Did you know that 60% of Americans think climate change is a significant problem affecting the planet? If you’re one of them, know that carbon extraction is a critical way to fight back. Especially for industries, it’s one of the best ways to reduce the carbon footprint and curb global warming.
Carbon capture can help minimize temperature increases and keep our planet safe if done universally. Read on to learn everything you need to know about carbon extraction services!
Why Carbon Extraction Is Necessary
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a process used to keep carbon dioxide (CO2) from entering the atmosphere. With the continued threat of global warming, it represents one of the best ways to collect CO2 from fossil fuels. Carbon capture started in the early 1970s and has led to the containment of over 200 million tons of CO2.
Fossil fuels, which are used to generate power, emit CO2 into the atmosphere. Fossil fuels are used to run cars, power buildings, and generate electricity. In other words, they contribute a lot of CO2 to the air we breathe.
CO2 enters the atmosphere in natural ways, too. Animals produce CO2 as a form of waste. But whether it’s the result of humans or animals, CO2 is a major threat.
CO2 contributes to air pollution, elevates the temperature of oceans, and prevents overall cooling of the planet. This gradual warming can lead to volatile weather conditions and adverse changes to plant and animal life cycles.
Eventually, these changes may lead to extinctions and make some places uninhabitable. That’s where carbon capture can make a difference.
CCS is an effective way to transfer carbon emissions and remove them from the atmosphere. When factories release fossil fuels into the air, the carbon capture process removes the emissions. And sometimes this happens even before those emissions exit a factory.
Carbon capture also opens the possibility of reusing the carbon. For example, repurposed carbon can help create building materials like insulation. Or it can eventually become an alternative to fuel.
Most importantly, carbon capture can help industrial businesses prosper without harming the environment. The hydrogen production that’s so critical to operations can be free of emissions!
Understand the Process for Capturing Carbon
While the idea of capturing carbon sounds straightforward, the technology used to do it is complex. In fact, there are several different approaches to carbon extraction. These processes can capture carbon at different points in the combustion process, or use novel approaches.
One such method is called post-combustion carbon capture. In this process, a chemical reaction spurred by solvents mixing with CO2 produces a new compound. And in the end, up to 85% of CO2 is captured.
The post-combustion carbon capture approach works well in industrial plants. It also doesn’t require much infrastructure to be added to existing spaces. And newer factories can use it to reduce a variety of greenhouse gases.
The pre-combustion process, by contrast, captures CO2 from fossil fuels before combustion. In this process, CO2 is sequestered from other gases, such as hydrogen. Like post-combustion carbon capture, this method can be introduced to existing factories easily.
Much like post-combustion capture, pre-combustion capture removes around 85% of CO2. The process is more complex than that used with post-combustion. But the process makes it easier to separate and harness the CO2.
Finally, oxyfuel combustion systems are known to reduce nearly all CO2 in the atmosphere. While that stat makes them attractive, they’re not as common at this point in time.
The oxyfuel combustino process uses pure oxygen in combustion, resulting in an efficient process that isolates the CO2. Oxyfuel combustion is still in a more preliminary phase.
Transporting Carbon Dioxide Is Critical to the Extraction Process
Once the carbon has been captured, it needs to be transferred to a space where it can be reused or stored underground. Either way, the goal is to prevent carbon from hurting the environment.
CO2 can be in the form of a gas, solid, or liquid when transported. Often, it travels in the form of a chilled liquid.
Ships, vehicles, and pipes are used in the transport process. Trucks and railroad transport tend to work best for smaller amounts of CO2 to a storage space.
Ships can help transport CO2 to international storage sites across oceans. To make matters easier, many ships are already used to transporting liquified petroleum gases. And transporting CO2 is a similar process.
Pipelines continue to be the most common method to move CO2 from region to a storage site. Since a large network of pipes already exists worldwide, the infrastructure is there. Given the ongoing need to pursue carbon extraction, however, the need to create more pipes over the next few decades is real.
Fortunately, evidence shows taht the process of transporting CO2 is safe. One big reason is because CO2 is not flammable. The risk of leaks is low, as well, as long as there is proper monitoring of the pipes’ conditions.
CO2 is corrosive, however. That also means the pipes used to transport CO2 will need to be constructed in such a way to resist moisture. Additionally, pipes need to be chilled and free of contaminants that could lead to leaks and potentially explosions.
Know Where Emissions Are Stored
Once the CO2 is captured, it needs to be stored safely underground. Typically, this has meant putting CO2 in predetermined rock formations around the world. CO2 also can be stored beneath the sea for up to 10,000 years.
Optimal storage sites include porous rock areas, coal beds, and oil fields. Additionally, scientists have turned to saline formations and gas reservoirs. While scientists have considered mines as another option, they don’t provide the same ability to contain CO2.
CO2 is injected into the ground so that it always is at least a half mile below the surface. This helps to ensure that the CO2 will not re-enter the atmosphere. Once the CO2 is safely beneath the ground, a cap seal adds a level of permanence that means the CO2 should not escape.
With several decades of successful CO2 storage, the current procedures have stood the test of time. Scientists continue to monitor the safety of stored CO2, too. They can look at seismic activity, for instance, to see if CO2 injections cause any disruptions beneath the ground.
Measuring seismic waves also helps scientists determine where to deposit CO2 next. The goal is to choose sites that are low risk when it comes to the potential for leaks.
Learn About the Evolution of Extraction
Carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) is a related process to CCS. It, too, focuses on the safe extraction of CO2 from fossil fuels. But rather than storing it underground, this process repurposes the CO2.
The CO2 can become repurposed as anything from concrete to foam. It can even help with the production of clothing and jewelry. CCUS represents a way to take a dangerous gas and turn it into a useful material.
Ultimately, carbon extraction services offer one of the safest and most effective ways to curb the impact of global warming. And it’s a necessary process to refine to avoid an increase in water temperatures, violent summer storms, and other effects of global warming.
But it is expensive and many would argue that cutting emissions doesn’t need to be confined to factories. And there are other ways to push back against global warming.
Other natural processes to remove carbon can be effective, too. For instance, planting forests helps contribute more trees to removing CO2 through photosynthesis. You can think of this as another form of post-combustion carbon capture.
Some critics claim that CCS distracts from other priorities, as well. These could include investing in renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar energy.
Others point to the low number of projects focused on CCS. In other words, are carbon capture services making enough of a difference?
Most experts point to the capacity of carbon capture to help industries continue operations without harming the environment. Even though there is an upfront investment, industries that champion greener energy should support adding carbon extraction services. Plus, widespread support from the public makes the investment an easy choice.
Support Carbon Extraction Services
Carbon extraction services are a vital component of the fight against global warming. The intricate process can capture, transport, and store CO2 before it hurts the atmosphere. Understanding what goes into it can help business owners decide to add it to their efforts to become greener.
For more tips to slow global warming, check back soon for new and informative articles!