Technology

Factors Detracting from and Contributing to Carbon Capture

CDR is essential for climate mitigation however, there are a host of factors that are impeding its implementation. One of the impediments to deploying CDR is cost related to the technology’s vast energy requirements. CDR at scale would consume vast amounts of energy, it is estimated that the large-scale deployment of DAC will require as much as a quarter of the world’s total energy demands by 2100 (Realmonte, 2019). There are also concerns that the energy required to power CDR at scale would generate emissions. Although some have suggested that this can be addressed by ensuring that these technologies are...

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The Role of the Fossil Fuel Industry in Carbon Capture

The fossil fuel industry has played a pioneering role in advancing carbon capture research. This includes carbon capture and utilization (CCU) for fuel, and enhanced oil recovery or (EOR) that uses captured carbon to extract more oil. Neither CCU nor EOR will enable us to meet the targets laid out in the Paris Agreement (ie keeping temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius). Using captured carbon to make fuel is at best carbon neutral and extracting more oil is fundamentally at odds with efforts to curtail climate change.. Research (Mac Dowell, Fennell, Shah, and Maitland, 2017) clearly shows that converting captured carbon...

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The Most Promising Directions in Carbon Capture Research

In addition to the established carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies, there are many innovative approaches that are worth exploring. Here is a summary of 16 promising research directions and approaches that encompass a wide range of technological solutions related to CCS, CCU, and NCS. Some are included because of their novel ability to capture carbon, others because of their innovative incorporation of renewable energy or the utility of their end products.  Polymer membranes submerged in water Due to their relatively low cost, facile fabrication, and straightforward scale-up, polymer membranes have been used as a practical alternative to traditional CCS gas...

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Assessment of Geological Carbon Sequestration

The success of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) as a climate solution depends on the ability to safely and permanently store CO2 (Matter, 2016). To achieve a significant drawdown of CO2, both carbon capture and storage (CCS) and direct air capture (DAC) require sequestration infrastructure to ensure that captured carbon stays out of the atmosphere. According to the EPA, CCS technologies can bury up to 90% of power plant emissions (Hardcastle, 2016). Geologic sequestration has proven itself to be the safest and most enduring way to keep carbon out of the atmosphere. As reviewed above CF has demonstrated that through a...

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Assessment of the Leading Carbon Capture Companies

Here is a technical assessment of six companies leading the carbon capture space. These six carbon dioxide removal (CDR) companies are those whose core activity is carbon capture and storage (CCS). This includes Net Power and Quest that work exclusively in conjunction with fossil fuels, as well as the more flexible approaches of Carbon Engineering, Global Thermostat, Climeworks, and Carbfix. Assessment of Net Power and Quest Here are two examples of working CCS plants that are used in conjunction with fossil fuel-powered power plants. Both plants have been in operation for years and have amassed ample data to warrant scrutiny....

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Companies Leading Carbon Capture Technology

The Biden administration's support for carbon sequestration is driving an abundance of interest in established companies working in this space.  Here are six of the best companies for carbon capture: Net Power, Quest, Carbon Engineering, Global Thermostat, Climeworks and Carbfix.  In previous articles I have explored why we need to siphon greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere,  assessed carbon capture technologies, the cost and scalability of these technologies. In addition to Net Power and Quest, I will review four working examples of carbon-dioxide reduction (CDR) technologies These are the most well-established pilot projects and commercial demonstration plants in the world. These...

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An Assessment of Carbon Capture Technologies

Carbon dioxide reduction (CDR) technologies have made great strides in the last ten years and there is support for the view that they are necessary and will play a major role in efforts to decarbonize our world. CDR includes direct air capture and sequestration (DACCS), carbon capture and utilization (CCU), and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). This view is buoyed by pilot projects that have been deployed around the world, however, there is some disagreement about the cost and speed at which they can scale. It is likely that no one technology will dominate, and we will need to co-deploy...

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The Costs and Scalability of Carbon Capture Technologies

There are good reasons to believe that carbon dioxide reduction (CDR) technologies are viable, however, there are also legitimate concerns about such technologies.   An EASAC report concluded that NETs are unlikely to remove even several GtCO2/year after 2050. "Negative emission technologies may have a useful role to play but, on the basis of current information, not at the levels required to compensate for inadequate mitigation measures," the report stated. Low technological readiness, high costs, and negative effects on terrestrial and marine ecosystems are factors weighing against NETs, it said (EASAC, 2018). Cost is often presented as an important consideration. However,...

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Natural Climate Solutions for Carbon Sequestration

Nature-based solutions to climate change offer a number of ways to capture carbon. These so-called natural climate solutions (NCS) involve conservation, restoration and land management actions that increase carbon storage or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in landscapes and wetlands.    Carbon capture is a critical part of efforts to reduce atmospheric emissions that will enable us to keep temperatures below upper-temperature threshold limits of between 1.5 and 2 Celsius. Natural Climate Solutions are the most cost-effective negative emissions technology (NETs), this is particularly true of land management and forest management which can be implemented for less than $100 per tonne of...

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Decarbonization Through Electrification in Waterborne Transportation

All modes of transportation are gradually being converted to electric propulsion and this includes watercraft. Driven by ominous increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions the move to decarbonize transportation through electrification is growing and while land and air travel get a lot of well-warranted attention, we also need to decarbonize vehicles that travel on water.  In recent years we have made major strides in electric cars, trucks, and buses as well as electric-powered aviation, but there are even greater opportunities to electrify watercraft because they are not as limited by space and weight as their air and land-based counterparts. Electrification is especially well...

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