Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I just left a bigass comment over to BigCityLib's boog an' I'm recyclin' most of it here. BCL has a boog story about an idea fer carbon sequestration by use of giant (100m x several KM's) balloons. The idea is to place these giant air mattresses on the ocean floor, 3 KM deep. CO2 is heavier that H2O and it'll sink to the bottom.
I admit I ain't studied this idea too hard. I'd be happy as Larry if somebody come up with a good CO2 sequestration method. Here in Nanticoke, we know how to remove almost all the particulate and conventional pollution from the coal-fired generators. They done a good job of that up in Lambeth but Ginty sez he won't spend the money on Nanticoke on accounta he's gonna shut it down anyways.
The problem with burnin' coal is the greenhouse gases (GHGs). If we could capture all the GHGs from the 1000's of coal-fired electricity plants around the world, we'd be doin' a great thing. So far, most carbon sequestration ideas are only ideas. There ain't a working version anywhere. That don't mean it can't happen. Maybe someday, someone will build a giant pie-shaped container and put it in space and we'll transport GHGs by space shuttle. That'd be the pie-in-the-sky solution.
I got big doubts about this underwater air mattress idea, though.
We're only beginning to fully explore and understand the deep sea bed. New species are being discovered as we develop and deploy more advanced unmanned submersible exploration vessels.
As soon as I saw this idea, I started to wonder about its effect on life forms. Plankton and other microscopic food sources live on the sea bed. What will happen when we cover the seabed with a plastic bag that's kilometres in length? This idea seems like an extension of the ocean-as-a-dump mentality.
Maybe the plastic bags would work better if they were laying above ground. Maybe in the desert somewhere. There are puncture and leak hazards to consider. If the bag springs a leak 3 km underwater, it'll be harder to repair than if the bag was above ground. Maybe even impossible to repair at such depths.
The energy required to pump CO2 from coal-fired electricity plants located 100's of miles from the seacoast will be considerable. Will there be a net gain with such a plan? Or will it turn out to be like ethanol -- creating as much GHG as it saves?
Schemes like this are "have your cake and eat it too" schemes. We need to be working more on energy efficiency, conservation and renewables. These are proven methods of reducing GHG's and they really do work -- if they are sufficiently funded. How many KWH could be saved by investing the cost of one of these undersea air mattresses into replacement of energy hogging old refrigerators and air conditioners?
New technology is sexy but we already have the technology to reduce GHG's. What we don't have is the political will that earmarks sufficient funding to deploy existing proven technology on a large scale.