Gassing games

12Oct09

Back from Australia and full of jet-lag fuelled energy first thing in the morning I read the paper with particular concentration.

On the other side of the world there was a debate in the press about whether Australia, the world’s biggest exporter of uranium, should start importing nuclear waste for long-term storage.  In Britain I discovered that my home may be above a site which is geologically suitable for the long-term storage of carbon dioxide.

This made me wonder what rights I have to the Earth’s crust beneath my house. I would be quite interested in generating some long-term revenue by renting out some space a few thousand feet under the garden. In the past I had wondered if I could offer this for nuclear waste, but if the Australians seize that market then carbon dioxide might be a good alternative.

There is, of course, a slight risk that the CO2 would percolate up through the layers of rock and enter the house. Fortunately one of the few things that I remember from my chemistry lessons is that you can easily detect the presence of a number of common gases using a Bunsen burner and a small splint of wood.

I’m pretty sure that carbon dioxide is the one that extinguishes a flame (hence its use in fire extinguishers, I assume). We’ve got plenty of candles, so it should be fairly easy to rig up a gas detector in the downstairs rooms.

Now what sort of rent should I charge for the space underground?

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5 Responses to “Gassing games”

  1. 1 Mike S

    When doing the ‘university rounds’ with my daughter; to give us a flavour of the sort of thing covered in the course, one of the lecturers gave us a ‘mini-lecture’ on Land Law……
    In the olden days, the land you owned covered the earth beneath your feet all the way to the centre of the Earth, and all the space above your land up into the heavens (there is a Latin phrase for this…..).
    Now that there is so much ‘stuff’ going on below our feet and above our heads, I think the guidance is that your land is being ‘trespassed’ on if it’d depriving you of what you could reasonably use the land/air for.
    e.g. you couldn’t sue somebody for trespassing on the ‘land’ under your feet, if you couldn’t reasonably make use of theat ‘land’ yourself.

    • 2 alexoutside

      Mike – so by declaring my intentions in the blog I guess I have made a public statement about my proposed reasonable use of the land beneath my feet. The jury will be sympathetic!… Meanwhile I’m now thinking about charging the airlines a toll for flying over my house. 🙂

  2. 3 Becky Stafford

    So basically you can’t charge rent for it ^ ner ner ner!

  3. 5 Michael Dagless

    I think the phrase for that particular property of CO2 is “will not support combustion”. “Support” as in just like your claim for renting out the space way beneath your feet won’t be. You’ll probably get sent back to Australia to live in the desert with neighbours such as descendants from British convicts. (They’ll be the good neighbours. The bad ones will be affected by Uranium waste).


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