Developing new markets for carbon dioxide will be vital to make coal to liquids and coal gasification economically competitive, says one Ameican entrepeneur.

There are a number of applications for carbon dioxide, said James Mayer, president of A. J. Mayer International. It can be used for enhanced recovery of oil, natural gas and coalbed methane as well as enhancing agricultural growth.

Recently, researchers began using carbon dioxide to feed algae and accelerate their growth in tubes for use as a feedstock for ethanol fuel. Carbon dioxide is also sold for use in dry ice production and carbonation.

$quot;Once these markets are further developed, there will be more applications discovered; right now, believe it or not, there's a shortage of carbon dioxide,$quot; Mayer said.

Mayer contends a standard coal-to-liquids plant that captures 90 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions can get 1.4 tons of carbon from every ton of bituminous coal. That carbon can yield about three barrels of oil per ton when injected during enhanced oil recovery.

Senate bill S.731, the National CO2 Storage Capacity Assessment Act of 2007, would put the secretary of the interior in charge of overseeing a U.S. Geological Survey study that will develop a methodology for and complete a national assessment of the geological storage capacity for carbon dioxide.

If the bills are passed, large-scale carbon dioxide injection projects into geologic formations would be put on the fast-track and speed the market along.

However, though carbon dioxide has been injected for enhanced oil recovery use, there are liability issues around large-scale injection of carbon dioxide into geologic formations and long-term geologic carbon storage that are just beginning to be brought up in discussion.

Passive sequestration and using carbon dioxide in productive ways, while both good, Mayer said, are different. Using carbon dioxide productively creates market-driven revenue, he said.

There is a demonstration at the Dakota Gasification Company's plant in Beulah, N.D., where carbon dioxide is being produced and delivered by a 204-mile pipeline to the Weyburn oil field in Saskatchewan, according to the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy. Pipelines are already spread across the country and could be used to transport carbon dioxide.

$quot;Expansion would be like adding lanes to our interstate highway system,$quot; said Randy Randol, senior policy adviser for Peabody Energy