Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a process of capturing waste carbon dioxide (CO2) from large point sources, such as fossil fuel power plants or iron & steel plants, transporting it to a storage site, and injecting it where it will not enter the atmosphere. CCS can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing coal and natural gas power plants and industrial facilities.
Despite the clear evidence of climate change and the urgent need for action to mitigate its effects, the world still largely depends on burning fossil fuels for their energy needs. This has a significant impact not just on the climate, but also on the global economy. The Paris Agreement, which was adopted by the global community in 2015, has set the goal of limiting the increase in the average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
How Does Carbon Capture and Storage Work?
CO2 can be captured in a variety of ways. The three most important are post-combustion, pre-combustion, and oxyfuel.
• Post-combustion technology removes CO2 from the flue gases produced by the combustion of fossil fuels.
• Pre-combustion methods involve converting the fossil fuel into a mixture of hydrogen and CO2 before burning it.
• Oxyfuel technology generates CO2 and steam by burning fossil fuels with almost pure oxygen.
Post-combustion and oxyfuel equipment can be installed in new plants or retrofitted - that is, added to existing power plants that were built without it. Pre-combustion methods necessitate significant changes to existing plans in order to be retrofitted and are thus better suited to new construction.
Once captured, CO2 is compressed into a liquid and transported via pipeline, ship, or road tanker. CO2 can then be pumped underground, typically to depths of one kilometre or more, to be stored in depleted oil and gas reservoirs, coalbeds, or deep saline aquifers where the geology allows.
How Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Impacts Climate Change Goals
While nuclear and renewable energy still contribute significantly to reducing carbon emissions, fossil fuels react to fluctuations in electric demand more quickly. For this reason, industry experts are looking for a more conservative solution that minimises emissions while maximising power output.
CCS is currently the only technology that can assist in lowering emissions from significant industrial facilities. CCS has the potential to produce "negative emissions," which would remove CO2 from the environment, when used in conjunction with bioenergy technologies for the production of electricity.
It's important to highlight that the CCS process has turned out to be expensive since it takes a lot of energy to group together CO2 molecules that are largely inert so they can be captured and utilised. Business stakeholders have still continued to create profitable and helpful CO2 applications in an effort to safeguard the environment.
Global stakeholders are urged by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to use CCS as a significant mitigation strategy in all stability models that keep the increase in global temperature to sub-2°C.
Learn About the Top 5 Benefits of Carbon Capture and Storage Technology!
Generate additional power -
Power production turbines may operate more effectively if CO2 based steam cycles, in which CO2 is pressured into a supercritical fluid, were used. These cycles could accelerate heat transfer and need less energy to compress steam. Additionally, it is possible to produce sustainable geothermal energy by using geologically stored CO2 to harvest geothermal heat from the same regions into which it is introduced.
Generate more fuel -
CO2 can technically be converted into a fuel. This would require energy to do so, but the fossil fuels industry is quite good at using energy to convert one form of hydrocarbon to another. This process is still in development, but the potential is there to use CCS to create a clean coal, or to recycle industrial emissions into a new product.
Strengthen concrete -
Captured CO2 could be used to strengthen concrete, increasing the durability of infrastructure.
Improve manufacturing operations -
CO2 could be used to create chemicals and plastics like polyurethanes, which are used to make soft foams like those used in mattresses.
Create additional jobs -
More skilled technicians would be required to manage CCS operations if more were implemented.
In Summary -
CCS presents a way forward for the world to meet its energy needs without exacerbating climate change. It is a critical piece of the puzzle in terms of reducing emissions, and has the potential to create jobs and spur innovation. As the world works to meet its climate goals, CCS will become an increasingly important technology.
Gas Labs offers the expertise and technology needed to effectively implement and integrate carbon capture into industrial processes. Our state-of-the-art carbon capture and sequestration technologies offer end-to-end CCS solutions across the chemical, oil & gas, and power sectors.
We are committed to helping our clients meet their climate goals and we will work together to develop the most effective solution for your needs. Talk to us today to learn more about our capabilities and how we can help you meet your CO2 emissions goals.