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).
Found on Flickr Creative Commons: net_efekt