The carbon dioxide that we emit can be reduced in several ways, out of which some are more or less effective. A study performed by Princeton engineer Robert Socolow reveals that as much as we’d want to, we simply can’t remove carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by means of “Direct Air Capture” technologies.
Direct Air Capture would involve using chemical substances that should absorb carbon dioxide from the air, and then store it elsewhere, preferably underground. The scientist and his team of 13 members team say that you’d need a machinery that spans for 30 kilometers just to capture the emissions of a 1,000-megawatt coal power plant. The alternative would be to remove the gas directly from the furnace, which would cost only $80 per ton.
“We don’t have to do this job overnight. But the technologies we studied in this report, capable of removing carbon dioxide from the air, are not a substitute for addressing power plants directly,” Socolow said . “We ought to be developing plans to bring to an end the carbon dioxide emissions at every coal and natural gas power plant on the planet.
Beyond using electricity more efficiently, options are to modify plants so their emissions are kept from the atmosphere or to shut them down entirely and replace them with low-carbon alternatives,” he added.
So according to Socolow and his team, producing clean electricity from solar panels or capturing carbon dioxide directly from its source would be the cheaper solution. The real solution, as the team said in the study, would be to remove the most significant carbon dioxide sources.
“We don’t have to do this job overnight. But the technologies we studied in this report, capable of removing carbon dioxide from the air, are not a substitute for addressing power plants directly,” he concluded.