It is not a ‘green’ system as it is fuelled by fossil fuels

ANDY JACKSON/STUFF

We are in an age where it is considered that we should reduce, perhaps even eliminate, the use of fossil fuels.

We should also, we are told, aim for zero production of carbon dioxide because its production is what is causing what is constantly referred to as global warming.

These are the parameters we are instructed to live by. Failure to do so will be at our own risk, notwithstanding that, if the people in power remove our supply of fossil fuels, we will effectively have no option.

But we are now presented with a wonderful solution, that proposed by 8Rivers, as if it is the answer to all our problems.

On the face of it things sound very nice, so should we go along with it or not? Taking our leader’s advice I have ‘read between the lines’ and I am far from convinced.

Why? Well, firstly, the proposal is for an experimental phase only, which IF it produces a positive result will then require enormous injections of capital.

Secondly, the  ‘Allam Cycle’ system uses natural gas (aren’t we supposed to be stopping the use of that?) which in turn produces carbon dioxide, the production of which we are being encouraged to avoid. Not only that but the plan is that the carbon dioxide will likely be pumped back into the ground (to avoid its release into the atmosphere) by the process known as fracking, or it will be used to produce urea. Locally produced urea is produced using natural gas.

Thirdly, 8Rivers is an investment company not a participant entity in the field. Yes, it does have a subsidiary company NetPower which has built a pilot plant in Texas. Whether that is a success or not remains to be seen but at this point in time 8Rivers are simply seeking some investment funds to continue their research.

Minister Robertson says he is open-minded. Minister Parker says he is not interested, and the Minister of Energy, Megan Woods says it’s nothing to do with her as it’s a matter for the Provincial Growth Fund of Minister Shane Jones. The PM is said to be a fan.

As an aside, 8Rivers with their parent company ‘8Rivers Capital’ describe their aim as being ‘to promote Entrepreneurial Capitalism’.

It is sensible that the government keep an eye on such developments, but it must also be premature for Minister Jones to be lauding 8Rivers when he has yet to convince his fellow ministers that it is a worthwhile investment.

Similarly with my local council which seems to want to be involved. That is not their job. As with their earlier expressed desire to get involved in the land development business, it is not what they are elected to do. They should stick to running and maintaining our district. It is hard to imagine ratepayers being happy with this unnecessary expenditure on such so-called ‘research and development’

The ‘Allam Cycle’ is described as being ‘a process for converting fossil fuels into mechanical power while capturing the generated carbon dioxide and water’.

So long as fossil fuels are used to power such a system it can’t in any way be called a ‘green’ system. If the output is then used to produce hydrogen that hydrogen can’t be termed ‘green’ either. Presumably, the mechanical power (electricity) will be used to produce the hydrogen with any shortfall made up with wind or solar energy.

Mayor Holdom has been reported as saying that the Allam process is working. Maybe so, but if you take the trouble to listen to its inventor, he says it was invented to reduce emissions by capturing carbon dioxide and what’s more that the purpose of doing so was to re-inject it as a fracking agent. He makes no mention of hydrogen generation anywhere. He also says the demand for the carbon dioxide so far has been very small and that it will take a huge uptake in demand for the system to make it feasible. The pilot plant will likely continue as it is producing electricity but it continues to search for further uses for the carbon dioxide.

The funding for NetPower’s construction came from another investment company, The Shaw Group, which by the terms of its contract, and because it is now operational, will have acquired 50 percent of NetPower LLC .

At the time of its agreement to fund the NetPower pilot plant, Shaw and 8Rivers stated that quote.

NET Power will have both the capacity and economics to fill the substantial current need for CO2 in the EOR industry.  For the first time, carbon sequestration will be economically viable. end quote.

Our council should be patient. It is not its place to toy with ratepayers’ funds on such fanciful excursions. They should leave it to the private sector to risk their funds. If it proves to be a ‘goer’ then we would expect our council to ensure that we all benefit.

8Rivers touts its support in New Zealand (in conjunction with Pouakai NZ Group) in three blocks. Pouakai is a wholly owned subsidiary of 8Rivers.

Block One:  to power any hydrogen production plant and sell any carbon dioxide with the power production being used to send power to the grid when green sources can’t cope. (ie it is simply another power station.)

Block Two: If a hydrogen-producing station comes online it will produce cheaper hydrogen than pure ‘green’ hydrogen created from renewable sources.

Block Three: urea production.

An 8Rivers power station is simply that – a power station. It has no special attributes which make it a necessary adjunct to a hydrogen production station.

 


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A guest post submitted to Whaleoil and edited by Whaleoil staff.

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