Now that the debates triggered by the IPCC report seem to have cooled down a little, the conclusions are pretty much final. Climate change is happening, temperatures are rising, natural disasters are intensifying, and despite all efforts, carbon emissions are still skyrocketing (literally).
Scientists are rushing into developing techniques to handle at least one of the above. Such proposal came from a team of Scandinavian researchers, who presented a cost-cutting way to capture and store carbon. The method implies that emissions should simply be refrigerated at the source, and turned into liquid, which can then be easily transportable.
As part of the discussions, IPCC considered all possible options and reassessed all geoengineering techniques that could help the world reach the needed targets. The experts agreed that most of these would only help in a short run, but considering the urgency of the matter, immediate action should be taken. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) was selected as the most suitable and probably the only proven mean to reduce the concentrations of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Although many still question where the once captured carbon would be stored, and worry about cost of transport and possible leaks, CCS still won over all other options.
The work of a scientific team from Sintef, a Scandinavian research organization, addresses these issues, and proposes a neat way to deal with them. Petter Nekså, the lead scientists, and his co-workers, showed that refrigerating emissions, at the power stations, condenses the gases into liquid, while using a lot less energy than any other carbon extraction technique. In addition, in this form, carbon can be transported much easier and a lot cheaper via existing pipelines, and in tanks to the chosen locations.
The team also proposed a solution to the problem of storage. They suggest that if CO2 is turned into a liquid, it could be easily stored under the North Sea, in the region known as Sleipner field. This area is known for its capacity to hold as much as 50 years worth of emissions from 20 coal-fired plants, and this will occupy only 1% of the available pore space. The scientists handle the safety issue, by basing their proposal on the numerous seismic surveys that have been conducted in the area. These show that CO2 will remain securely in the shale, and the risk of leakage and ocean acidification is minimal.
Does this sound like a solution to atmospheric pollution? I guess we should leave it to the experts to say, hopefully they know better.
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