Carbon capture and storage
There is increasing evidence that if carbon dioxide (CO2) from human activity continues to be emitted into the atmosphere at current or higher levels, it will cause irreversible climate change.
Both scientists and governments are now urgently exploring technological and political strategies to reduce CO2 emissions by controlling energy use and developing alternative carbon-free energy sources. Even so, energy requirements, particularly in developing countries, are likely to grow and the world still has large reserves of fossil fuels, in particular coal, which future generations will want to exploit.
There is, however, one encouraging solution to controlling atmospheric CO2 that would allow us to optimise the use of fossil
fuels, and that is to collect and sequester the resulting emissions. A few facilities around the world already utilise carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, and further, highly ingenious ideas for CCS are now being developed.
The Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, described the UK government’s plans to drive forward the implementation of CCS strategies both on a domestic and on a global scale. Prof. Peter Styles, director of the Research Institute for the Environment, Physical Sciences and Applied Mathematics at Keele University, explained the main methodologies for capturing and storing CO2 in the ground.
- Carbon capture and storage (PDF, 2 MB)