Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is the process of collecting emissions from locations such as power plants, and putting the emitted CO2 underground where it cannot contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Some people see CCS as THE method to solve our energy issues, but we believe this method cannot sufficiently decarbonize our energy structure on its own. The reasoning is as follows:

  • For CCS to sufficiently decarbonize our energy structure, it should function around the “billion tons of carbon reduction per year” level. There is nothing magical about the billion tons of carbon number. It is simply around the order of magnitude we need in order to make a noticeable difference in CO2 emissions.
  • A billion tons of carbon converts to 31 billion barrels of supercritical CO2. This would be a massive amount of liquid to move. This is almost equivalent to the annual production of oil around the world.
  • If we want to run CCS at this level, the amount of infrastructure required to inject the liquid carbon into the ground would be enormous. Another potential issue is that there is uncertainty around whether there is enough pore space in the ground to inject the CO2 without causing earthquakes.

CCS should still be used where possible, but we should not depend on it to decarbonize our energy infrastructure.

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