domingo, 10 de junho de 2012

CO(2) global sequestration robs your oxygen

Companies like Chevron, Shell and British Petroleum are setting the stage for the extermination of life on Earth, chemist Antonio Germano Gomes Pinto said in an e-mail submitted to this blog today. These companies have been instrumental in releasing enormous amounts of fossil fuels into the biosphere. As fossil fuels are oxidized through combustion processes, they are transformed in CO(2) (carbon dioxyde) which causes the greenhouse effect and its known harmful consequences for the planet’s climate. Now those companies are planning to get rid of the CO(2) in a way Pinto qualifies as genocidal. Their approach for reducing CO(2) emission is to capture the CO(2) from industrial facilities which are large emission sources. After capture, the CO(2) would be compressed, transported, most likely by pipeline, and injected in the subsurface into deep rock formations with the capability of storing the CO(2). This emissions reduction approach is called ‘CO(2) capture and storage’, the worst possible approach for carbon sequestration, or ‘carbon capture and storage’ (CCS), says Pinto. CO(2) is a gas, and as such it has to be compressed at the expenses of high amounts of energy. Once stored, it exerts permanent pressure against the walls of the vessels wherein it is restrained. As a consequence, the CO(2) stored in deep rock formations can slowly leak back to the atmosphere. In the event of an earthquake for example, large volumes of the gas can rapidly reach the atmosphere, causing intoxications of catastrophic dimensions, explains Pinto. A ‘gaseous tsunami’ could instantly kill millions of living things in its way, because CO(2) is heavier than air, says Pinto. Yet another - perhaps more serious - damage to life on Earth would result from the sequestration of oxygen in the form of CO(2) deposits. For each carbon atom buried as CO(2), there are two oxygen atoms that are simultaneously entrapped; these oxygen atoms are missed in the atmosphere. If, for example, 44 tonnes of CO(2) are buried, then 32 tonnes of oxygen are automatically removed from the atmosphere, and only 12 tonnes of carbon are sequestrated. As a result, the valuable oxygen atoms would not be available for plant and animal respiration any more, and we would choke. The Quest CCS Project-Carbon Capture and Storage Project aims at capturing and burying 1 million tonnes of CO(2) each year. This means that some 727 thousand tonnes of oxygen are going to be captured from the atmosphere each ear. At this pace, animal life including human life would be extinct in 50 years, foresees Pinto. The only safe solution for carbon sequestration is burying only carbon, never CO(2). Burying charcoal (also called ‘bio-char’) by farmers for example is generally considered as the best, cheapest and safest way to reduce atmospheric CO(2) because charcoal is stable for thousands of years. For more information contact Antonio Germano Gomes Pinto by e-mail:

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