Hi everyone! My name is Tara and I’m from California.
While the goal of solely relying on clean, renewable energy resources that lack carbon emissions is a noble one, the reality is that we are not able to derive all of our energy from them at the time being. One technological solution for the vast number of power plants currently burning fossil fuels and emitting a drastic amount of carbon into the air is something called carbon capture and underground storage. To put it simply, carbon capture and underground storage is the process of capturing carbon emissions from factories to send it underground in a pipe for storage in rock formations. The pipes often put the carbon over a half a mile into the ground and routine checks ensure carbon is not leaking back up into the atmosphere. While a lot of controversy surrounds this procedure, I recently read an article where Howard J. Herzog, who has headed MIT’s Carbon Capture and Sequestration Technologies Program for over twenty years argues it is a vital option for the current world.
According to the article, the factories and power plants that carbon capture and underground storage targets could almost reduce global carbon emissions in half if they all embraced it. The major argument against carbon capture and underground storage is that it is too expensive. However, according to Herzog and other researchers it is as expensive as other technologies that will likely not have the same effect it could on a large scale. Regardless, most companies will not go along with the technology at this time as building it raises the price of constructing a power plant by around 80 percent. It is a viable option though as carbon can be stored in the same formations from which it was extracted for our fossil fuels. The amount of space available for this storage is even estimated to store one to four trillion tons of carbon in the United States alone! The technology used to capture the carbon, pre-combustion, post-combustion and post-combustion in an oxygen free environment (oxyfuel) all simple in terms of using chemicals to harness the carbon. The only downside is that it decreases energy output of power plants and factories since energy must be used to gather the carbon. I think this technology overall has great potential to allow us to mitigate the speed of global warming until other technologies and solutions allowing a greater reliance on clean, renewable resources are available. Hopefully, advancements will allow the construction of these systems to become more affordable to build. In the long run, it is certainly worth it to look into making carbon capture and underground storage the norm until better solution for a cleaner future are available.