The potential of Carbon Sequestration

By now, the majority of Americans (61%) acknowledge that Global Warming is real. Scientists know that there is a high correlation between Carbon Dioxide emissions and world-wide temperature change. Historically, Earth’s main way of capturing Carbon Dioxide has been through plant, tree, or algae photosynthesis.

Carbon-cycle

Because of industrialization, there is no way that organic matter can absorb all the Carbon Dioxide being emitted from cars, factories, buildings, and homes. Scientists began to realize that there must be a disruptive force to absorb all this excess Carbon Dioxide outside of the atmosphere, thus came the idea of Carbon Sequestration.

Carbon Sequestration also known as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a recent concept that has come to fruition. CCS exists in American Factories. American Factories produce 32% of all Carbon Dioxide emissions in the United States, these factories came to realize their problem and came up with the idea to capture the carbon they were emitting. In CCS the CO2 produced through combustion is absorbed by liquid solvents. This solution is then sent several meters underground through pipelines. The storage of this solution will be at about the same depth as oil. CCS

The whole process is very safe, and research has shown that 90% of the Carbon Dioxide originally emitted will be captured through CCS. Currently there are 15 large scale CCS plants throughout the world. They range from Coal CO2 absorption to CO2 captured from soft drink factories. There are currently 22 more CCS plants being constructed right now.

I think CCS has a lot of potential. If we can eliminate 90% of 32% (Total Factory output of CO2) of our total CO2 emissions, the US would no longer be the largest polluter in the country. Additionally, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that CCS can achieve 14 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed by 2050 to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius! So, the potential is astounding. Currently all CCS plants are government funded, in the future if private companies start creating CCS plants,  I would not be surprised if the CCS industry overtakes the Solar Power industry within a couple decades. Currently , all CCS plants are essentially attached to factories . However in the future I hope that CCS will become efficient enough that it can be placed along the congested highways of Los Angeles, Beijing, and hundreds of other cities where air pollution is a daily problem.

Sources:

http://www.ccsassociation.org/what-is-ccs/capture/post-combustion-capture/

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/09/23/most-americans-believe-in-climate-change-but-give-it-low-priority/

http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2009/October/21100901.asp

http://www.co2captureproject.org/co2_capture.html

http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/ccs/

http://dapa.ciat.cgiar.org/carbon-sequestration-one-true-green-revolution/

World Coal Institute

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