We have, over the long course of our reportage, suggested a number of times that proposals for the mandated geologic "sequestration" of Carbon Dioxide, as extracted from the exhaust gases of our economically essential Coal-fired power plants, and as conducted all at the expense of the consumers of Coal-based electrical power, constitute a scam, a deceptive taking of a valuable raw material resource.


In the first place, the geologic reservoirs most often proposed for CO2 sequestration are nearly-depleted natural petroleum or gas reservoirs. And, it is well-known in the oil industry that Carbon Dioxide can be used to great good effect in what is known as "secondary recovery". Carbon Dioxide under pressure serves to liquefy and mobilize natural petroleum "dregs" clinging to rock surfaces, and serves to make more of the petroleum recoverable.

We consumers of Coal-based electric power, would thus, through the higher rates for electricity we paid to cover the costs of CO2 geologic sequestration, be subsidizing the profits of the petroleum industry.  

But, it goes beyond that.

Some of our past reports concerning the matter are no longer accessible on the West Virginia Coal Association's web site, in their R&D Archives, due we presume to protests over the tone of our presentation by academics associated with the petroleum industry in other parts of the country.

One or two, such as:

More CO2 Sequestration Scam | Research & Development | News; concerning; "Activity and Extent of Carbon Dioxide and Acetate Utilizing Methanogens in Deep Organic- rich Aquifers Within the Illinois Basin, USA; University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; Publication: American Geophysical Union; Fall Meeting, 2008; Abstract: Global climate change and rising energy demands are motivating investigations of CO2 sequestration in deep geologic reservoirs within interior sedimentary basins, such as the Illinois Basin. Here in the organic rich Upper Devonian New Albany Shale and Pennsylvanian coal beds, potential CO2 sequestration sites coincide with microbial communities that are actively producing economic volumes of methane. Microbes generate methane via two major metabolic pathways, CO2 reduction and acetate fermentation. Injecting CO2 into organic-rich reservoirs may affect in-situ microbial communities and may result in enhanced methane generation, however predicting these affects is difficult unless accompanied by an understanding of the distribution and activity of life in the deep biosphere in various hydrogeochemical settings. This study investigates the extent, controls on, and metabolic pathways for methane generation in the New Albany Shale and Pennsylvanian coalbeds across the eastern margin of the Illinois Basin. We hypothesize that CO2 reduction is the dominant metabolic pathway, however acetate fermentation is enhanced in areas where there is more labile organic matter, lower salinity concentrations, and more rapid recharge rates, such as in shallow coal zones and near the shale subcrop. To test this hypothesis we coupled compound specific isotopes of CO2, CH4, DIC, and H2O with acetate, cation, and anion concentrations, and microbial studies to determine the extent of acetoclastic versus hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis, groundwater residence times, and major environmental controls on metabolic pathways. These results have implications for CO2 sequestration and stimulation of methanogenesis in deep organic rich formations, which may help to reduce global impacts of climate change and prolong economic reservoirs of methane"; and:

DOE CO2 to Methane via Geo-Sequestration | Research & Development | News; concerning: "Methanogenic Conversion of Carbon Dioxide into Methane:  A Breakthrough Geologic Sequestration Technology; Mr. Mark Rogers, Principal Investigator; Advanced Resources International, Inc., Arlington, VA; DOE Grant No. DE-FG02-03ER83596; Abstract: Geologic sequestration of CO2 is a promising control technology for greenhouse gases, however, applied on a wide scale, it will generate thousands of large CO2 deposits in the U.S.   This could provoke environmental concern about CO2 “waste disposal” and jeopardize ambitious geologic sequestration R&D efforts.  Fortunately, it is known that certain naturally occurring bacteria (“methanogens”) have the remarkable ability to convert CO2 into methane within geologic reservoirs (many natural gas fields were created this way).  This project will develop technology for introducing these bacterial consortia into geologic sequestration sites in order to harness their natural methanogenic ability to remediate these sites and also generate large and readily producible new natural gas resources. The successful application of naturally occurring methanogens to remediate CO2 sequestration sites would head off environmental objections to sequestration as waste disposal and open up this greenhouse gas reduction technology to widespread application by power generation, chemical, petroleum, and other industries. The technology also could generate new natural gas resources and even could allow the conversion of sub-economic (high CO2) natural gas deposits into pure and economical methane deposits"; 

do remain accessible, however, wherein it is explained that naturally occurring forms of micro-organisms, bacteria and even some more primitive relatives of bacteria, all known as "Methanogens", are capable of incorporating Carbon Dioxide into their metabolisms, and, as a result of their metabolic use of CO2, excreting natural gas Methane, and thereby could "generate large and new natural gas resources".

And,  thus, such Methanogens might be capable, as speculated in the above "Activity and Extent of Carbon Dioxide and Acetate Utilizing Methanogens in Deep Organic- rich Aquifers", of consuming all or most of the Carbon Dioxide fed to them, and, then, of restoring the hydrocarbon content of the reservoir by excreting substitute natural gas Methane, which would then be available for profitable extraction by the owner of the reservoir, who was paid by the tithes on our electric bills to take our Carbon Dioxide and inject it underground in the first place.

Our above report concerning the "Methanogenic Conversion of Carbon Dioxide into Methane:  A Breakthrough Geologic Sequestration Technology" and "DOE Grant No. DE-FG02-03ER83596" was made all the way back on March 6, 2010. And, since then, the project has been completed, and the link we included in that report to USDOE documentation of the project no longer functions.

Herein, we submit to you the final report of that project, which was subsequently published by the USDOE, as accessible via the initial link in this dispatch; a report which demonstrates, beyond doubt, that Carbon Dioxide could and should be viewed as a valuable raw material resource; one which we shouldn't allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking of as trash that we have to hire people to haul away and dispose of for us.

Comment follows, and is inserted within, excerpts from the initial link in this dispatch to:

"Methanogenic Conversion of CO2 Into CH4: A Potential Remediation Technology for Geologic CO2 Storage Sites

(Note: They are implying by the title that "Geologic CO2 Storage Sites", where we might be compelled by environmental laws to, all at our expense, put our Carbon Dioxide, might have to be "remediated", or somehow restored. The inherent absurdities and contradictions aside, we will be forwarding a complete file of the report to the West Virginia Coal Association for safekeeping, should the initial link herein ultimately fail to function.)

Prepared for : US Department of Energy; Office of Science; Chicago, IL

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program; DE-FG02-03ER83596

July 13, 2003 to January 13, 2008 (Publication Date: May 6, 2012) 

Prepared by : Scott H. Stevens; Advanced Resources International, Inc. (ARI), Arlington, Virginia USA; and:

Dr. James G. Ferry, Pennsylvania State University, College Park, Pennsylvania USA; and

Dr. Martin Schoell, GasConsult, Inc., Berkeley, California USA

(Note, above, participation by the Pennsylvania State University; and, keep in mind their own work with Methanogens, and the methanogenic conversion of CO2 into Methane, CH4, as in, for one example, our report of:

Penn State May 14, 2013, CO2 to Methane | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 8,440,438 - Electromethanogenic Reactor and Processes for Methane Production; 2013; Inventors: Shaoan Cheng and Bruce Logan; Assignee: The Penn State Research Foundation, University Park, PA; Abstract: Increasing competition for fossil fuels, and the need to avoid release (of) carbon dioxide from combustion of these fuels requires development of new and sustainable approaches for energy production and carbon capture. Biological processes for producing methane gas and capturing carbon from carbon dioxide are provided according to embodiments of the present invention which include providing an electromethanogenic reactor having an anode, a cathode and a plurality of methanogenic microorganisms disposed on the cathode. Electrons and carbon dioxide are provided to the plurality of methanogenic microorganisms disposed on the cathode. The methanogenic microorganisms reduce the carbon dioxide to produce methane gas, even in the absence of hydrogen and/or organic carbon sources".)

OSTI ID: 1041046; Report Number: DOE-ER83596- Final Report; DOE Contract: FG02-03ER83596

This SBIR project evaluated the potential to remediate geologic CO2 sequestration sites into useful methane gas fields by application of methanogenic bacteria. Such methanogens are present in a wide variety of natural environments, converting CO2 into CH4 under natural conditions. We conclude that the process is generally feasible to apply within many of the proposed CO2 storage reservoir settings. However, extensive further basic R&D still is needed to define the precise species, environments, nutrient growth accelerants, and economics of the methanogenic process. Consequently, the study team does not recommend Phase III commercial application of the technology at this early phase.

Overall Concept. Methanogens, which belong to the Euryarchaeota kingdom of Archaea, obtain energy for growth by reducing carbon dioxide to methane with hydrogen gas or formate as an electron-donating reductant.

CO2-destroying methanogenesis takes place on a vast scale in a diversity of settings in the Earth’s crust -- including those similar to proposed geologic sequestration sites -- generating billions of tons of methane annually.

Consequently, natural processes support our overall concept of employing methanogens to remediate CO2 sequestration sites.

Methanogen Screening. Of the 98 known species of methanogens that were evaluated, six were selected as the potentially the best candidates for CO2-to-CH4 conversion under conditions present in typical geologic sequestration sites. These include: Methanosarcina vacuolata and barkerii; Methanococcus vannielii; and Methanobacterium uliginosum, ivanovii, and subterraneum. Screening factors included temperature, salinity levels and composition, and pH. Reservoir pressure, which is related to depth, does not interfere with methanogen growth; in fact, high pressure only accelerates methanogenic reactions.

Biochemistry. Methanogens employ two separate pathways to convert CO2 into methane: either the methyl group of acetate or the reduction of carbon dioxide with electrons from hydrogen or formate. Acetate, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and formate are the major substrates for the methanogenic group. The hydrogen-producing acetogenic group is necessary to further metabolize butyrate and propionate to substrates for the methanogenic group. Such "interspecies electron transfer" is fortunate, in that the hydrogen-producing and hydrogen-consuming groups are interdependent.

We conclude that maintaining suitable biochemical conditions for methanogenesis at CO2 sequestration sites is feasible.

Potential Application: Our preliminary analysis of US reservoirs indicates that up to 84 Gt of CO2 storage capacity has suitable environmental conditions and could be remediated using methanogen technology. This represents about 40 years of current power generation emissions. Of this total, perhaps 20 Gt of CO2 storage capacity exists in high-graded, onshore, high-temperature settings with the best potential for methanogenic remediation.

(Please don't miss the implications of the above, i.e.: In theory, we could convert all of the CO2 emitted by all of our Coal-fired power plants for the next forty years into substitute natural gas Methane.) 

It appears generally feasible to engineer the application of methanogen technology to sequestration reservoirs based on existing petroleum reservoir exploitation and management technologies. For example, injection well drilling, completion and operation technologies developed for water-flooding and enhanced oil recovery, with
limited modifications, could be applied to inject cultured methanogens and their chemical substrates.

However, specific advanced horizontal drilling, field-positioned incubators, and batch mixing technology still needs to be developed.

St. Johns Dome Study Site. The St. Johns Dome is a large (1,800 km2) anticline located in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. CO2 is trapped within the Permian Supai Formation and overlain by evaporite deposits (anhydrite, gypsum) and shales which act as cap rocks. The field is relatively shallow, with depth to CO2 ranging from about 300 to 750 m. It contains an estimated 730 million t (13.9 Tcf) of CO2 in a free gas state. Reservoir architecture is complex, with multiple, vertically dispersed reservoirs consisting of sandstone, siltstone, and vuggy dolomite that are separated by thin, impermeable anhydrite seals. CO2 concentration averages 92% along with 6.6% nitrogen, 0.2% argon, and 0.6% helium. CO2 at St. Johns appears to be largely igneous in origin.

(Note: We won't try to track it down, but, we've previously made note of the St. Johns Dome in other reports. It is a naturally-occurring Carbon Dioxide reservoir - - from which petroleum companies are already extracting CO2, bringing it to the surface, and piping the CO2 to oil fields, where they're using it for secondary recovery of petroleum, by injecting it back underground. The oil companies are doing that, themselves, already. Yet, under CO2 geologic sequestration schemes, we consumers of Coal-base electrical power are expected to pay to have our CO2 collected and shipped to the oil companies for, essentially, the same purpose.)

Ridgeway Petroleum Corp., the former field operator, drilled 21 CO2 production wells since discovering the field in 1994. At present the field is shut in due to limited local market demand and lack of a CO2 pipeline. The production wells were drilled with air or with a fresh water and starch-based mud to avoid formation damage and were completed in one or more of the three CO2-bearing zones (Ft. Apache, Amos Wash, and Upper Abo/Granite Wash) at an average depth of 850 m. The wells were completed using amine carbon gauze fiberglass or conventional carbon steel casing lined with high-density polyethelene (HDPE) to minimize corrosion. The St. Johns wells were relatively inexpensive to drill and complete ($300,000/well) compared with wells at much deeper CO2 fields.

Our initial evaluation indicates that the geologic and reservoir conditions at St. Johns Dome may be conducive to maintaining suitable biochemical conditions for methanogenesis of various species for the conversion of CO2 into CH4. The six methanogen species selected as the potentially best candidates for conversion of CO2 into methane under conditions present at St. Johns Dome. The selection was based on the ability of these species to tolerate a variety of environmental conditions and their simplicity of requirements for growth and CO2 reduction to methane.

The most promising methanogen species are: Methanosarcina vacuolata and barkerii; Methanococcus vannielii; and
Methanobacterium uliginosum, ivanovii, and subterraneum.

Future Research. Future research into methanogen application for remediating CO2 storage fields could focus on isolating individual species within the Methanobacteriaceae and Methanosarcinaceae families with greatest potential for application to CO2 storage sites. Other topics include further laboratory experimentation with accelerating methanogen growth under varying temperature, pH, and nutrient conditions.

This USDOE ... project evaluated the potential for breakthrough biological technologies that could permanently transform mature geologic sequestration sites back into methane deposits. The study focused on naturally occurring bacterial consortia that are known to convert CO2 into CH4 (“methanogens”). The long-term strategy of the research would be to replicate what nature has performed over long geologic time periods at innumerable natural gas fields, but at a much faster rate using engineered approaches.

Such technology could help ensure public acceptance of geologic sequestration by providing USDOE with a strategy for ameliorating sequestration sites. In the process, it may also create new and readily exploitable methane gas deposits."


There is a lot more to it, and it's well-worth the read and contemplation. Again, in addition to the link, we will forward a copy of the full file to the West Virginia Coal Association.

In sum:

Laws mandating the geologic sequestration of CO2 would compel the consumers of abundant and affordable Coal-based electrical power to pay for: 1. The collection of Carbon Dioxide; 2. The shipment of that Carbon Dioxide to geologic sequestration sites; 3. The pumping of Carbon Dioxide into those reservoirs; and, if you examine the proposals closely: 4. All costs associated with keeping the sequestration site secure and liabilities arising from failure of that security. 

In other words, if the CO2 somehow escapes containment, and the potential, as can be seen in this and related documents, does exist, for explosive outburst, the resulting damages will be paid for, somehow, by the originators and permanent owners of that CO2, as long as it remains CO2, i.e.:

The consumers of Coal-based electrical power.

In the meantime:

The owners of the geologic sequestration site, the petroleum or natural gas company, can inject certain, known micro-organisms, and needed additional nutrients, into the CO2's geologic sequestration site; and, in the fullness of time, all of the CO2 that had been injected will be converted into substitute natural gas Methane.

That Methane will be generated in a gas or oil field that had already been previously developed, and can, as the subject of our dispatch herein confesses, then be easily and economically extracted from such "new and readily exploitable methane gas deposits".

And, there is only one party who will profit by the extraction, utilization and/or sale of that CO2-derived Methane:

The oil or gas company that owns the field.

We are compelled to note in passing, that, once we have the Methane, as herein made on the sly from sequestered Carbon Dioxide, we can then, as seen for only one out of now many examples in our report of:

Saudia Arabia CO2 + Methane = Hydrocarbons + Syngas | Research & Development | News; concerning: "US Patent 7,355,088 - Process for Producing Benzene, Ethylene and Synthesis Gas; 2008; Inventors: Agaddin Mamedov, et. al., Saudi Arabia; Assignee: Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, Riyadh; Abstract: Process for producing benzene, ethylene and synthesis gas, comprising the steps of: i) introducing a starting gas flow comprising methane and carbon dioxide into a reactor; ii) oxidizing the methane in the reactor at certain reactor conditions optionally using a first catalytic material and/or and additional oxidant; and: iii) removing a product gas flow comprising benzene, ethylene and synthesis gas from the reactor";

react that CO2-derived Methane with even more Carbon Dioxide, and thereby synthesize valuable hydrocarbons and a hydrocarbon "synthesis gas" that can itself be catalytically, chemically condensed via long-known processes into even more hydrocarbons.

We'll have more on the conversion of Carbon Dioxide, whether or not  geologically "sequestered", into Methane and other hydrocarbons, by microorganisms, in even more reports to follow.

But, the takeaway from them all will be the same as it is herein:

Carbon Dioxide - - as it arises in only a small way, relative to some all-natural and un-taxable sources of it's emission, such as the Earth's inexorable processes of planetary volcanism, from our economically essential use of Coal in the generation of genuinely abundant and truly-reliable electrical power - - is a valuable raw material resource.

Carbon Dioxide can be converted on a large, productive scale into substitute natural gas Methane - - substitute natural gas that can be synthesized in gas and oil fields that have already been developed and nearly depleted, with no need for further application of the environmentally very questionable practice known as "fracking" .

And, as documented herein, our United States Government not only knows that to be true, but used our tax dollars to have the fact established.

It's far past time we were publicly informed of that investment, and allowed and enabled to profit from it.

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