Carbon Capture Storage/Sequestration

With the thickening of Earth’s atmosphere and warmer summers, there is no doubt that these anomalies being experienced around the world are a warning sign of what a bigger problem is, which is global warming. A common misconception is that climate change can never be remedied, but since the 21st century is an era of technological advancements, there are many technologies that have been developed and proposed to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately help mitigate the effects of global warming. Efforts to mitigate climate change and the effects of climate change require a number of different approaches. One of these technologies is Carbon Capture and Storage/Sequestration, which is also called CCS. Carbon Capture Storage/Sequestration is a process in which carbon dioxide is extracted from the exhaust of refineries, and is converted in to a form where it can be transported and pumped to a place underground safely. With the process of capturing carbon, this method of helping to mitigate climate change also comes with a number of benefits.

There are three main steps to Carbon Capture and Storage. The first step in the process of CCS is to extract the carbon dioxide from the exhaust. The fossil fuel being burned releases CO2 as a by-product, along with other gaseous mixtures as well as smoke. In order to capture the CO2, there are three methods; post-combustion capture, pre-combustion capture and oxy-fuel combustion In post-combustion capture, the carbon dioxide gas is extracted right after the fossil fuel has been burnt. The fossil fuel combustion releases flue gase­s, which include CO2, water vapour, sulphur dioxides and nitrogen oxides. When these gases go through chambers or chimneys, they go through filters, which are just solvents that absorb the carbon dioxide. The other gases go right through the filter and are released. In pre-combustion capture, the carbon dioxide gas is extracted right before the fossil fuel is burned, and before other flue gases dilute it. Since coal, oil and natural gas is heated in purified oxygen gas, the by-products are carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The mix of carbon monoxide and hydrogen is then treated inside catalytic converter along with a catalyst called steam, which in turn produces more hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The captured CO2 and the excess CO2 IS then converted into liquid or gaseous form and is then injected into depleted fossil fuel/ natural gas sources.

Source: ORNL

With the process of extracting greenhouse gases through carbon capture and storage, the use of this technology has a lot of benefits, as a lot of CO2 gas can be extracted and stored. One benefit is that CCS technology can significantly cut and reduce emissions in places where pollution is excessive. If Carbon Capture and Storage technology is implemented at a world-wide level, CO2 emissions or greenhouse gas emissions can be cut by 50% in the next 50 years, which can alleviate some of the problems of climate change like experiencing warmer summers and seeing rising sea levels friendly (Zero Emissions Platform). Another benefit of applying and using CCS is that it can significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions made by heavy industrial buildings like factories, refineries and energy plants. If CCS is retrofitted to older factories and is built with new factories that burn coal, oil or fossil fuels, the technology implemented can reduce emissions by 90%, which can make factories of refineries that are known to pollute the atmosphere with so much CO2, be environmentally friendly (Zero Emissions Platform)(The CCS Association). According to Environment Canada, Alberta is known to pollute the atmosphere with so much carbon dioxide, mostly because of their booming oil industry. An example of this is a power generating plant in Alberta called the Genesee Thermal Generating Station, which emits approximately 8900 kilotons of energy per annum (Environment Canada). By using and retrofitting CCS with factories, the amount of carbon dioxide emissions can drop to 900 kilotons per year. Overall, Carbon Capture and Storage may be a viable option to tackle global warming and may have many strengths, and has a great potential in the coming years

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