So far, so good. But CCS has two major hurdles. First, it consumes energy--a lot of it. While estimates vary, a coal-fired power plant would have to burn roughly 25 percent more coal to handle carbon sequestration while producing the same amount of electricity. That would mean a vast expansion in mining, transportation costs and byproducts such as fly ash.I like Romney's answer I'll quote here:
Energy is critical, and the President pointed out correctly that production of oil and gas in the U.S. is up -- but not due to his policies, in spite of his policies. Mr. President, all of the increase in natural gas and oil has happened on private land, not on government land. On government land, your administration has cut the number of permits and licenses in half.
If Iím President, Iíll double them and also get the oil from offshore in Alaska, and Iíll bring that pipeline in from Canada. And by the way, I like coal. Iím going to make sure we can continue to burn clean coal. People in the coal industry feel like itís getting crushed by your policies. I want to get America and North America energy independent so we can create those jobs.
But that's the easy part. The harder challenge would be transporting and burying all of this high-pressure CO2. American Electric Power recently began a CCS project at its Mountaineer Plant in West Virginia. The operation captures a few hundred tons of CO2 a day. That's a start--but a typical 500-megawatt power plant produces about 10,000 tons daily. Collectively, America's coal-fired power plants generate 1.5 billion tons per year. Capturing that would mean filling 30 million barrels with liquid CO2 every single day--about one and a half times the volume of crude oil the country consumes. It took roughly a century to build the infrastructure we use to distribute petroleum products. Could we build an even bigger CCS infrastructure of pumps, pipelines and wells quickly enough to hit the ambitious targets the climate bill envisions? Serious plans to engineer--much less finance--such a vast project aren't even on the table.
Here's a final problem: We don't know if the gas will stay buried. We could easily spend hundreds of billions injecting CO2 into the earth only to have it start leaking out again in a few decades. None of this means that CCS is impossible to achieve. But it is a dangerous gamble to assume that it will become technically and economically feasible any time soon."
So the technology sadly isn't there yet to make coal "clean." Yeah, if I were Mitt or you, pushing "clean coal", I'd be embarrassed too. LOL As much as some of us want to be able to use our massive coal deposits now and to stop funding bad guys who hate us, the devil's in the details. It's okay! I'm hoping you just didn't know any better.