How Carbon Capture and Storage can help keep emissions away from the atmosphere

Red and white chimney.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to stop CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases from ever reaching the atmosphere where they accelerate global warming? As a kid I used to dream about such a technology and wondered why no one has come up with a way of just doing that. As it seems, I wasn’t the only one who thought that it would actually be a great idea to keep emissions away from the atmosphere. Let’s talk about carbon capture and storage.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) means what’s in the name: a chain of different technologies capture, transport and store CO2 produced by power plants and industrial facilities. With that we can keep carbon dioxide that was produced from reaching the atmosphere. Therefore, it can no longer continue to global warming.

How CCS works

As a first step, factory chimneys would need to be fit with solvent filters, which can trap carbon emissions before they escape. The gas can then be piped to locations where it can be used or stored. It’s not yet clear whether CCS can keep the promised hopes of storing carbon. There are several pilot projects ongoing that scientists are working on.

At the moment, CCS had not yet been deployed on a large scale. However, CCS projects could reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by nearly a fifth and reduce of tackling the climate crisis by 70 per cent. This is important, because a significant amount of power generation and industry will continue to rely on fossil fuels. Already, countries like the USA, Canada, Norway, and China are forerunners in research and development.

Factory with emissions.
CCS could be used in already existing industries. Photo: Chris Leboutillier I Unsplash

To use CCS, factory chimneys will need to be fit with filters to trap carbon emissions before they can escape. The captured carbon can then be transported to storing facilities or be used as fertilizer, for example.

Advantages and problems of CCS

CCS has a very neat aspects which make it attractive to use. It can be integrated into existing energy systems. Therefore, it’s not necessary to build new power plants for example just to be able to use CCS. It can also decarbonise emission-heavy industries such as cement production. A combination with low-carbon or carbon-neutral bioenergy can be used to generate negative emissions as well.

As stated earlier, CCS is still in the early stages. However, if we want to reduce the amount of carbon being released into earth’s atmosphere, we need more negative emission technologies such as CCP. Also, there CCS comes with some problems. After capturing carbon with CCS, it needs to be transported, deposited, and stored somewhere. This needs additional energy and of course a place to store the captured carbon is needed. Suitable places would be underground geological formations. Those need to be secure for carbon storage. Also, a leaking of stored carbon could negatively impact the environment, biodiversity, and groundwater.

Atmosphere from space.
Keeping carbon from reaching the atmosphere is vital on reaching climate goals. Photo: Richard Gatley I Unsplash

CCS has a lot of potential and can be a key to limiting global warming to well below two degrees Celsius. Future scientific advancements will help to hopefully bring CCS from the early stages to being ready for the mass market.

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Eco-Spotlight is a digital publication that focuses on different aspects of climate change solutions: projects and ideas focused on sustainable development, social entrepreneurship, environmental businesses, eco-friendly practices, and similar green initiatives. Through our solution-focused interviews and articles, we want to bring good news to the forefront and remind the world – without hope, there is no future. We also syndicate our content with White Print, India’s first English lifestyle magazine in Braille.

Hello there! I'm Julia, co-founder of Eco-Spotlight and a freelance journalist. With Eco-Spotlight, I want to focus on sharing stories of inspirational people and positive impact, as well as learn more about the environment, and sustainability.

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