Public Comment

My Problem With Exxon Mobile

Jack Bragen
Friday September 09, 2016 - 01:58:00 PM

In television ads, oil and energy companies are beginning to promote the idea of capturing greenhouse gases as opposed to abandoning use of fossil fuels. I saw an article on the Greenpeace website opposed to this, stating that the idea is essentially bogus and that we need to simply switch to renewable energy. 

I wonder if scientists are even considering the potential for oxygen depletion as one of the problems with capturing combustion products.  

If you factor in the idea that the oxygen component of fossil fuel waste must be returned to our atmosphere, it makes the idea of trapping greenhouse gases into a much more complicated undertaking. In that case, you need to have algae pools in order to once again separate the oxygen atoms off of the CO2 and CO molecules. The algae pools must receive sunlight in order for them to do that.  

The above is based on very basic science that we all should've learned in grade school. I am not a college professor, far from it. However, my knowledge of science is good enough, based upon the simplest of biology and chemistry principles, that I know, in nature, you can't get something for nothing.  

I also know that greenhouse gases are produced by combining carbon with oxygen. The source of that oxygen is our atmosphere. If you trap and sequester greenhouse gases produced by powerplants, you are also trapping some amount of oxygen that belongs in our atmosphere. While oxygen depletion may more may not be a huge factor, it is nonetheless a factor. I haven't seen it addressed in the public discourse about the idea of capturing emissions.  

There are numerous other problems posed by the concept of capturing greenhouse gases, such as the cylinders cracking over time and leaking. This would make it a distant cousin to the issue of what we are to do with nuclear waste. Capturing also initially uses up a lot of energy and makes fuel burning powerplants far less efficient, not that they were highly efficient to begin with.  

In short, these advertisements--by the oil companies that try to convince the public that everything will be okay if we just give them our trust--are nothing but hot air.