Indiana OK's $2 Billion Next Generation Coal Plant

Duke Energy has been approved to build a next generation coal plant that could eventually be fitted with carbon sequestration technology.

The 630 Megawatt plant, which will gasify coal using integrated gasification combined cycle technology. The process separates out regulated pollutants, such as mercury, as well as carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.

“This plant will be hands down the lowest-emitting plant in the country,” said Kurt Waltzer, a Midwest coal expert for the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit organization.

The Indiana utility agency said it ordered Duke to initiate an investigation within six months on the possibility of capturing its CO2 emissions and pumping them into aging oil fields to boost crude output.


Is this a good idea?
From what I’ve been reading elsewhere, when liquified CO2 is pumped underground into these old oil fields, it of course, pressurizes the remaining oil pool making the oil easier to get to the surface.
But the CO2 also combines with the oil lowering its viscosity. This factor also makes it easier to get the oil up to the surface. But the CO2 comes with it because it’s in suspension, much like soda pop.
Now what?
Am I missing something here?

Hey Tom. Thanks - that’s a good lead. Here’s an article on it, but I don’t fully trust it:
The author agrees with you that CO2 infiltrates the oil but then concludes that the CO2 will remain in the well. Perhaps only a small fraction of the CO2 enters the oil, or maybe when the oil hits the well the lack of pressure releases the CO2 from the oil and the CO2 somehow stays there while the oil comes up. Yeah, maybe that’s how it works:

Even if the estimated carbon sequestration is optimistic, though, I think it’s important to consider the alternatives. In Alberta they’ve used water in their wells for quite some time – Fresh Water! while the water table drops and farmers have faced droughts. Amazing. I’d rather they use CO2.

I did a little more reading and, according to a Saskatchewan government site, I found that the Weyburn test site in Saskatchewan is separating the CO2 from the oil once it gets to the surface…it does come back up…and then pumping it back down again. That eliminates the concern I had about CO2 injection.
Much better method than using water. Water…that’s a cross-up priority if I ever heard of one!
On the other hand…in Mobile County, Alabama at the Citronelle oil field, they’re doing the same thing except there was no mention of CO2 sequestration until after the oil field was depleted…

There’s a professor in Calgary, David Keith, who has done research on CO2 capture and storage and other aspects of energy and the environment. Maybe you would find some of his stuff interesting.

There are major differences between the Canadian and US CO2 oil recovery projects. The two Saskatchewan based projects use CO2 scrubbed from a syngas plant in North Dakota (the CO2 is pipelined to the oil field).

All of the US projects use CO2 that is pumped from deep underground natural carbon dioxide deposits. Thus even if the CO2 is “captured” and re-injected there will be some loss and increase of liberated CO2. I don’t know how environmentally friendly these projects are but if they are anything like the US based coal-bed methane projects they will not be clean.

Ian Forrester

It’s ironic that CO2 is being pumped underground to help push to the surface more oil, or methane, so it can be consumed and in doing so…create more CO2

The US projects you mention are disturbing.
They use those natural deposits because of their convenient location. Supposedly, there wasn’t a nearby source of generated “waste” CO2.
I didn’t see any mention of re-injection of this natural CO2, so I have to assume it remains in suspension with the oil until it reaches the refinery, where I expect it is simply vented to the atmosphere…nice…
I did, however, come across a company based in Texas that was acting as a middle-man, capturing waste CO2 from generating plants and using BP pipelines to transport the compressed CO2 to the oil fields. I forgot to record the company name…darn!

Dr. Suzuki,

A real leader brings public focus to the prime problem and the priority cure for same.

This sea of information on your blogsite is entertaining to some, but a diversion that makes Exxon, Chevron and GM SMILE. Debate - procrastinate - Too late!

The priority must be the retrofit of carbon scrub-tech for the tens of thousands of Coal-Gen plants world wide. US power is 52% Coal-Gen. China and India are even more invested in Coal-Gen…

along with Africa*s massive liquifaction Coal plant.. the world*s most prolific pollution generator.

Dr. Suzuki, please, where is YOUR prime focus?

======================== = TG

First, CPP’s go-ahead to their share of the AMP-Ohio coal plant is contingent upon the results of an independent assessment by an engineering consultant (to be selected) of the viability of implementing the ECO2 CO2 carbon capture technology developed by Powerspan Corporation of New Hampshire.

This technology, essentially a CO2 scrubber, is designed to remove 90% of CO2 emissions from the plant’s flue stream, and is being tested in pilot scale at the R.E. Burger powerplant owned and operated by First Energy (NYSE: FE).

If the assessment indicates that the Powerspan ECO2 CO2 scrubber technology is not-ready-for-primetime, CPP is out of the deal.

Second, assuming the new coal plant is built, AMP-Ohio is committed to retiring its 1950’s vintage Gorsuch coal powerplant.

Clearly, replacing an old relic with a new plant benefiting from 90% CO2 capture will lead to substantial CO2 emission reductions, relative to the status quo.
Thus, there is more to the story than might initially appear to the casual reader.
Assuming that both of the above conditions apply, the construction of this new coal plant is actually a good idea, not a bad idea.

The moral of the story is that environmental advocates need not have a rabid knee-jerk reaction against new coal plants, if new coal plant construction results in substantial CO2 emission reductions.

=============================== = TG
PS: Canadian Government refuses license to 2 Electric Vehicle Mfrs .. even though they comply with DOT regs.

Mansbridge news clip:

Guess Exxon, Chevron, Shell, GM et all whispered into Harper*s ear. = TG