I was reading this article about the technologies the IPCC considered woug be required to mitigate climate change. I was astounded when I read that carbon capture is only a viable option if the cost of CO2 is more than 1000$ per ton of CO2. This is such a stravagant cost that I really dont undertand how anyone is still contemplating these carbon capture technologies as a real world solution the global warming problem.
Lets do some very simple numbers to put the 1000$ per ton of CO2 into prespective. The price of electric power around the world varies a lot, different technologies have diferent prices and goverment interference in the electric market is spread worldwide, with different policies in every country. I’m going to use the figure 0.12$ per kWh as the current price in the US and Europe. This price has gone up during the last decade because of the alternative energies like solar and wind, meaning that the cost of producing 1kWh from coal is closer to 0.07$. The specific heat of combustion of coal is 9.46 kWh per kg. Meaning that each kg of coal when burn produces 9.46kWh of thermal energy. This energy is converted to electrical power by means of a turbine with a eficiency of 33-40%. Lets be generous and use 40%, each kg of coal then yields 3.78 kWh of electric power. Or as I prefer to see it 0.264 kg (1 over 3.78) of coal are needed yo produce 1kWh of electric energy. Now the chemical reaction of combustion of coal is simple:
C + O2 —> CO2
Carbon’s atomic weight is 12 g per mol, and Oxigen’s is 16 g per mol. So CO2 molecular weight is 12+2×16=44 g per mol. So each kg of C yields 44/12=3.667 kg of CO2. As we previously calculated that 0.264 kg of C yield kWh though combustion emiting 0.264×3.667=0.969 kg of CO2. At 0.12 $ per kWh this means 0.12/0.969=1.238 $ per kg of CO2 emited or 1238$ per ton of CO2. This number is the result of dividing the cost of energy at the consummers end (this includes the operational cost and benefits of all the companys involved in production, transport and distribution) by the CO2 produced to obtain the energy.
To conclude a world were the cost of a ton of CO2 is 1000$ is one in which the price of electricity is about double of the alredy high compared to fossil fuel operational costs, 0.12 $ per kWh. Since most business require power to operate, the cost of everything basicly doubles aswell. How can anyone consider this viable under any circunstance?
Lets keep in mind that although climate models predict an exponential increase in temperature, the best meassurements available only show a mild increase during the last 50 years, not dissimilar to the one registerd during the first half of the 20th century. More so the temperatures have remained constant for the last 18 years when the CO2 is increasing ever faster. Cimate models also predict exponential sea level rise but meassurements with tidal gouges show a constant, if not decelerating rate of rise. Artic sea ice is now as low as in the 30s not lower and this year’s minimum extent is equal to the 2007’s.