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SpaceX #18- Starbase's Annual GHG emissions will nullify 500,000 Tesla Cars
Do narratives matter?
🚨Here’s your SpaceX NEPA 101 guide for context and background- READ THIS FIRST🚨
CHAPTER 18: Plant a Tree Day!
I really didn’t want to have to do this post. I think it’s a given that the Rocket shooting industry isn’t exactly the greenest business around. And really, that’s ok with me. I like rockets, as I said from the very outset of my ongoing series. I think pushing boundaries in the cosmos is a great endeavor for humanity to undertake.
But the energy needed to fight the earth’s gravitational pull is no small matter. The creation of such dense excess energy one requires to hurl hundreds of tons of metal and carbon into the skies is gonna have an environmental impact. It’s one of those things we know.
And that’s fine. What’s not ok is to pretend like it’s something it’s not. SpaceX’s planned Starbase expansion, as exhaustively discussed over and over, is not an insignificant change from the initial 2014 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The operation of a gas processing facility, an LNG unit and a utility sized power plant is gonna have a large footprint, physically and otherwise.
At first, SpaceX fans seemed to dismiss the mere mention of such facilities that are listed in the Programmatic Environmental Assessment as false. But as more and more people have started to actually look at the document, there’s been a bit of a reckoning. Most recently, CleanTechnica posed the question:
In the comments section, I noticed a bit of the justification that has been simmering up since day one as people looked at items such as the 250 megawatt power plant:
The old pay for your sins argument is rearing its ugly head. My private jet is ok because I bought carbon offsets! I planted trees! I did my part, dang it, now leave me alone!
“Leave SpaceX alone because Musk has already done enough for climate action with Tesla!”
I’d really rather separate SpaceX from Tesla. Treat them as individual organizations. But, as with anything Musk, the argument always comes back to the man himself. So, as any good scientist, let’s look at the numbers shall we?
Using the Argonne Laboratory GREET Model, let’s look at the nominal CO2e impact of some relevant items:
The Generation of 2501 Megawatt Hours From a Turbine = 122 tons
Creating 1000 barrels of Liquified Natural Gas2 (LNG) = 33.7 tons
Creating 1000 barrels of Y-grade or NGLs from natural gas = 64 tons
A single launch from Starship3 = 3625 tons
The annual CO2 savings for a Tesla Model 34 = 2.88 tons
Once we add the numbers up, assume year round operation and enough LNG (rocket fuel) for 50 launches per year, we get:
1.49 Million Tons CO2e for Starbase Per Year
To put that in perspective, that’s the same as the annual CO2e savings from:
The company produced 509,737 vehicles in 2020. Maybe now you can see that this isn’t some tiny little thing?
Plant that tree baby.
PART 1 - NEPA Primer / FAA has no business permitting oil and gas facilities
PART 2 - Elon Musk’s Natural Gas Treatment Plant
PART 3 - SpaceX is building a pipeline and doesn’t feel the need to mention it
PART 4 - SpaceX dreams of drilling for a sh*tload of oil
PART 5 - A discussion on the hugeness of the project, a parade of tankers and a reality check about the Oil and Gas biz
PART 6 - The Facility would be a Major Source of Pollution under the PSD Rules in the Clean Air Act, which by statutory definition would exclude it from fast track approval under NEPA
PART 7 - The GHG and CO2 emissions are plainly nonsense
PART 8 - ESG Hound drops the gauntlet and explains why this is a massive fraud happening in plain sight.
PART 9 - The End of NEPA as we know it
PART 10 - ELON MUSK REALITY DISTORTION FIELD
PART 11 - Pipeline Plans Confirmed!
PART 12 - It turns out drilling for oil and gas has some negative environmental impacts
PART 13 - I found the Modular Gas Plant; the clue that got me there will leave you stiff with shock
PART 14 - The wildlife toll of industry, told through my personal experiences
PART 15 - SpaceX is building an LNG, does anyone care?
PART 16 - First Principles and gas processing plants
PART 17 - Big LNG Unit is, big!
One hour of Starbase’s proposed power plant operations
Rocket Fuel and LNG are the same thing. One just sounds cooler
1000 tons of LNG Rocket Fuel + Complete combustion to CO2
Assumes 12,000 miles per year, GREET Defaults (0.11 kg/mile EV and 0.26 kg/mile ICE)