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Carbon Capture begins!

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Carbon Capture technologies are up and coming methods capable of limiting global Carbon Dioxide emissions. These technologies have unique opportunities, challenges and huge investments are made for their improvements to fit the progress of the industry and technology. This series of articles aims to introduce the  basics Carbon Capture and explore its important aspects.

Couple of  major concerns of the earth are the increased greenhouse gas emissions and  the decline of the natural Carbon Dioxide (CO2) sinks. The rapid urbanization, increased consumption and destruction of natural vegetation has lead to these adversities. The concern of CO2 accumulation in the air around us lead to major conventions to be negotiated such as United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992. Each year stakeholders and many interested parties meet to further analyse the ongoing situation of the emissions and further review the convention and its legal instruments. At the 21st meeting (COP21) held in Paris, France from 30th November to 12th December 2015, 195 nations agreed to ‘‘combat climate change and unleash actions and investment towards a low carbon, resilient and sustainable future’’ with a target to ensure global temperature rise is kept below 2 C.   It is predicted that CO2 levels can rise up to  800 ppm (parts per million) by the end of this century leading to about 4 C  rise in the earth surface temperature if no solutions are implemented to mitigate the emissions.

One of the solutions being implemented is Carbon Capture and Storage which can capture up to 90% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions pro­duced from the use of fossil fuels in electricity generation and industrial processes. CCS is mainly the capturing and transportation of carbon into a safe geographical location.  Therefore, this  technology has the potential to prevent the carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere in the gaseous form. This technology has the potential to be a major driver in mitigating global climate change phenomena caused by anthropogenic emissions of Carbon Dioxide.

Carbon capture is also called carbon sequestration.  The meaning of the term is “a natural or artificial process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and held in solid or liquid form.” When further looking at carbon capture techniques, there are few important segments. Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) is different from Carbon Capture Storage  (CCS) which is essentially CO2  transported and injected into underground storage sites. CCUS additionally involves Carbon Capture Utilization (CCU) which is the reuse of captured carbon.

Carbon is also ejected  the environment as a solid compound. This is seen mainly in biomass energy production. Crop husks, scrap lumber, manure and crops themselves are few materials used as Biomass. One way of conversion of Biomass is by simple combustion. This is done through co-firing with other fuels or by a methods of gasification. This energy conversion process ejects solid carbon particles as well as some amount of gaseous emissions. A NRDC report in 2016* claims that in United Kingdom, considering the latest technology costs; the cost of ensuring reliability of supply, and carbon costs,  wind and solar power are likely to be less expensive than burning trees for biomass, and that many forms of biomass – such as that from forests – have been producing higher carbon emissions than coal and natural gas for decades. Therefore, researchers should look into mitigating. Meanwhile in the United States about 4% of the energy used had been provided by Biomass by 2010. Of this amount, 46% was from wood or wood-derived sources, 43% was from bio fuels and 11% was from municipal waste.

The topic of Carbon Capture, Utilization and  Storage is quite timely and interesting and we intend to explore this subject in detail  in the coming articles of this series.


Materials Processing Institute (MPI) , UK

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 August 2017 17:58  
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