12 May 2011 – From Climate Progress: Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has dug itself into quite a  deep hole.  Costs remain very, very high (see Harvard study: “Realistic” first-generation CCS costs a whopping $150 per ton of CO2 — 20 cents per kWh!).  And nobody wants the CO2 stored underground anywhere near them (see CCS shocker: “German carbon capture plan has ended with CO2 being pumped directly into the atmosphere”).

Now comes a new study in the Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, “Sequestering carbon dioxide in a closed underground volume,” by Christene Ehlig-Economides, professor of energy engineering at Texas A&M, and Michael Economides, professor of chemical engineering at University of Houston.  Here are its blunt findings:

Published reports on the potential for sequestration fail to address the necessity of storing CO2 in a closed system. Our calculations suggest that the volume of liquid or supercritical CO2 to be disposed cannot exceed more than about 1% of pore space. This will require from 5 to 20 times more underground reservoir volume than has been envisioned by many, and it renders geologic sequestration of CO2 a profoundly non-feasible option for the management of CO2 emissions.

The study concludes:

In applying this to a commercial power plant the findings suggest that for a small number of wells the areal extent of the reservoir would be enormous, the size of a small US state.  Conversely, for more moderate size reservoirs, still the size of Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay reservoir, and with moderate permeability there would be a need for hundreds of wells. Neither of these bodes well for geological CO2 sequestration and the findings of this work clearly suggest that it is not a practical means to provide any substantive reduction in CO2 emissions, although it has been repeatedly presented as such by others.  Read the whole story