Sucking Up CO2 In The Desert

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Reposted from Lenz Blog:

Image Credit: Solar panel, wind turbine & globe via Shutterstock
Image Credit: Solar panel, wind turbine & globe via Shutterstock
Paul Gipe just posted an article looking back at his three decades of renewable advocacy titled “100 Percent Renewable Vision Building.”

In that article Gipe describes how reality has performed much better than what was expected decades ago. And now we are discussing 100 percent renewable.

That is a great article, and I recommend reading it.

But it also gave me a new idea.

One of the problems with building large scale renewable energy projects in the desert is that you need long power lines connecting the desert sites to the World’s cities. Those need time and cost money.

So I have been looking for alternatives before, and I have come up with some, like transporting quicklime or making silicon.

Another one would be to use the energy right in the desert to suck up CO2 from the atmosphere. It can be done already with present technology, and interest in doing that will increase a lot over the coming decades, once the damages from global warming become even higher than the $1.2 TRILLION a year right now.

I’m bringing this up because to get 100% renewable energy with intermittent sources, you need much more than 100% of peak capacity installed. Which leads to lots of time slots where you get much more than 100% of demand. One way to use the excess energy is extracting CO2 from the atmosphere. And the nice thing about that is that it doesn’t matter where you do the extracting. Any desert site will do.

Obviously, there needs to be a steady income stream from CO2 cleanup, and it needs to cover the costs. That is a problem that would have to be solved one way or another.

But the point of this post is just to note this idea for further reference later on. It is one more way of using energy right in the desert without a grid in place.


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Dr. Karl-Friedrich Lenz

is a professor of German and European Law at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, blogging since 2003 at Lenz Blog. A free PDF file of his global warming science fiction novel "Great News" is available here.

Dr. Karl-Friedrich Lenz has 67 posts and counting. See all posts by Dr. Karl-Friedrich Lenz