While the media and the political class are convulsing themselves about global warming, climate change, or the new brand name, climate crisis, some oil and gas engineers, working for a power company called NET Power, have solved the problem of CO2 emissions while finding a way to preserve the oil and gas and coal industries. Power Magazine explains.
“NET Power achieved first-fire of its commercial-scale 50-MWth (25-MWe) combustor engineered and manufactured by Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions in cooperation with Parametric Solutions in May 2018, after two years of quiet development. The first-of-its-kind sCO2 combustor is critical to the unique cycle, and it is the same size as ones planned for commercial units.“
To try to put the matter in layperson’s terms, the power plant, which has been operating in La Porte, Texas for the past year and a half, uses CO2 that would ordinarily be vented into the atmosphere to turn turbines that generate electricity. Excess CO2 is either sequestered or is shipped to customers that use the gas for industrial products such as carbon fiber or carbon nanotubes. The plant emits zero carbon emissions.
The La Porte plant runs on natural gas. A company called 8Rivers is developing a similar power plant that runs on coal. The first production natural gas power plant that uses the new process is scheduled to come online in 2022.
The news of the zero-emissions natural gas power plant in La Porte has not entered into the worldwide debates over the dangers of climate change. Indeed, the solutions to climate change being offered by most of the Democratic presidential candidates are decidedly hostile to the fossil fuel industry. Bernie Sanders, for example, wants to shut fossil fuels down by government fiat.
“Bernie believes that we must transform our energy system away from fossil fuels, and towards energy efficiency and sustainability. Millions of homes and buildings need to be retrofitted and weatherized, and we need to accelerate the development and use of wind, solar, and other sources of alternative power. Bernie believes energy efficiency is crucial to cleaning up the planet, slowing global climate change, creating thousands of jobs, and making the country more secure by gaining independence from foreign oil.”
Sanders may not have heard that the United States is already independent of foreign oil. Forbes recently reported that the United States exported more fossil fuels than it imported for September and October, effectively achieving energy independence.
Bernie also wants to stop the extraction of oil, gas, and coal.
“To truly address the crisis of global warming, we must cut off the supply of fossil fuels by keeping them in the ground. Preventing further extraction of fossil fuels on public lands will not only reduce the supply, but it will prevent more environmental damage to protected lands.”
Bernie wants to ban the export of oil, gas, and coal, ban drilling on public land, ban offshore drilling, and ban fracking, the process of extracting oil and gas from shale formations. He is also, curiously, against nuclear power even though it is carbon-free.
Bernie is not alone in his hostility to the fossil fuel industry. Elizabeth Warren has a similar policy that calls for ending oil, gas, and coal and going to renewables, solar and wind.
The problem is that the same fossil fuel industry that politicians like Sanders and Warren demonize seems to have solved the carbon emissions problem. Natural gas and coal plants that use the system developed by the La Porte plant will not pump CO2 into the atmosphere as waste but rather use it as a product to be sold.
While conservatives naturally have skepticism about climate change, believing that the crisis, if it exists, is being used as an excuse to remake American society along socialistic lines, carbon capture, as the technology is called, demonstrates that climate change can be fixed without schemes such as the Green New Deal. The United States does not have to lay off the coal miners or fire all of the natural gas frackers. Home and business owners do not have to cover their roofs with solar panels.
Bernie Sanders, for his part, has called carbon capture a “false solution” as Politico points out. He has not explained why he thinks this.