Understanding Carbon Capture and Storage
What is Carbon Capture?
Carbon capture is the process of collecting the carbon dioxide gas emissions from large industrial power plants for safe storage underground. This is a preventative measure to ensure that there are minimal to no amounts released into the atmosphere. This is due to the fact that the gases released would severely impact the environment and have a significant effect on climate change.
Carbon dioxide is a natural gas that is released into the atmosphere, and the process of capturing the gases has been in practice for some time. However, environmental concerns regarding Carbon Dioxide and other greenhouse gases have put pressure on the government and various other agencies to limit the damage. Scientists realized that they would be able to utilize this method to dramatically reduce harmful emissions.
What is Carbon Storage?
This is the process of transporting the carbon once collected; currently this involves compressing the captured carbon and injecting it deep underground. Within the United States, transportation is mostly carried out through pipelines. However, other methods of carriage are used occasionally like trains and ships for example. The United states Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that there is approximately 1,800 to 20,000 metric tons of captured carbon. This is equivalent to between 600 to 6,700 years of the current level emissions from large industrial plants throughout the United States (EPA,2014)
The UK however, has currently received some level of criticism regarding their efforts to store carbon. For example, recently Professor Hazeldine, who is a leading expert in the field of carbon capture and storage, has addressed the issue with the Government
“What we are asking is that we go on and do something about it; that we stop talking and start doing.
People working on the pure science are depressed that their message is not being heard adequately and the people who are trying to do something practical working with industry are getting quite angry that they are being ignored as well.
Continually, governments just kick the can down the road in the UK and in Europe”.(BBCnews)
However, it is important to note that the UK Government suggests that it is making every effort to reduce climate change. Additionally they state that they are, and have always been “heavily committed to ‘environmental issues’”. Interestingly, there have been regular advertisements throughout the media targeting consumers, suggesting ways to reduce the amount of energy used. These infomercials encourage people to utilize electricity more efficiently in order to reduce their carbon footprint.