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Thursday, 20 September 2007

CO2- fight the demon or just eat it?

Capturing and storing CO2 before it enters the atmosphere is being advocated as an innovative and promising contribution to the fight against climate change, writes Belle Dumé in an article outlining the risks and opportunities of carbon capture and storage (CCS).

The dramatic increase in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) can be tackled by adapting techniques already used to enhance oil recovery in industrial processes, argues Dumé in the 12 September article.

Carbon dioxide could be extracted from waste gases and subsequently compressed, ready for storage in geological reservoirs. Moreover, CCS could account for up to half of all emission reductions required, says the author.

Many CSS techniques already exist today, but there are significant cost and legal issues to be overcome as well as safety and health risks which must be addressed, she adds.

A big drawback of CSS is that the process requires energy, and adopting it would inevitably lead to an increase in the use of fossil fuels as well as inflationary tendencies in the cost of energy.

However, although safe solutions to transport compressed CO2 must still be investigated, underwater instead of underground storage will help prevent and minimise leakages from CO2 depots, she says.

CSS is a "stop-gap" solution to solving the problems of CO2 emissions, claims Dumé.

Environmental activists are afraid that it might detract attention from "real issues", such as the production of large amounts of CO2 in the first place, she adds.

My comment: Maybe we can combine both directions- decrease the consumption of CO2 as much as possible and extract what's left and store it or use it somehow. After all plants do use CO2, maybe we can find a similar mechanism- probably on those solar cells I posted news a while ago. Yup, that sounds promising. But storing CO2 for infinity is bad idea- just dumping it on a dark and unknown place won't make it disappear. And if I remember correctly CO2 disintegrated to make an acid (don't remember which one but it was responsible for one type of caves), so better not risk another environmental problem. We have enough already.

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