Malina mulls it over
by Mike Malina
Mike Malina is the director and founder of Energy Solutions Associates.
Sweeping carbon under the carpet
As a concept, what does carbon capture and storage (CCS) convey to you? What message does it send out?
To me it smacks of desperation. Bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
£1 billion is being made available by the Government to support the development costs of early CCS projects, along with another £125 million to develop research, including funding a new UK CCS research centre. I wonder where the Government is going with this?
Do we have time to mess around developing this unproven technology? What are the energy input implications of the process of capturing, compressing and pumping carbon into the ground?
The CCS process is energy intensive and so more energy would be used as a result making things a lot worse!
In fact an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage
concluded that up to 25 per cent more energy would be used to implement this process.
There have also been a number of scientific reports that have concluded that CCS is completely unviable and uneconomic, as well as saying that it would take another decade to actually implement on a significant scale anyway. Do we have another decade for yet another gamble to prevent severe climate change?
Surely £1bn spent on reducing energy use in the first place will be far more productive, as well as putting more money into R&D for smarter low carbon technologies and building controls and systems.
How about putting resources into smarter grid technologies or making dynamic demand a reality? How about more R&D in the Hydrogen economy?
We need a strategy to use less energy and the energy we do use, a lot more efficiently.
Carbon capture and storage is tantamount to sweeping carbon under the carpet and, worse, is putting the real issue aside and leaving it for future generations to sort out. It smacks of a policy of defeat and surrender to the powerful "carbon business as usual industry".
And a final big question - who is going to pay for this in the long run?