In Focus: Carbon Capture and Storage
The worst problem of the century is rising atmospheric temperatures. CSS technology known as Carbon Capture and Storage/Sequestration proposes to come tothe rescue. Through this technology, carbon dioxide is captured frompower plants and stored in a way that does not harm the environment.Recently, in the past few years, there have been various initiatives tocapture CO2.
1. Geoengineered enzymes to reduce the cost of carbon capture
Carbonic anhydrase, an enzyme, is capable of reducing the carbon capture costs as it lowers the amount of energy required to capture CO2. This enzyme increases the efficiency of carbon capture a100 times. Itcannot survive at temperatures higher than 65 degree Celsius. As such,the most exigent thing about this Project was to make the survivalpossible.
2. 3.3 million tons of CO2 to be sequestered by GE
Slowly, organizations around the world are finding ways to reduce the carbon footprint. A whopping $400 million deal has been struck between General Electric Oil and Gas and the developers of Gorgon Natural Gas Project to sequester 3.3 million tons of CO2. The captured CO2 will be stored into wells 2.5km beneath the earth’ssurface. This project would aid an annual production of around 15million tons of liquefied natural gas.
3. Colorado based Company invents technology to capture CO2 in an easier manner
ION Engineering has come up with a technology that lowers the cost of capturing a ton of CO2 to just $20. With theconventional CSS methods, the cost varies between $50 and $100. TheCompany plans to use iconic liquids as against the conventionalwater-based solution.
4. Vattenfall to develop a pilot CSS project in Germany
In spite of the fact that there are many political and ecologicalissues to handle, there is no doubt about the usefulness of the CSStechnology. In order to further clarify the technology to the people,the Swedish firm will test and demonstrate a pilot CSS project at theSchwarzePumpe power plant in Germany.
5. UK Government announces funds for using CSS technology
Hatfield is supposed to accommodate the first carbon capture plant. Thisachievement has been made possible by an enormous award of€180m from the European Union. The 900MW coal-fired electricity plant of PowerfuelPower would presumably start operating in 2014. The carbon capturedthrough the CSS technology would be buried in an offshore gas field 100miles away.
Apart from the known fact that it would largely reduce carbonemissions, there are certain other significant benefits. Among them, the most important benefit is it would be now possible to keep the rise intemperature at a consistently 5 Centigrade low by keeping CO2 less than550 ppm.
The most obvious disadvantage of this technology is that it isapplicable only to the carbon emissions in the power plants. The CSStechnology does not connect to the CO2 emissions through coaltransportation and mining. Another shortfall is that the safe burial ofatmospheric CO2 cannot be guaranteed, not without the least chances ofaftereffects. Last but not the least, cost concerns are always there toput their ugly toes on the bread.
Well, everything that shines is not necessarily gold. Same goes thecase with the CSS technology along with the brighter side it also has adarker one. The latter being that the trapped CO2 would also at somepoint of time prove to be ultimately harmful. The question is why thenshould any person opt to trap CO2 given a chance to curtail the use ofcoal itself?
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