches”??? You mean, like planting trees and stuff, or something?
Seriously, who other than a journalist working at a leftwing activist platform would insert the phrase “so-called” into that sentence?
Now, some might think this won’t make the management team at Oxy happy, right? After all, last May it announced that “Construction of the world’s largest facility for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) will begin in 2021, in a partnership between Carbon Engineering and Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum.”
But wait: Maybe it will make Oxy’s management team happy after all, given that the company advised investors a few months later, in November 2022, that “inflationary pressures” were forcing it to increase its estimated investment in that plant by a whopping 22%.
But wait, there’s more!
Just two weeks ago, Oxy further advised its investors that “it will distribute any excess cash from high oil prices to shareholders instead of funding direct air capture (DAC) plants.”
Obviously, this atmospheric capture stuff is a lot more costly and less profitable than expected, even with IRA subsidies. Which, of course, tells the tale of most aspects of this so-called (to use an E&E News writer’s turn of phrase) energy transition, doesn’t it?
Why, yes. Yes it does.
Furthermore, the U.N. Panel described in the E&E story also believes that the technology for the atmospheric carbon capture endeavor is not yet ready for prime time, which again tells the tale of most aspects of this energy transition.
This seems a great time to remind my readers that literally every aspect of this “transition” is a direct result of central planners, mainly in Western governments, trying to force a “transition” that defies the laws of thermodynamics, physics and supply and demand into being via command and control mandates and subsidies. None of this is happening organically, and that is always, throughout human history, a recipe for disaster.
When will we ever learn these simple lessons and stop repeating the same old mistakes over and over and over again?
That is all.
I realise that the gist of this post is not about the technical merits of DAC but it should be emphasised that it is a complete non-starter because it causes more CO2 emissions than it captures. Why ? it's because you need a lot of power to shift air through the equipment and you need a lot of heat to regenerate the stuff that absorbs the CO2. Where does the power come from ? By burning fuel that puts CO2 into the atmosphere. Even if it was totally renewable power, it would be more effective to use it to displace that used in CO2 emitting industries. Costing in the region of $600 - 1000 per ton of CO2 captured, the only reason for having DAC is to enable organisations to greenwash.
“An iron law of the modern administrative state is that the solution to regulatory failure is always to give regulators more power.” That’s the key to understanding Federal Reserve Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr’s autopsy, released Friday, of Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) failure.