Carbon capture, storage and reuse

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Carbon capture, storage and reuse

Carbon capture is a process that involves removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air or other sources and storing it in a safe place. The goal of CO2 capture is to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Carbon capture and removal is an important part of global efforts to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, it is important to bear in mind that CO2 capture is not a single solution to climate change and must be part of a broader approach that includes reducing emissions and adopting renewable energy sources.

Different techniques exist to capture CO2 emissions, but the most common is CO2 capture in industrial processes that generate large amounts of emissions, such as thermal power plants or cement production plants. In these cases, CO2 is captured before it is released into the atmosphere and stored in underground locations such as aquifers or geological formations.

There are also techniques to capture CO2 directly from the air, using absorbent materials that attract carbon dioxide. However, these techniques are even more expensive and less efficient than CO2 capture in industrial processes.

The cost of carbon capture

The costs of carbon capture can vary significantly depending on the type of technology used, the source of emissions and the final destination of captured CO2. In general, CO2 capture is considered a costly process and is not yet economically viable in many cases.

In capturing CO2 emissions in industrial processes, costs can range from a few dollars per ton of captured CO2 to more than $100 per ton, depending on the technology used and site-specific conditions. It is also important to note that the costs of CO2 capture can increase significantly if higher purity of captured CO2 is required for use in industrial applications or for geological storage.

In the direct capture of CO2 from the air, costs can be even higher due to the low concentration of CO2 in the air. Current costs of direct capture of CO2 from air are estimated to range from $300 to $600 per ton of captured CO2.

Despite high costs, carbon capture remains an area of active research and development due to its importance in mitigating climate change. New technologies and strategies are being researched to reduce the costs of CO2 capture and increase its efficiency.

Carbon capture in cement plants

The capture of CO2 emissions in cement plants is a technique used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated during cement production. Cement production is responsible for approximately 7% of global CO2 emissions, mainly due to the calcination process of limestone in high temperature kilns.

Different technologies exist to capture CO2 in cement plants, but one of the most common is post-combustion CO2 capture. In this process, CO2 is captured after combustion of the fuel in the kilns of the cement plant. CO2 is separated from waste gas by absorption or adsorption techniques and stored in tanks or transported through pipelines for storage in safe locations.

Capturing CO2 emissions in cement plants can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%. However, it can also increase cement production costs due to the initial investment needed to implement the technology and ongoing energy and maintenance costs.

Despite the challenges associated with CO2 capture in cement plants, it is considered an important tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the cement industry and moving towards a more sustainable and low-carbon economy.

Carbon capture directly from the air

Capturing CO2 directly from the air is achieved through processes that use absorbent or adsorbent materials to attract and capture carbon dioxide from the air. These materials are known as sorbents and can be solids, liquids or gels. One of the most widely used techniques for the direct capture of CO2 from air is adsorption by solid sorbents. Solid sorbents are porous materials that have a large specific surface area and can attract and retain CO2 from the air. The most common solid sorbents for CO2 capture are zeolite and activated carbons.

Another technique being developed for the direct capture of CO2 from air is absorption with chemical solutions. In this process, a chemical solution is used to capture CO2 from the air. The chemical solution can be regenerated to release the captured CO2 and can be stored safely. Once CO2 has been captured from the air, it must be separated from the sorbent or chemical solution and stored safely. Direct capture of CO2 from air is more expensive and less efficient than capturing CO2 in industrial processes, but research is actively underway to improve technology and reduce costs.

It is important to note that direct capture of CO2 from air cannot be the only solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A comprehensive strategy that includes reducing CO2 emissions at source and transitioning to renewable energy sources is needed to effectively address climate change.

Carbon storage and reuse

Captured carbon dioxide (CO2) can be reused in several ways, some of which include:

  1. Geological storage: CO2 can be stored in deep geological formations, such as depleted oil and gas deposits or saline aquifers, to prevent it from being released into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.
  2. Industrial use: Captured CO2 can be reused in the production of chemicals, such as urea and methanol, as well as in the carbonated and gaseous beverage industry.
  3. Improved oil recovery: CO2 can be reused in improved oil recovery, where it is injected into oil fields to help mobilize and recover oil.
  4. Food production: CO2 can be reused in food production to help grow plants in greenhouses and improve their growth and quality.
  5. Production of fuels: Captured CO2 can be used in the production of synthetic fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, through chemical synthesis processes.

These are just a few examples of how captured carbon can be reused. However, it is important to note that CO2 capture and storage is only a temporary measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and that long-term emission reduction remains the most effective solution to address climate change.

Innovative technologies for carbon capture 

Several innovative technologies are being developed for carbon capture, including:

  1. Artificial photosynthesis: This technology uses devices that mimic the natural photosynthesis of plants to capture CO2 from the air and convert it into fuel. The devices contain photosynthetic materials that can absorb sunlight and convert CO2 into fuel, such as hydrogen or methanol.
  2. New porous materials: Porous materials are being developed, such as MOFs (organic metal-organic frames) and COFs (covalent organic frames), which have a large specific surface and can attract and retain CO2 from the air.
  3. Electrochemical oxidation: This technology uses electrodes that selectively attract CO2 from the air and convert it into fuel, such as methanol or ethanol.
  4. Ionic solvents: Ionic solvents are saline liquids that can selectively dissolve CO2 from the air. Different types of ionic solvents for CO2 capture in industrial processes are being investigated.
  5. Enzymes: Enzymes are being investigated that can catalyze the CO2 capture reaction in aqueous solutions, which could allow CO2 capture more efficiently and at lower cost.

These innovative technologies for carbon capture are still at different stages of development and testing, but offer great promise for improving efficiency and reducing CO2 capture costs.

Relevant projects in carbon capture, storage and reuse

There are several reference projects around the world that are implementing innovative technologies for CO2 capture. Here are some examples:

  1. Carbfix Project in Iceland: This project uses accelerated mineralization technology to capture and store rock-shaped CO2 on the Earth’s surface. CO2 is injected into the subsoil, where it reacts with basalt to form solid minerals.
  2. Carbon Engineering’s Direct Air Capture Project in Canada: This company uses direct CO2 capture technology from the air using fans and absorbent materials. CO2 is extracted from absorbent materials and converted into synthetic fuel.
  3. Northern Lights Project in Norway: This project is a collaboration between several companies and the Norwegian government to capture and store CO2 from different sources, including power plants and factories. CO2 is stored underground in geological formations.
  4. NET Power project in the USA: This company is developing a closed-cycle combustion technology that can capture CO2 produced by natural gas combustion. CO2 is compressed and used to generate more energy rather than being released into the atmosphere.
  5. Boundary Dam CO2 capture project in Canada: This power plant uses CO2 capture technology to capture about 90% of the CO2 produced during power generation. CO2 is stored in a deep aquifer rather than released into the atmosphere.

These projects are just a few examples of the variety of technologies being used for CO2 capture. Each project has its own characteristics and challenges, but all are working to find effective solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change.Escribe aquí