Maybe the government was a bit too quick on axing oil & gas exploration

The government, based on a petition from Greenpeace, moved to axe any further exploration for oil and gas. They’ve decided, not on any science, but basically on virtue-signalling to hamstring our industry and to decide that there is no future for those products in New Zealand.

They state that we need to do our bit on emissions.

Well, perhaps they acted a bit too fast because in the US a new power plant is testing their zero emissions power production from natural gas: Quote:

A company called NET Power has begun testing a unique demonstration power plant in La Porte, Texas, that burns natural gas but releases no emissions into the atmosphere. How can it do this? The natural gas is burned in pure oxygen rather than ambient air, and the resulting heated carbon dioxide (CO2) is used to power a turbine instead of heating steam or gas.   

Although the plant does create CO2 during the course of its operations, the waste CO2 that pumps through the system is already collected and doesn’t require an additional process to scrub pollutants from flue gas like more traditional carbon capture technologies do. The mostly pure CO2 can then be sold to oil fields for use in enhanced oil recovery, or it can be used in some other way (although we haven’t quite cracked that nut yet, recent research is working on creating byproducts like carbon nanotubes from waste CO2).

If all goes well with the testing phase, it could mean a more efficient and cost-effective solution than anything that could be bolted onto an existing power plant.

There are two sides to this technology: on the one hand, a solution like NET Power’s doesn’t do anything to clean up our existing fleet of fossil fuel plants. And while NET Power’s system is zero-emissions, it’s also still creating more CO2—something we decidedly don’t need more of. But power companies continue to build fossil fuel plants throughout the US and especially overseas, with no signs of slowing down. With that context, NET Power’s plant could be a reasonable transition technology as we move to a low-carbon future.

Another advantage of NET Power’s system is that it can be designed to use very little water. Power plants can be massive water consumers. Many coal plants use water to create steam to power turbines, and fossil fuel plants in general often use water to cool the plant’s machinery. But NET Power’s system can be air-cooled (with the trade-off being “a small reduction in efficiency,” according to the company’s press release), and the CO2 turbine uses no steam. In a warming world where water is either scarce or too warm to use for cooling, low water use is a key advantage. NET Power spokesperson Walker Dimmig told Ars over the phone that the system could even be a net water producer, given that a small amount of water is created during the combustion process. End quote.

Or they could sell the CO2 to greenhouse farmers.

Humans are innovative, politicians, not so much. We are eminently capable of creating solutions to perceived problems, but this government doesn’t trust us to do that, instead they’ve decided for us and stopped all oil and gas exploration.

Perhaps they could get their Chief Science Advisor to look at the science in this?


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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