Carbon capture can't rely on fine-tuning old technologies

• By Bradley Ladewig, Monash University, Australia • Carbon capture, for those who don’t know already, is the term given to various different technologies that can “capture” the carbon dioxide in streams of gases that would normally be emitted to the atmosphere. These streams come from any process or device that burns a fuel, from a petrol-powered lawnmower, through cars and trucks, right up to the gas and coal-fired power stations that keep our society humming along. Ideally, we could use some kind of carbon capture technology to remove the carbon dioxide from all those emissions, since everyone (with a few notable exceptions) knows that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. It causes a small but significant rise in the global average temperature, which in turn has potentially disastrous consequences such as a greater incidence of highly variable weather events (flooding, cyclones, drought and so on). The reality though, is that capturing carbon dioxide is difficult and certainly prohibitively expensive from small and intermittent sources such as car exhausts. In most cases the capture technology would be as large and complicated as the car itself. Even then, there is no obvious place to deposit the captured carbon dioxide. It only really becomes technically feasible once the sources are large and not moving, such as a coal-fired power station. Even then the current state-of-the-art technologies would use a large proportion of the power station’s output, just to power the capture and storage technology. The storage question, of where to put captured carbon dioxide, is another discussion in itself ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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