AAEA conducted a session at the State of Environmental Justice in America 2010 Conference entitled, "The Defense Department, Environmental Justice and Climate Change." Panelists included John McCormick, President, Energy Policy Center and Norris McDonald represented our parent organization, Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy. McDonald and McCormick described a process that can convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into gasoline.
McDonald opened the session by describing how a program called Energy Defense Reservations (EDR) can utiltize funding from the Defense Department to help in building emission free nuclear plants that will reduce air pollution and mitigate global warming. He described that reducing smog in urban areas is a very important environmental justice issue. So is mitigating global warming, which produces even more intensive nonattainment days. A large scale project that reduces emissions mitigates environmental injustice and global warming.
The EDR would be a public/private partnership that simultaneously reduces carbon dioxide emissions from utility plants, while providing hydrogen for fuel cells and diesel fuel for military and civilian transportation purposes. EDR would combine the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), electricity utilities, coal producers and oil companies into consortia that produce electricity from coal and nuclear power, convert carbon dioxide into diesel fuel and gasoline, produce hydrogen, use the separated oxygen for coal-fired oxy-combustion and reprocess/recycle nuclear waste - all in a closed loop system. Ten reservations strategically located around the nation producing 100,000 megawatts of electricity without releasing any greenhouse gases.
McCormick proceeded with a technical powerpoint presentation that described the process in detail. These processes need very high temperatures of about 900 degrees Celsius. Carbon dioxide would be used from the coal plant to make a vehicle fuel while an adjacent nuclear plant would produce hydrogen for fuel cell production and oxygen for the coal plant firebox. The oxygen from the electrolysis would be used in the coal firebox to reduce the volume of emission gases by 80 percent, which represents nitrogen in the air. There will be little to no CO2 emitted from the coal plant because the gas will be used to make vehicle fuel. There will be CO2 released from vehicle use but these emissions would occur anyway from vehicle use. We are still studying the energy penalties and economics for these processes.