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Carbon Capture and Storage: Band-aid on a bullet wound?

Carbon Capture and Storage: Band-aid on a bullet wound?

Government agencies and private environmentalists have been trying to sell us on the fact that carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the answer to dealing with the 27 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide that are emitted yearly from the burning of fossil fuels. But some have their doubts.

Once you’ve examined the facts about how the technology works and how long it’s going to take to become available for large scale implementation, the whole idea starts to resemble the unrealistic fantasy that is “clean coal technology.”

27 billion tons of CO2 is almost an unfathomable amount of emissions to comprehend as it is, but despite the best efforts of a quickly growing renewable energy industry and the slowly increasing political support that it’s receiving from the current U.S. administration, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are projected to reach 43 billion metric tons per year by 2030, an increase of 60%.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the way that CSS works, it is the “the process of capturing carbon dioxide and storing it in deep geological formations, in the ocean or as mineral carbonates.”

Great. Another ‘out of sight, out of mind’ solution to a serious environmental problem. Not so long ago we used to think we could bury trash under the ground with no consequences too, and we can all see how well that worked out.

What the International Energy Agency and other supporters of CSS won’t tell you is that this method of dealing with unwanted carbon emissions will come with a hefty price tag, with implementation to existing power plants estimated at about $1.3 billion each. At this cost, it will be 10 to 20 years before CCS technology is ready for widespread use.

CSS isn’t a solution, it’s a stalling technique. Not to mention that it only represents a one way process- the carbon emissions are captured and stored, and that’s the end of it…what about reuse and recycling?

Thankfully, there are some scientists and engineers who see the folly of CSS and have set about to come up with a cheaper, more easily implemented technology for C02 conversion.

With corporate headquarters in both British Columbia and Tacoma, Washington, Mantra Energy is leading the quest for carbon recycling, and is the inventor of technology for the electro-reduction of carbon dioxide (ERC), which aims to take CO2 directly from industrial waste gases and convert it to formate salts and/or formic acid, both valuable chemicals used in a variety of industrial applications.

Not only does this highly marketable technology cost much less than CSS to implement, it also holds the potential for a significant return on investment by marketing the valuable industrial materials that are produced by the recycled C02, instead of simply requiring a lot of money to shove it underground and hope for the best.

It would be in our best interests, as individuals and a global society to encourage our governments to investigate and implenent ERC, instead of wasting a lot of time and money on CSS, which will ulitmately not provide the solution we are looking for. If you are a US citizen, start by supporting a stronger Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454).

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Found on Flickr Creative Commons: net_efekt

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28 comments

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9:30PM PST on Feb 8, 2013

Interesting, thank you.

9:29PM PST on Feb 8, 2013

Interesting, thank you.

9:28PM PST on Feb 8, 2013

Interesting, thank you.

6:02PM PST on Jan 26, 2012

Interesting - thanks.

11:09AM PST on Jan 26, 2012

Global warming and economic unsustainability are ALL about energy WASTE, and OVER-consumption of fossil fuels.
America continues to WASTE over 70% of the Energy we consume.
Our cultural WASTE is omnipresent, and continues as if it does not matter.
Americans need to be told and ever reminded of the importance to 'STOP the/our/your Energy WASTE'.
All of the current & future improvements in Energy efficiency and improved auto millage, do not begin to compare with the immediate(today) ability to drastically reduce our energy demand; simply by eliminating unnecessary energy consumption.
BILLIONS of lights burn unnecessarily every day and night throughout AMERICA.
America OVER-heats and OVER-cools and OVER-lights as if it doesn't matter.
BILLIONS of gallons of fuel are WASTED every year by unnecessary driving.
Municipalities and SCHOOLS are the worst offenders when it comes to conservation.
There are still NO regulations or enforceable laws governing our hedonist squandering of our children's Energy future.
ONLY with an economic reward/consequence incentive (America must tax energy; in lieu of income taxes) will Americans care to 'STOP the/our/your Energy WASTE' !
--
FREE Alternative Energy is Available NOW : CONSERVATION ! ! !

11:06AM PST on Jan 26, 2012

We need to get off the idea of large grids carrying power (whether it ids solar wind bio-mass or other green technology) long distances. There is more energy in conservation than any other fuel source. Electricity from green sources should be locally produced and served.

1:34AM PDT on Oct 25, 2010

Carbon is the very basis of life. plants suck up carbon like a sponge. Every protein molecule in every organism, including humans contains carbon. Oil is carbon, natural gas is carbon, coal is practically all carbon, peat bogs are carbon, diamonds are carbon, graphite is carbon. Carbon filters our air and water. Carbon cooks our food, and grows it as well, Carbon is in all our plastics, paper, everything we touch has carbon in it. We would die without carbon and so would all the plants and animals.

12:19AM PDT on Aug 31, 2010

We should just pursue clean green technology and forget all this other rubbish

9:28PM PDT on Jul 25, 2010

Very interesting, thanks for posting/

7:39PM PDT on May 8, 2010

Unfortunately, about every town's and city's electricity is powered by coal. Hey, I have an idea! Why not have wind power?

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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