Clean Coal Carbon Storage

The Coal Industry's Last Blitz is Failing

Written by Green Chip Stocks
Posted June 16, 2009 at 4:52PM

It's not often that Green Chip Stocks will refer you to Texas energy execs for straight talk...

But when it comes to carbon capture and storage, old oilmen may be the most no-nonsense folks out there.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners CEO Rich Kinder told the UK's Guardian newspaper recently that carbon capture and storage, the plan on which "clean coal" technology rests, is a bunch of hooey until legal liability gets sorted out.

When it comes to burying CO2 from coal-fired power plants, Kinder Morgan is not "willing to sign up for guaranteeing to the U.S. government or to whomever that it will forever stay in the ground in this salt dome in Louisiana — and if it doesn't — just come back and see ole Kinder Morgan and we'll make you good for it."

We don't think the Obama Administration's FutureGen clean coal initiative is a winner, because it's the result of a last-ditch blitz by the coal industry to keep America at least slightly sooty for a while longer.

Kinder Morgan, the nation's leading CO2 pipeline provider, isn't falling for Obama's pump-fake, and neither are we.

Kinder Morgan runs 1,300 miles of conduit for excess gas between Colorado and Texas, for the purpose of injecting it into the ground for a process called Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).

But in EOR, CO2 comes back out with the (ideally) gushing oil it's just pressurized. Kinder Morgan and others have enough doubt about just sticking the stuff in the ground—in underground salt dome formations, especially—that they won't use their CO2 transport expertise to help sock the gas away.

Clean coal isn't even included in the new GOP "All of the above" energy plan which emphasizes expanding oil and gas leases. That approach includes 20 new nuclear plants, which of course brings its own waste storage problems.

Why get bogged down in FutureGen, whose patrons are companies like Southern Company, Peabody Energy (the world's biggest private sector coal company), and China Huaneng Power?

Keep up with Green Chip for the real deal on FutureGen and where America's energy future lies.

Sam Hopkins