The big business that capturing CO2 and burying it underground is becoming

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The objective is clear. How to achieve it and, above all, how to do it on time is already a more thorny issue. if we want limit heating of the planet at 1.5 degrees and thus avoid the worst consequences of climate change we need to make a move, reduce polluting emissions, advance in decarbonisation and turn our energy system around.

For quite some time we have also had another tool on the table, less structural perhaps; but one that can help us along the way: carbon capture and storage, included even among the “mitigation pathways” of the climate described by the respected IPCC.

As decarbonization gains weight on the public and private sector agenda, the so-called “sequestration” of carbon dioxide ceases to be, however, a theoretical solution, or a topic of debate in specialized forums, such as the COP26to adopt business tints.

What exactly is CO2 capture and storage? Well, the name pretty much says it all. Carbon capture and storage —CAC or CCS, for its acronym in English— basically consists of “hunting” the CO2 generated, for example, by our cars or industrial smokestacks, and then safely confining it. That is the starting point of the system, of course. The how, when and why to capture that CO2 already opens up an interesting range of possibilities.

On the table there different options. There are methods that go for the CO2 already released, released after the burning of fuels. Others anticipate the process and avoid emissions. Once “hunted”, the CO2 is stored in a safe space to keep it isolated from the atmosphere in the long term or even convert it into fuels, concrete either soap. There are already initiatives to achieve this.

From theory to facts. Not everything is theory. We have had plants that try to demonstrate the viability of the system for a good handful of years now. In 2018 —specifies the CBC chain— there were almost a score of large-scale commercial facilities scattered around the world, half a dozen under construction and another twenty in some phase of development. In certain cases, such as the Boundary Damm plant in Canada, carbon capture began almost a decade ago.

And from facts to business. Beyond the pilot experiences, there are already companies that have decided to make a firm commitment to CAC as a business. Recently wired published a report in which he details different initiatives that are already focusing the attention of the private sector on the Gulf of Mexico, an area with a strong oil muscle: there, in Port Arthur, is the largest refinery in the US.

In a circle of just 120 kilometers around Port Arthur —details wired— more than half a dozen industrial-scale projects are concentrated, some promoted by oil giants, which seek underground areas in which to store carbon dioxide. Not all of them are at the same level of development, but the possibility of million-dollar investments has already been raised.

Neither blindly nor alone. In their efforts, the companies that work in the Gulf are not walking blindly. They are not alone either. Tip Meckel and his team have spent a decade and a half mapping the coastline, its sandstone and rock to demonstrate its potential. The US administration itself has made a move: in 2018, Congress reinforced a tax credit for CO2 capture that until then had passed unnoticed: the measure granted a credit of up to 50 dollars for each ton of residual CO2.

In the new scenario, pipeline operators see CO2 as a “new great market” and landowners, the possibility of making profits and making their land more profitable.


Some concrete initiatives. One of the firms that has seen the potential of CCS is Carbonvert, which introduces herself as “a carbon capture and storage project development and financing company that simplifies decarbonization for industrial emitters.” The company captures CO2 in industries and directs it to underground storage spaces, such as rock formations, depleted hydrocarbon deposits or saline aquifers. All, accurate on your websitewhile “minimizing operating costs for issuers.”

To find firms interested in capturing CO2 from other companies and thus allowing them to reduce their carbon footprint, you don’t have to go that far. Not much back in time. Airbus and some major airlines, such as Air Canada, Air France, easyJet or Lufthansa, recently signed a letter of intent (Lol) to buy carbon removal credits from 1PointFive, a partner of Airbus itself. What does that mean? That, if the agreement were finalized, 1PointFive would help them achieve the long-awaited and complex objective of net zero carbon emissions.

What does that mean? The case of Airbus reflects well the approaches of the industry and the possibilities of the new service, so it is worth dwelling on it. For some time now, airlines have been facing a delicate problem: their polluting emissions have already opened the debate on the application of new rates or the veto of short flights that can be perfectly covered by rail. In other words, your environmental footprint can also be economic.

To reduce its impact, the sector explores different options, such as more sustainable fuels (SAF), electric or hydrogen aviation, or even new formulas, such as the spectacular Airlander 10 zeppelin. The 1PointFive service offers airlines another solution: obtain “credits” so that the company, through its large fans, capture CO2 that offsets the one emitted by airlines during their flights. What goes out, so goes in.

We have a new ally to eliminate CO2: train cars converted into rolling tanks capable of

And works? There are companies like the American CO2 Rail that are convinced that it is; but the opinions are not unanimous and certainly leave many nuances. The amount of CO2 they capture is still very small —wired esteem that in 2021 some 37 million metric tons will be “sequestered” globally, which is what the Port Arthur area alone emits in a year—and Some analysts question that it is intelligent to allocate the funds to promote this route.

“This idea that it’s okay to keep burning gasoline as long as you’re doing an equivalent amount of carbon capture and storage is really dangerous,” regrets Dianne Saxe, former environmental commissioner in Ontario. CCS is also expensive compared to other alternatives, such as tree planting or even green energy.

matter of numbers. In 2017, large-scale wind and solar projects were estimated to cost less than $30 per ton of CO2; in the case of fossil fuel power plants with capture and storage that bill rose to between 43 and 95.

Other data that invites reflection is the balance of Orca, a large facility carbon capture. a little less than a year ago Business Insider contacted experts who, after taking out the calculator, estimated that one year could only nullify global emissions of just three seconds. Others emphasize the high cost of direct capture in the air, even placing it at around 515 euros for each ton of carbon dioxide “hunted”.

Images | weatherworks Y Airbus

The objective is clear. How to achieve it and, above all, how to do it on time is already a…

The objective is clear. How to achieve it and, above all, how to do it on time is already a…

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