A Rate for Transporting CO2 to Antarctica

As noted in previous posts, I’m interested in the concept of storing CO2 in Antarctica as snow or ice. For an amount to store there, I came up with an amount equal to the nice round number of 100 ppmv. CO2 was below 300 ppmv before the industrial revolution and is at about 400 ppmv now. This works out to about 660 760 cubic kilometers or 200 cubic miles. I did not specify a time frame which I will do now. Half a century (50 years) sounds like another good round number and it’s only off from the old Soviet Union’s five year plans by one order of magnitude.

The point of this whole exercise is to get some idea of the scale of such an undertaking and I’ve come up with about 113 130 supertankers of liquid CO2 a day. The supertankers would be nearly  400 meters long and hold 320,000 cubic meters each (two million barrels of oil). I found this from Wikipedia. I don’t know how comparable a proposed liquid CO2 tanker would be to the oil tankers described, but it does give some idea of scale.

What if it were to be pipelined? I will also use an oil comparison. According to Wikipedia again, the proposed Keystone pipeline would move about 100,000 cubic meters a day (94,000 after the first two phases, 110,000 after the third phase). So I came up with a daily volume equivalent of about 360 416 Keystone pipelines. And needles to say, piping liquid CO2 is not the same thing as piping oil, but it does offer a sense of the huge scale. While it may never be practical, it does not look completely undoable. My simple calculations are below the fold.

(UPDATE: I mistakenly copied 760 cubic kilometers as 660. I’ve struck the old numbers. The new ones amount to only a 15% increase.)

660 cubic kilometers of liquid/solid CO2

/ 50 = 13.2 km**3 /year

/385[sic] = .0362 km**3/day

*1000,000,000 = 36,200,000 m**3/day

/320,000 = 113 supertankers


/100,000 =362 Keystone pipelines.


760 cubic kilometers of liquid/solid CO2

/ 50 = 15.2 km**3 /year

/365 = .0416 km**3/day

*1000,000,000 = 41,600,000 m**3/day

/320,000 = 130 supertankers


/100,000 =416 Keystone pipelines.


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