Clean, renewable power is great. Energy efficiency, even better. But unless we turn away from coal, oil and natural gas–a highly unlikely scenario, to say the least–the only way to avoid a climate crisis is to capture the CO2 that’s created when they are burned
This is why it’s time to pay more attention to carbon capture. Fortunately, the idea of capturing, and recycling, CO2 seems to be gaining traction. Just last week, Shell announced that it would go forward with a $1.36 billion Quest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project [PDF, download] that is designed to cut emissions at an oil sands site near Edmonton, Alberta, by more a one-third, according to the Guardian. In Texas, a company called Summit Power is seeking to build a $3 billion coal plant that will capture CO2 and use it to extract more oil from the ground. (See my story at the YaleE360 website, Can environmentalists learn to love a Texas coal plant?) While the idea of capturing CO2 from fossil fuel plants has been around for a couple of decades, progress has been slow because there hasn’t until now been a business model to pay for carbon capture.
Meantime, as regular readers of this blog know, several start-up companies are working on ways to capture CO2 directly from the air. That’s the subject of my e-book, Suck It Up: How capturing carbon from the air can help solve the climate crisis, which was published last spring as an Amazon Kindle Single (and is available for just $1.99!).
This month, I’m pleased to say, Time Inc. is publishing a book called, simply, Global Warming, most of which is written by Bryan Walsh, the magazine’s outstanding environment writer. I’ve contributed a brief chapter to the book about direct air capture of CO2. The book is available at newsstands, book stores and from time.com/globalwarmingbook. You may even come across a copy in the checkout aisle of the supermarket, as I did.
On Wednesday [Sept. 12] at 11 a.m. ET, I’ll be participating in a webinar about carbon capture organized by The Energy Collective. It will focus on carbon capture from fossil fuel plants, but we’ll also talk about direct air capture of CO2. Please join us as we examine such questions as:
- What motivates fossil fuel plants to invest in technology that captures CO2?
- Can carbon capture be profitable on a large scale? How soon?
- How effective is filtering CO2 right out of the air? How does it work?