Carbon Capture Escapes Drax

jatropha fruit - India

Oilseeds from Jatropha which can be grown on reclaimed desert. Growing these seeds will have taken Carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and given us some Oxygen back.

I have no doubt that those who think themselves “green” will criticise Drax for pulling out of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).  Well, perhaps they might like to follow this logic?

Burning a large Carbon molecule might look like the following equation.  In fact, the molecule is one of those in Petrol – like in your car (if you still have a high CO2-output petrol engine) but it is typical of any large molecule in petrol diesel, wood or any other Carbon-based fuel.

2C36 H74         +       109 O2      gives         72CO2          +           74H2O

1 tonne                 3.5 tonnes                      3.2 tonnes                 1.3 tonnes

So, burn 1 tonne of fuel and capture 3.2 tonnes of Carbon dioxide and put it down an old oil well. Fine, you just buried 3.2 tonnes of Oxygen – possibly forever.  Remember what we breathe?  Who thought that one up?

Alternatively, this is what happens in a green leaf of a plant in sunlight;

6CO2              +          6H2O       gives             C6H12O6         +          6O2

Carbon dioxide            water                                sugar                        Oxygen

Through the leaf       from the roots                   both out through the leaf

Hey, we got the Oxygen back!  What is more, oil seed plants such as oil seed rape produce an oil we can burn in a diesel engine.  What a cracking system.

In the Carboniferous Era, that is how we got oil and gas.  Farmers have been practicing CCS ever since farming began.  When the plant dies, the organic matter goes into the soil and builds up the humus and soil Carbon bank. That is where the oil and gas came from. Why don’t we do it again?  We can use composted urban wastes to reclaim the deserts and take Carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and give us the Oxygen back. Yes we can.