LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted June 29, 2022
Once up a time Illinois became the Prairie State (1818) but it made me wonder where the prairie went. The commercial steel plow was invented (1837) and then produced so modern agriculture to reap the benefit of turning the prairie-grasses over (literally) into very productive croplands. Now we have generations of green dreamers (post 1960s) who declare carbon dioxide is going to destroy our planet. Do they not realize how much the plant kingdom on Earth depends on natural CO2? Crop production has benefitted from variable levels of the infamous ‘greenhouse gas’. Illinois and neighbor states have become targets for CCS; Carbon Capture & Sequestration. Why threaten productive croplands and even residential acres with a project to save the planet?
Our Earth is a very big globe but congested cities and concentrated agriculture lands risk over loading the air, water and land with excess chemicals. Why add excess CO2 into the ground hundreds or thousands a feet deep for permanent disposal? Carbon and CO2 companies already exist to transport and store greenhouse gases for industrial use. Boring holes through residential and commercial property should have some benefit for owners beyond a financial contract. Burying CO2 deep into layers of natural Earth to save the planet is not logical.
Here are some reasons why CCS is such a misplaced project of ingenuity and expenses. First, less than 1% of Earth’s atmosphere contains the trace gases which includes the awful terrible CO2. Second most of the CO2 on our planet is dissolved in the oceans or permeated into the ground. Third liquefied CO2 is a very unnatural process which requires high pressures and specific temperature levels. This is the major risk of CCS and a very expensive process to vacuum CO2 out of chimneys to rescue planet Earth. Fourth a generous amount of excavated soil, dirt and earth layers is either piled up somewhere or dumped back into a hole as part of a plug or seal. Fifth, the diameter of such holes or wells determines how much natural material is wasted or recycled.
The well hole for sequestration could become a giant muzzle loader cannon. Under pressure and temperature constraints the awful terrible liquefied CO2 is pumped into the well hole. When it returns to natural CO2 gas under compression could it not explode and blast the contents of the well back out, like a man made geyser or eruption?
While CO2 is a minimal greenhouse gas, water vapor is far more abundant and the major natural greenhouse gas, which does regulate air temperatures. Certainly no one would attempt to rescue the oceans, rivers and lakes in the name of climate change mitigation, Right? So vacuuming exhaust chimneys to cool the whole planet is an exaggerated project, comparable to inhaling the exhaust pipe on your automobile to reduce emissions in the air. Both processes harbor extreme concentrations of hazardous gases that would otherwise not affect the whole planet. CCS is not a practical or responsible project for citizens in America. Meanwhile CO2 Wells are not welcome in rural Illinois.
Ernie & Ruth Poani
Edinburg, IL 62531