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Ancient Atmospheric CO2 Pressures Inferred from Natural Goethites

This is a brief letter to the respected journal Nature.
In fact, here's the entire text, but see our comment, following:

Ancient atmospheric C02 pressures inferred from natural goethites

Crayton J. Yapp & Harald Poths

Department of Geology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA

THE role of changing atmospheric CO2 concentrations in controlling global temperature can be investigated by examining variations in both CO2 and climate preserved in the Earth's geological record. A model of the Earth's carbon cycle over the past 570 Myr suggests that, compared to its present value, the partial pressure of CO2 (P co2) may have been an order of magnitude higher in the early Palaeozoic, and about 4–6 times higher in the middle Mesozoic1,2. Cerling3 used carbon isotope ratios in soil carbonate minerals to constrain atmospheric P Co2m portions of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras. Studies of the common mineral goethite (alpha-FeOOH) have shown that it contains small quantities of a carbonate component (Fe(CO3)OH), the concentration and carbon isotope content of which preserves a record of ambient P Co2at the time of formation4–7. Here we present data for goethites from an ironstone in the Upper Ordovician Neda Formation (Wisconsin, USA)8, which suggest that 440 Myr ago atmospheric P Co2 was ~ 16 times higher than today. However, this enhanced level of atmospheric CO2 does not seem to have been accompanied by unusually warm temperatures in the tropics, and in fact may have been contemporaneous with high-latitude continental glaciation on Gondwanaland9,10.


Though a brief statement, the author backs it up with significant documentation, as indicated by the extensive reference notes. Access the link if you wish to check those out.

DOE - Fossil Energy: Auto Created


From our own DOE.
A pertinent, we think, and telling, excerpt:
"In March 1953 when the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee opened its budget hearings, its first official act was to kill funds for the Louisiana, MO, synthetic fuel plants. The cost of synthetic fuels was too high for the government to bear, the Committee stated. Estes Kefauver, then out of Congress but later elected to the U.S. Senate, claimed that the nation's oil companies had been behind the Committee's action because they did not want the competition from coal. A short time later, the Committee voted to cease funding for all the programs authorized under the Synthetic Fuels Act."
Hope the link opens for you. The report is revealing. The knowledge is there. We can do this.

Photoreductive Sequestration of CO2 to Form C1 Products & Fuel

Buried among the DOE's many research programs devoted to burying CO2, is this gem, devoted to, as we've been urging, finding ways to actually use it.
An excerpt:
"Project Description
The objectives of this project are to investigate the chemical reduction of CO2 by sunlight and semiconductor metal oxides to determine if these reactions can be made efficient enough to make C1 products and fuel at a cost competitive with other sequestration technologies."
Nuts, even if it's not "cost competitive" with burying it, in the short term, wouldn't using it constructively be better in the long run?
And, we object to referring to the constructive use of CO2 as "sequestration". That is, of course, what it is. But, seemingly like everything else related to coal conversion, ways are apparently found to frame the picture and phrase the words in as negative and demeaning a way as is possible.
And, note, as we've said before: You can make "products and fuel from CO2.

Carbon Recycling International - Reykjavik, Iceland


If you thought our suggestions that CO2 generated by coal power and conversion-to-liquid plants could actually be useful were on the fanciful side, check this story out.
An excerpt:
"Ambassador Carol van Voorst recently visited the site of Icelandic American firm Carbon Recycling International, which is taking carbon dioxide emissions and converting it to liquid fuel to be used in cars. The process utilizes the clean electricity in Iceland to convert the waste emissions into the new resource. The Ambassador toured the prototype with American CEO K.C. Tran and Icelandic Chief Scientist Dr. Oddur Ingolfsson."
If you recall, we did suggest that CO2, with some modification/transformation, could be yet another raw material tossed into the feed of a coal-to-oil conversion plant, along with coal, crop and forestry waste.
Oh, and interestingly enough, there has been at least one report that a flow of liquid CO2 has been discovered flowing out from under the tongue of one of Iceland's major glaciers, deep under the ocean. We'll try to track that down and obtain some verification.
We guarantee that, if true, the volume of gas in such a phenomenon would make all our hand-wringing over emissions from coal power and coal conversion plants look like one of our old-maid aunts picking lint off our Sunday School sweaters.

Carbon Recycling International website

As per our earlier email about Iceland, and the potential for carbon dioxide recycling.
A key excerpt:
"Carbon recycling International captures carbon dioxide from industrial emissions and converts carbon dioxide to ultra clean fuel.  The sources of emissions are from basic infrastructure industrial processes including aluminum smeltering, ferro silicon manufacturing, cement production and coal fired power generation."