Climate change: and carbon capture

£100m of new funding to support the development of Direct Air Capture (DAC) emissions reduction technologies. 

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We need to be getting our carbon emissions down to ‘zero’ – and there are several ways of doing that:

‘Net zero’ describes when the emissions that are left are absorbed (or netted out) by planting a lot of trees and by the use of technologies such as carbon capture.

What exactly is ‘net-zero carbon’? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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That is, there might be a ‘techno-fix’:

Climate change: technical solutions? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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The Futures Forum blog has been sceptical about technical ‘solutions’:

June 2014: Futures Forum: The techno-fix … Can we engineer our way out of environmental catastrophe? Or … Can we ‘design for the real world’?

May 2019: Futures Forum: Climate change: Are proposals to repair the climate offering “scalable technological fixes” or “climate despair”?

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However, there are more and more such technologies being developed.

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This is one company’s current offer:

We believe we can create a future in which our children and neighbours inherit the same planet we’ve enjoyed; where we deliver prosperity and well-being while avoiding environmental impact. Creating this future will require leadership, collaboration, and creativity, and will involve a diversity of new technologies, business ideas, and social innovation. Getting there is a challenge, but also an imperative.

At Carbon Engineering, our contribution to this future is a Direct Air Capture technology – more than 10 years in the making – that can capture carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere.

Carbon Engineering – Pioneering Direct Air Capture of CO2

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Here’s an overview of the technologies:

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Ten options for negative emissions | From the article: Timel… | Flickr

 

In fact, more and more projects are emerging:

Singapore plans carbon capture tech to curb climate impact of heavy industry | News | Eco-Business | Asia Pacific

Projects to Stash Carbon Dioxide Underground Get a Boost – The New York Times

Drax, Mitsubishi piloting bioenergy-carbon capture project in UK | Power Engineering

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Including a project sponsored by the UK goverment, as reported rather critically in the Mail:

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A scheme backed by Dominic Cummings to ‘suck’ excess carbon dioxide from the air and bury it underground gets £100m from the Treasury

  • The PM’s advisor wants to spend £100 million on direct air capture technology
  • The technology uses chemical filters to capture CO2 from the surrounding air
  • The greenhouse gas is then stored underground or reused by various industries
  • But the system is energy-sapping and doesn’t encourage a switch to renewables

Critics of the technology say it is an ‘expensive and energy-inefficient distraction’ for meeting the hard choices necessary to meet the target, according to the Times.  To capture enough carbon to offset emissions from the aviation sector, the technology would require additional electricity equivalent to building up to five new nuclear power stations.  According to academic research, the technology is incredibly expensive and requires tremendous energy. For each ton of CO2 captured, it costs around £500, the Times says…  

Dominic Cummings authorises £100m to suck CO2 out of the sky | Daily Mail Online

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Business Green is more upbeat:

The government has announced and reaffirmed a series of green funding commitments, including a major pledge to provide up to £100m of new funding to support the development of Direct Air Capture (DAC) emissions reduction technologies. 

In an update released alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s speech on the government’s economic plans, Number 10 said it was working to support the research and development of emerging DAC technologies that “could be deployed across the country to remove carbon from the air, helping sectors where it’s tough to decarbonise such as aviation”.

‘Build, build, build’: Government reveals plan for Direct Air Carbon Capture funding boost

   
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