Clean Coal – Myth?

Posted on March 22, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , |

The term “clean coal” has firmly implanted itself into the American vernacular in the past year.  Politicians from coal states, energy industry execs, and a large swath of the American public have bought into the idea – but a scaleable working model of carbon sequestration has yet to open in the United States.  

Famed billionaire investor Vinod Khosla, is betting that California based Calera can make it happen.  Calera has found a method of capturing the carbon dioxide emissions of coal and gas power plants and locking it into cement.  In short, the Calera process diverts the gas emissions that usually exit out of a smoke-stack into a large container.  Seawater (which contains calcium, magnesium, and oxygen) is then sprayed through the gas, and the resulting chemical reaction creates little particles of cement and aggregate. 

Many skeptics contend that Calera will find it difficult to build a scaleable model of this process and that the resulting acidic residue from the chemical process will pose a significant problem to the plan.  Mr. Khosla counters that the proof will be in the pudding when Calera and Bechtel open their first commercial plant late next year.     /


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