Technology

Factors Detracting from and Contributing to Carbon Dioxide Removal

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 Negative Emissions 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 Geosequestration of CO2

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 percent 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. At a pilot plant in Iceland CarbFix has...

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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 companies are those whose core activity is carbon capture and storage (CCS). This includes Net Power and Quest which 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. These two companies are...

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Companies Leading Negative Emissions Technology

The Biden administration's support for carbon capture and carbon removal technology is contributing to growing interest in companies working in this space.  Here are six of the best carbon capture and carbon removal companies for negative emissions technology: Net Power, Quest, Carbon Engineering, Global Thermostat, Climeworks, and Carbfix.  In previous articles, I have explored why we need to siphon carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, assessed carbon capture technologies, and reviewed the cost and scalability of these technologies. Net Power and Quest are top companies with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies while the other four are working examples of carbon...

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An Assessment of Carbon Removal 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 Dioxide Removal 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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Nature Based Solutions to Climate Change

Nature-based solutions to climate change offer a number of ways to remove carbon dioxide from the air. These so-called natural climate solutions (NCS) involve conservation, restoration and land management actions that sequester carbon or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in landscapes and wetlands.    Advantages of Nature Based Solutions Costs Carbon capture is a critical part of efforts to reduce atmospheric GHG emissions that will enable us to keep temperatures below upper-temperature threshold limits of between 1.5 and 2 Celsius. However, Natural Climate Solutions are the most cost-effective negative emissions technology (NETs), this is particularly true of land management and forest management...

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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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