What is carbon capture and how does it combat climate change

Station for burning coal at Ratcliffe on Soar

The location of a groundbreaking power station will soon be revealed by the UK government.

Most of the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced at the carbon capture plant is not intended to be released into the atmosphere.

Burning fossil fuels, such as coal, gas, and oil, releases CO2, which is the primary cause of climate change.

The majority of the CO2 produced is prevented from being released by the carbon capture process, which either reuses it or stores it underground.

The UK government wants a new power plant that stores carbon dioxide under the North Sea in saline aquifers or old gas reservoirs that are permeable to water.

Carbon capture gfx

The government has pledged to eliminate carbon from UK electricity production by 2035, and carbon capture power plants are a part of that effort. It plans to construct at least one by the middle of the 2020s, though that target date is now unlikely.

The use of offshore wind has increased significantly over the past ten years, but there is still the issue of how to keep the lights on when the wind isn't blowing.

Power plants that capture carbon dioxide are seen as a component of the solution, along with increased nuclear energy use and other quickly developing technologies like hydrogen.

Three proposals are being thought about: one in Keadby, North Lincolnshire, and two in the vicinity of Redcar, Teesside.

To transport the CO2 captured and stored under the North Sea, a pipeline would need to be built.

Keadby power station
Lincolnshire's first carbon capture power plant might be located close to gas plants.

The UK released 425 million tonnes of CO2 in 2021. That has decreased by almost 50% since 1990.

By comparison, the amount being captured at these hypothetical power plants is very little.

None of the three carbon capture plants under consideration asserts to be able to capture more than two million tonnes annually.

By 2030, the government wants to have captured 10 million tonnes of CO2. Along with power production, other industrial processes might be involved.

The technology has existed for many years. It has primarily been used in sectors where captured CO2 can be recycled, such as the extraction of oil and gas from subterranean reserves.

No such plans exist to use the CO2 from the new power stations that are being considered.

A brand-new gas power plant at Keadby, which will power almost a million homes, will cost £350 million.

According to Catherine Raw of the energy firm SSE, constructing a gas power plant of comparable size with carbon capture would cost about twice as much, she told the BBC.

The expectation is that the cost will eventually decrease. For instance, the price of renewable energy has decreased over the past ten years.

Some people think carbon capture is too expensive and would be better off investing their money in renewable energy sources and power storage (like batteries).

According to Dr. Doug Parr of the advocacy group Greenpeace UK, these power plants "look like another excuse for the government to give preference to their friends in the oil and gas industry, making energy more expensive to the detriment of everyone else.". .

According to a report from the Global CCS Institute, there will only be 30 carbon capture facilities in operation worldwide by September 2022.

Nearly all of these are connected to industrial facilities that perform tasks like producing fertilizer or processing natural gas.

Once constructed, it is hoped that other industries will use the pipeline to store CO2 under the North Sea at the UK power plant. .

The Boundary Dam coal-fired power station in Saskatchewan, Canada
The Boundary Dam power station, which was built in 2014, removes up to 90% of the CO2 it produces.

A coal-fired plant at Boundary Dam in western Canada is the only carbon capture power plant that is currently in operation.

However, a number of carbon capture gas power stations, primarily in the US, are under development and resemble those that have been proposed in the UK.

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