Brown gov will make 'big commitment' to carbon capture

Big as in small


The Brown government, having previously stated that it is one of very few national administrations worldwide taking the idea of carbon capture seriously, has reportedly disclosed that its seriousness will not take the form of cash.

A Prime Ministerial adviser says the government will commit "tens of millions" to a pilot carbon-storage project, but industry analysts believe this will be only a small percentage of the setup costs.

The Times reports today that Michael Jacobs, a member of Gordon Brown's so-called "kitchen cabinet", gave the ballpark figure at a conference yesterday, saying it was "a very big commitment".

Industry figures quoted by the paper described the amount as "disappointing", suggesting that the added cost of a carbon-capture power plant compared to a normal one could be as much as £1bn.

Under future carbon-levy plans, such costly equipment might nonetheless make sense to coal and gas power operators, as releasing carbon to the atmosphere would become an expensive activity. CO2 produced in the new plants would be stored in such a fashion that it couldn't escape into the air, perhaps by pumping it into emptied gas fields. There are also hopes that the retrieved carbon might one day be of use, perhaps being combined with water to make petrol.

During a speech in January, Brown's business minister John Hutton said the UK was one of only three governments which took the idea of carbon capture seriously.

It appears that the power industry would have expected this to mean the government giving them money, rather than taking it away unless they develop and install capture equipment. Industry figures quoted by the Times thought taxpayers should be stumping up something more in the £300m area.

The government appears averse to subsidising most forms of power generation, stating adamantly that it will not chip in for its hoped-for new wave of nuclear power stations either. However, it does have a quota system for wind power, the Renewables Obligation, which has lately been described by analysts as "a bonanza" for wind-farm operators.

The Times report can be read here. ®


Other stories you might like

  • North Korea pulled in $400m in cryptocurrency heists last year – report

    Plus: FIFA 22 players lose their identity and Texas gets phony QR codes

    In brief Thieves operating for the North Korean government made off with almost $400m in digicash last year in a concerted attack to steal and launder as much currency as they could.

    A report from blockchain biz Chainalysis found that attackers were going after investment houses and currency exchanges in a bid to purloin funds and send them back to the Glorious Leader's coffers. They then use mixing software to make masses of micropayments to new wallets, before consolidating them all again into a new account and moving the funds.

    Bitcoin used to be a top target but Ether is now the most stolen currency, say the researchers, accounting for 58 per cent of the funds filched. Bitcoin accounted for just 20 per cent, a fall of more than 50 per cent since 2019 - although part of the reason might be that they are now so valuable people are taking more care with them.

    Continue reading
  • Tesla Full Self-Driving videos prompt California's DMV to rethink policy on accidents

    Plus: AI systems can identify different chess players by their moves and more

    In brief California’s Department of Motor Vehicles said it’s “revisiting” its opinion of whether Tesla’s so-called Full Self-Driving feature needs more oversight after a series of videos demonstrate how the technology can be dangerous.

    “Recent software updates, videos showing dangerous use of that technology, open investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the opinions of other experts in this space,” have made the DMV think twice about Tesla, according to a letter sent to California’s Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), chair of the Senate’s transportation committee, and first reported by the LA Times.

    Tesla isn’t required to report the number of crashes to California’s DMV unlike other self-driving car companies like Waymo or Cruise because it operates at lower levels of autonomy and requires human supervision. But that may change after videos like drivers having to take over to avoid accidentally swerving into pedestrians crossing the road or failing to detect a truck in the middle of the road continue circulating.

    Continue reading
  • Alien life on Super-Earth can survive longer than us due to long-lasting protection from cosmic rays

    Laser experiments show their magnetic fields shielding their surfaces from radiation last longer

    Life on Super-Earths may have more time to develop and evolve, thanks to their long-lasting magnetic fields protecting them against harmful cosmic rays, according to new research published in Science.

    Space is a hazardous environment. Streams of charged particles traveling at very close to the speed of light, ejected from stars and distant galaxies, bombard planets. The intense radiation can strip atmospheres and cause oceans on planetary surfaces to dry up over time, leaving them arid and incapable of supporting habitable life. Cosmic rays, however, are deflected away from Earth, however, since it’s shielded by its magnetic field.

    Now, a team of researchers led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) believe that Super-Earths - planets that are more massive than Earth but less than Neptune - may have magnetic fields too. Their defensive bubbles, in fact, are estimated to stay intact for longer than the one around Earth, meaning life on their surfaces will have more time to develop and survive.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022