Carbon capture and storage - often abbreviated as CCS - traps harmful emissions from industrial processes and power generation before they enter the atmosphere, and securely stores them underground.
As regulations and legislation around carbon emissions have become increasingly stringent, carbon capture and storage has become an integral component of carbon mitigation strategies. Not only can the CO2 be removed from the atmosphere, the captured CO2 can be stored or further utilized in various ways, helping to reduce its environmental impact.
CCS encompasses a range of techniques to capture carbon dioxide emissions and safely store them. These methods are pivotal in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change:
Post-combustion CCS methods are used to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the exhaust gasses of industrial facilities after the combustion of fossil fuels, particularly power plants and other energy-intensive processes.
Various techniques are employed to selectively capture and separate the CO2 from the flue gas stream, such as:
Once captured, the CO2 can be compressed and transported to suitable storage sites, often deep underground, where it is securely stored to prevent its release into the atmosphere.
Pre-combustion CCS methods are designed to capture carbon dioxide (C02) emissions before the combustion of fossil fuels. Pre-combustion CCS methods include:
Pre-combustion CCS methods are essential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing the environmental sustainability of energy production and industrial processes.
Oxy-fuel combustion is a combustion technology that uses oxygen (O2) instead of air to burn fossil fuels, offering major potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from industries and power generation. In this process:
Oxy-fuel combustion is considered a promising technology for CCS, as it simplifies the carbon capture process by providing a CO2-rich flue gas stream.
Alongside capturing the emissions generated from industrial sources and power plants, CCS further transports harmful emissions to secure storage sites, usually deep underground, where they are stored to prevent their release into the environment. Ths further defines CCS as an important step towards a transition to more sustainable energy systems.
Carbon capture involves trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from sources like industrial facilities, power plants, or the atmosphere. This is typically achieved using various technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) or carbon capture and utilization (CCU).
Once captured, the CO2 is transported to a suitable storage site. This typically involves compressing the CO2 into a dense, supercritical state to make transportation more efficient. Pipelines or other transportation methods are used to move the CO2 to its storage location.
Following capture and transportation, CO2 is securely stored deep underground in geological formations such as depleted oil and gas reservoirs and saline aquifers. The CO2 is injected into these formations and sealed to prevent its release into the atmosphere.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) offers several benefits for mitigating climate change and addressing environmental challenges:
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Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS) share the common goal of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions but differ in how they handle the captured CO2.
Unlike CCS, CCUS also includes utilization, which involves finding productive uses for the captured CO2 before or in addition to storage.It’s also worth noting that the primary objective of CCS is the reduction of CO2 emissions, whereas CCUS aims to also create value from the captured CO2.
Storing carbon can be safe when implemented correctly and following established safety protocols. Some safety points that are taken into consideration include careful site selection, proper engineering and construction of wells and injection facilities and ongoing monitoring and verification.
Carbon sequestration is a broader term that includes the storage of carbon in various forms, while carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a specific subset of carbon sequestration that focuses on the capture and storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.