“carbon Capture And Utilization: Turning Emissions Into Resources” – Carbon capture: What you need to know about carbon capture in the fight against climate change | messages loaded

Science Explains Carbon Capture: What you need to know about carbon capture to combat climate change

“carbon Capture And Utilization: Turning Emissions Into Resources”

Removing carbon from the atmosphere sounds like an ideal way to stop climate change. Here you can find out more about how CO2 capture works, what advantages and disadvantages it has and where it needs to be used to make an impact.

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A Carbon Engineering employee holds separated carbon in her hands. The solid calcium carbonate pellets were formed by capturing CO2 from the air at the company’s first direct air capture plant in Squamish, B.C. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

This story is part of a news series titled “In Our Backyard,” which explores the impact of climate change in Canada, from extreme weather events to how it’s changing our economy.

If global warming is caused by too much carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere by human activity, then capturing those greenhouse gases before they reach the atmosphere – or better yet, sucking them straight out of the sky – sounds like a logical solution.

That’s the promise of carbon capture technologies, one of the few climate change solutions that not only reduces the amount of carbon emitted, but can actually remove carbon from the atmosphere, thereby creating “negative emissions.”

Direct Air Capture

Indeed, it may be crucial if we are to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels – the stricter of two Paris Agreement goals aimed at preventing the worst effects of climate change. Last year’s special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that any successful scenario would require removal of carbon dioxide to offset emissions from sources for which mitigation measures have not been identified – things like long-haul air travel and cement production.

In both cases, the CO2-containing gases or air are typically absorbed by a solvent or solution and later separated again.

To date, most carbon capture projects around the world have been the former, as carbon dioxide concentrations are much higher when it comes from a source like a furnace — CO2 makes up just 0.04 percent of air — making capture cheaper and makes easier.

Most projects in Canada to date have involved carbon capture and storage, in which the carbon dioxide is used to push more oil out of aging oil wells and then stored underground in air pockets in the porous rock of depleted wells with a “capstone” above to prevent leakage.

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However, there are numerous efforts to use recovered carbon to make products ranging from fuels to concrete to soap.

In fact, a recent international competition called NRG COSIA Carbon XPrize is awarding $20 million in prizes to companies that can convert CO2 into valuable products. Four of the finalists were Canadian (although one, Carbicrete, has since retired to focus on building a pilot plant in Quebec). The winner will be announced in 2020.

According to the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, a think tank based in Melbourne, Australia, in 2018 there were 18 large commercial plants operating worldwide, five under construction and 20 at other stages of development.

The Boundary Dam power station in Estevan, Sask. features on-site carbon capture and storage. (Michael Bell/Canadian Press)

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There are also some smaller demonstration projects in Canada, including Carbon Engineering’s Direct Air Capture facility in Squamish, B.C. and the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Center in Calgary, where five of the XPrize finalists will test their ideas.

In Canada, Quest and ACTL combined are expected to capture 2.7 megatons of carbon per year, equivalent to the emissions of 600,000 cars per year, the National Energy Board estimates.

According to the International Energy Agency, more than 30 megatons of CO2 are captured worldwide every year, 70 percent of it in North America. That’s not much — it would hardly diminish the 716 megatons Canada emitted in 2017 alone.

However, the IEA projects that CO2 capture will increase to 2,300 megatons per year by 2040, equivalent to seven percent of global emissions reductions.

What Is Ccus Technology?

The main problem is that carbon capture is very expensive compared to other climate protection solutions such as tree planting, green energy and energy efficiency.

While utility-scale onshore wind and solar projects cost less than $30 per ton of carbon in 2017, fossil-fuel power plants using carbon capture and storage cost an estimated $43 to $95 per ton, according to a study by Harvard and Yale researchers from 2018 revealed.

Direct air capture is even more expensive. Steve Oldham, CEO of Carbon Engineering, estimates his company’s technology will cost $100 to $150 per tonne of CO2 captured.

That’s much higher than Canada’s carbon price, which will be $50 per tonne in 2022.

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“The fastest way to reduce emissions and the cheapest way to reduce emissions are definitely not projects of this nature,” said Mike Hudema, climate organizer at Greenpeace.

The Pembina Institute, a Calgary-based nonprofit think tank focused on energy, said other challenges included limited resources and a lack of regulation to encourage that energy.

While a demand for carbon dioxide for industrial processes could lower costs, the Pembina Institute estimates that demand accounts for less than 1 percent of global emissions.

There are some aspects of our modern life that generate a lot of emissions without viable low-carbon alternatives. These include long-distance shipping, air travel, and cement, steel, and fertilizer production.

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Duncan Kenyon, regional director of the Pembina Institute in Alberta, said global fossil fuel use is therefore unlikely to dry up in the next few decades.

At the same time, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that the world must reach net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of climate change – that is, for every molecule of CO2 it must bind one molecule emitted.

Jackie Forrest, senior research director at ARC Energy Research Institute, said if carbon capture works, fossil fuels could still be part of this “net-zero” world.

Kenyon predicts that future demand will be for oil with a much lower carbon footprint — something that carbon capture can help produce.

Carbon Capture And Utilization Update

And unlike energy efficiency and tree planting, which can take decades to make an impact, carbon capture is “leading to emission reductions now… not in the future.”

Carbon Engineering’s Oldham noted that even if we stop all our emissions tomorrow, the CO2 we’ve already emitted will continue to warm the earth for some time: “It’s not going away.” He said direct air capture is the solution.

“We can deal with the emissions from yesterday and the day before and the day before that are already in the atmosphere.”

This is particularly important as many scenarios considered by the IPCC indicate that our carbon emissions are likely to overshoot international targets and we will need to remove emissions from the air to reach them again.

What Is Carbon Capture Usage And Storage?

Greenpeace’s Hudema fears this will waste “the valuable and limited resources” needed to tackle climate change that could otherwise be invested in other solutions, such as green energy.

He also worries it could slow the transition to new, lower-carbon industries. “The answer can’t be that we just keep growing the same industries that got us into this problem,” he said.

Dianne Saxe, Ontario’s former Environment Commissioner, fears this will make people complacent about reducing emissions.

“This notion that it’s okay to keep burning gasoline as long as you capture and store an appropriate amount of carbon is really dangerous,” she said.

Carbon Capture Sequestration

“I think [carbon capture technologies] will never be commercially viable without that,” said Joule Bergerson, a University of Calgary researcher who analyzes the policy implications of energy technology options.

Carbon Engineering’s Oldham said his company hopes there will be a consumer market for low-carbon versions of products like kerosene and fertilizers made from captured carbon.

This rendering shows Carbon Engineering’s “Air Contactor Design”. The company’s CEO estimates that the technology will cost $100 to $150 per tonne of CO2 captured. (carbon technology)

“The question is: would we pay more for a lower carbon product, like we might pay extra for organic chicken?”

Toward Economical Application Of Carbon Capture And Utilization Technology With Near Zero Carbon Emission

He suggested that the government may need to introduce an incentive or penalty to steer consumer behavior in the right direction.

One way, he suggests, is to set a higher carbon price for dealing with emissions that are already in the air than those that have not yet been emitted. Without such a policy, “you’re not going to get to the point where technologies like ours are coming to market.”

Forrest of the ARC Energy Research Institute said technology has the potential to reduce the cost of carbon capture.

However, she believes developing CO2-based products could help fund carbon sequestration and sequestration in the future.

Why Commercial Use Could Be The Future Of Carbon Capture

“It’s hard to imagine that we could get there just by paying the government to do it,” she added. “If we can find a way to make it economical on our own, the odds of reaching that scale are much higher.”

Forrest thinks carbon capture is a “very important” technology if we are to meet the “very aggressive” UN targets.

“Just as it wasn’t the case with renewable energy

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