Sequestration of Carbon

Carbon containing fuels (peat and so-called fossil fuels) were formed by sequestration of carbon containing detritus of organisms into bogs and sediments. Coal, oil and natural gas have been formed over many millions of years from this detritus and were stored often deep in the Earth's crust. Therefore, pressing the carbon dioxide into former oil and gas containing layers as well as coal seams has been proposed as a climate change mitigation measure. It has already been used in the USA (Texas) to enhance oil recovery. Estimates of the storage capacity (see Haszeldine, 2006) range into hundreds of GtC, in form of liquid CO2 that, deeper than 800 m below surface, fills as a hypercritical liquid the pores of the layers that contained oil and gas and contain at present saline water, and mixes with it. The key question will be: Is the additional energy needed to separate CO2 from the flue gas, the transport to the "burial" site and pressing it into the former oil and gas deposits small enough to stay economic vis-à-vis renewable energies with steep learning curves in an environment of political support? For more details see chapter 9.3.

In the context of sequestration two other strongly differing approaches are also discussed: Firstly, sequestration of CO2 resulting from power plants using recent biomass, either in the form of remnants from agriculture, or energy plantations (rape seed, sugar cane, miscanthus, rapidly growing trees), and secondly creation of soils in the tropics containing large amounts of charcoal (terra petra in Amazonia), produced in biomass power plant installations as well (Lehmann et al., 2006).

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