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Carbon Capture and Storage

Combating global warming by carbon capture and storage to curb carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels

 Earth, the place we live and thrive, is merely a system in which each element inside of it collaborating hand in hand to establish an environment which can sustain the life of nature.

One of the system’s objective is to keep our earth warm, neither too cold nor too hot, which is an optimum temperature in which the life could survive. The system that I mean here is our atmosphere, the gift that god had bestowed to human for defending the earth from wandering big stuffs toward the earth as well as maintaining the temperature to be a sustainable one to live on. One of the element of the system which maintain the temperature is green house gases which consist of mostly CO2 and methane. These gases hold an important role to keep the earth warm as it blocks some of the heat from the sun to go away.

But, the matter is, during the last decades, the amount of these gases has been going swiftly and rampantly due to the vast burning of hydrocarbon based fuel. As the consequence, it emits more green house gas which will make the heat more trapped than before and increase the average temperature in the world. This phenomena is summoned as global warming. Furthermore, as the year goes by, the situation is getting worse as CO2 is growing exponentially and creating jumpiness over the climate change.

This unprecedented circumstances has challenged the scientist and the engineers from all over the world to come up with scenario and sophisticated technologies to overcome the bounty amount of CO2. One of the idea is to capture this gas and store it somewhere to lessen the number of CO2 gas in the atmosphere. It is called CCS (Carbon Capture Storage).

carbon capture storage

This CO2 is expected to be stored in some of geological formation or reservoir to trap the gas not to diffusing out toward atmosphere. Another idea is by injecting the captured carbon into deep ocean, as the deeper the ocean, the higher the pressure, CO2 will form hydrate condition which will sustain the CO2 below the ocean floor.

But, is CCS the real answer which we require for combatting global warming?

Leakage

One of the issues which be a tremendous concern is the leakage of the CO2. The mechanism of carbon storage is done by injecting the CO2 to the reservoir. The question is upon how long this gas will stay in the reservoir without going away. The leakage of CO2 is a nightmare to the world as the huge amount of CO2 is suddenly released. Abundance amount of CO2 can cause the concentration of O2 lessen and left human suffocated and eventually died.

One of the CO2 leakage which ever occurred had taken place in Lake Nyos at 29th august 1986. No one knows that inside the lake, there is a bounty amount of CO2 trapped. And so due to geological process, the CO2 suddenly released to the atmosphere suffering many humans who lived near the lake and left 1700 suffocated and died.

This is one of example how dangerous the leakage it is, and how risky it is if sometimes the big amount of CO2 suddenly exposed to atmosphere.

The constraint of this CCS method relies on the activity of geological formation which no one can predict it. That’s why, injecting CO2 to reservoir after capturing it, to me, should be questioned and reconsidered.

Reducing versus Preserving

The principle idea of CCS is to capture those carbons and storing it in somewhere. According to the idea of mass balance, the moles of CO­2 doesn’t lessen at all. It is just converted to another phase or even the same phase with the idea to trap that.

That is the matter. The reason why the global warming occurs is due to the increasing amount of green house gases in the atmosphere. With the rate of the emission remains the same, and the increasing rate of declining of forest to cycle carbons, CCS has nothing to do to overcome the global warming. The possibility of it to leak someday in the future just worsen the circumstances.

The way we need to do is not only sealing the CO2 but also conducting the prevention to reduce the rates of CO2 emitted. This can be done by prompting renewable energy which is more environmentally friendly and more prospectus. Such as geothermal, bioethanol, solar-powered, nuclear, and hydro. By utilizing these renewable energies, we are contributing to bear less CO2 emission which we need to do so.

Another way to reduce the emission is by taking a scrimping action to use less energy. This is can be done just by doing simple thing in our home such as unplugging the unnecessary loaded electricity, using mass transportation to slash the portion of fuel that we spend on powering machine and even more. And it is all about make things more effective and efficient.

Crippling the economy

Another issues regarding the endorsement of carbon capture storage for industry is the cost. By doing CCS toward the coal power plant, we augment the price up to 6c per Kwh. The increment of price is due to the usage of more energy to capture those carbons. Furthermore, the electricity price is going to be more expensive which eventually will raise the operating cost.vThis will affect the behavior of investor to invest in the country.

However, I believe CCS is a great idea in order to tackle global warming in “urgency” situation. But, for this current condition, I believe CCS is not the appropriate option. What we actually have to initiate is committing for establishing more in renewable energy development and doing more scrimping action that I have told before. I believe the former could offer us better future for environment rather than CCS.

We can’t simply do new things without see it in another lens.

 

Regards,
Dharmawan Raharjo
Petroleum Engineering Student
Institut Teknologi Bandung

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