Traditional sources of energy have come under more and more scrutiny with each passing day. While the petroleum reserves of the world are already running dry, the use of these fossil fuels is also facing opposition from those who care for the planet. Despite all the negative aspects attached to the use of these energy sources, it is undeniable that we have not yet been able to come up with a viable alternative to the use of fossil fuels; at least not in totality.
We normally associate most breakthroughs associated in the field of environmental with either renewable sources of energy or better use of non-renewable sources. While increasing the efficiency of fuels used is important, at the same time it is also essential that we find new ways to control and reduce the emissions released. While coal is a comparatively abundant source than petrol, the problem in its usage lies in the fact that it releases huge amounts of CO2 in to the atmosphere. Not that this has ever stopped us from setting up thermal power plants, but now people are trying to find a new way to cut out on the emissions.
The FutureGen Alliance along with the US Energy Department have stated that they are about to set up a new coal power plant that will have zero-carbon emissions. While I was startled initially by their claim, it was only after going through the entire project that I realized the fact that it was just a twist in the old tale. The power plant to be set up in Illinois is going to send the carbon emissions produced from the plant deep into the earth and the natural conditions there are expected to trap CO2 for eternity. The plant would also not burn the coal but would gasify it to try and reduce on carbon emissions further.
While the project does sound good and might have plenty of value for future, I still am not convinced on this idea of trapping carbon emissions. We have done plenty of things in the past not knowing completely what other effects such acts could produce. We do not understand the mechanism of the planet’s functioning completely even till today. So to send something deep inside the earth and to again add something not natural to nature is somehow not a thought I’m comfortable with. I hope they give it a second thought.