Global warming has been an issue for many years. While it was one the focus of environmentalists, now world leaders have recognized that they need to put measures in place to limit the impact of global warming and are advising businesses and individuals on what they can do to reduce their personal carbon imprint. The Paris Accord is an ambitious global agreement that lays down targets and strategies aimed at reducing global warming.
Unfortunately, the ambitious goals are unlikely to be met within the timeframe laid out in the agreement. To reach these goals, there needs to be more effort towards reducing greenhouse gases that the activities of humans are causing that are then released into the atmosphere.
One strategy that was initially tested was carbon capture. This involved removing the harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and putting it somewhere else. In theory, this made sense as a reasonable solution to the global warming issue. In reality, it was far too expensive and also extremely energy-intensive. This prevented it from being a practical solution.
Recent studies may have found a way of capturing carbon for much less money than the initial expenditure, as the expensive process was originally costing around $1000 per ton. The new research has possibly found a way of doing this process for an estimated $94 to $232 per ton. This is a significant saving and makes the use of carbon capturing a more realistic option for the future.
The one problem that remains is that it still requires a lot of energy to run and the researchers have suggested the use of electricity or natural gases. Despite this, the new process seems a very reasonable option, especially when you take into account the fact that the technology it requires already exists.
Of course, the costs are only estimations at this stage, so it is possible that the technology could potentially cost more than the researchers have suggested. However, it would still be better than the original costs and would be worth the expense for the benefits it would reap to remove the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it elsewhere. Therefore, it seems that the findings of the recent studies are excellent news.
Carbon Engineering is the company behind the research and the current technology. At this time, they are planning to use the carbon they capture to create new carbon-neutral fuels, and this is a process they have already started. However, according to MIT Technology Review, it is currently still cheaper to use fossil fuels.
A potential solution to this is for governments to provide subsidies to drop the cost of using the carbon-neutral fuels. This would encourage more people to consider this option instead of depleting fossil fuel resources and having a negative impact on the environment. As yet, this is only in discussion and there are no plans it put subsidies in place.
The removal of carbon dioxide from the environment and its potential use as a carbon-neutral fuel is still a process that is in the research stage. There is still a lot of work for scientists to undertake and many hurdles they must overcome before this process can be rolled out on a global scale. This means it will be many years before you will see the long-term benefits of using carbon capture technology.
Carbon Engineering will also have to prove that there is a substantial market for carbon-neutral fuel before it can ramp-up its operations and use large-scale plants to produce this type of fuel with the intention of keeping their own production costs lower and saving consumers money into the bargain. Without the market for such a product, it would waste the company a lot of time and effort.
Nonetheless, these studies are vital in the battle to make significant changes to the impact that human activity is having on the planet, specifically to global warming. It is essential that such research continues to find the best solution to a problem that has the potential to cause devastation in the future. This internationally recognized problem is something that everyone must work towards together to reduce the impact on future generations, as it is they who will suffer the most from the actions of today.