The growing market for carbon dioxide

Houston Chronicle:
In the age of climate change, carbon dioxide emissions produced by burning fossil fuels present a liability that many investors fear might one day bring down oil companies.

But scientists and policy makers are asking what would happen if carbon dioxide had a value the same way oil, gold and coffee do. What if it could be used to produce goods and even fuels - the way plants and trees use carbon dioxide to keep themselves alive?

It's not an entirely new concept. For decades, industries from oil to soft drinks have bought small amounts of carbon dioxide, piped in from underground caverns where it was trapped eons ago. But now the outgoing Obama administration, along with partners from both environmental groups and the oil and gas industry, are hoping to create a much larger market that will not only keep carbon out of the atmosphere but create a new engine for the U.S. economy.

"They need scientific breakthroughs, but this is a very important research direction," Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in an interview. "It could be building materials, road materials. A holy grail, in a certain sense, would be to use CO2 plus other ingredients like water and sunlight to convert to a hydrocarbon liquid fuel."

Such breakthroughs are likely a long way off, but it they materialize, it could prove vital to Houston, Texas and the oil and gas industry that drives their economies. Solving the challenges and economics of carbon capture could keep oil, gas and other fossil fuels viable over the long term as international efforts to slow climate change lead to ever tighter restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions that accelerate global warming.
Colorless, odorless and non-combustible, carbon dioxide has a long list of theoretical applications. It can be used to make cement, feed algae, produce the bubbles in a can of soda and even make fuels like methanol and ethanol. A report by the Energy Department's scientific advisory board last month identified more than two dozen possible applications for carbon dioxide.
By far the biggest use to date - and the one to which industry and policy makers are pinning their hopes for the foreseeable future - is within the oil and gas industry. Known as Enhanced Oil Recovery, drillers for decades have pumped carbon dioxide into older oil fields to push the last barrels to the surface.
There is more.

The piece appears to ignore skepticism about  "climate change" and the role of CO2, but it raises some interesting questions about make the fossil fuel industry more efficient is using the byproducts that result from using its mainline products.

I am reminding of the meat packing facilities that use nearly every aspect of the animal including making boar's hair brushes.

If the industry can find a way to capture and use the CO2 in a productive manner it will make fuel less expensive and give the anti-energy left one less argument for imposing their control freak agenda.


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