Hope for Mankind? - It’s not quite over
As the core temperature of the earth keeps rising, mankind tries to find short term solutions to bury the problem. One concept that a lot of time, effort, and expenses have been invested into is Carbon Capture Storage. The basic idea is to remove as much Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere as possible by burying it in a sustainable manner.
Why is carbon dioxide so dangerous and if it is, aren't trees responsible for taking it in? Carbon
dioxide is a gas commonly known as CO2, it plays many crucial roles in the atmosphere. One of the main ones being photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is a process in which plants transform light energy into chemical energy and in order to do so, carbon dioxide is needed to complete this process. Another major role that it plays in our environment is the absorption of infrared radiation. A molecule of carbon dioxide consists of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms by covalent bonding. To put in simple terms, it means that they bind to each other through a shared pair of electrons. These atoms vibrate until the frequency is matched which allows it to trap heat from the atmosphere making it less dense. Hence, CO2 greatly influences the amount of radiation that escapes.
As we know the greenhouse gas effect is crucial as it creates a habitable environment for all living organisms. Carbon dioxide is the primary gas that is put out into the atmosphere through respiration and combustion. The basic steps of this process are how the greenhouse gases trap heat and remit it back into the atmosphere, thus creating a habitable space. However, greenhouse gases are increasing because of deforestation and incomplete combustion which leads to an enhanced greenhouse effect. There is then a surge in temperatures inducing global warming. Ice caps begin to melt, causing a domino effect where sea levels start to ride. There are loss of habitats, soil erosion, food chain disruption, and much much more. So as a pose to letting humans destroy the earth, there have been many attempts to reduce these greenhouse gases. One being, the carbon capture storage.
There are three steps for the carbon capture storage, the first one is trapping the carbon dioxide itself. There are three different ways in which this can be done.
Carbon dioxide is separated from flue gas by bubbling gas through columns and packing it with liquid solvents such as ammonia. This allows the chemicals to saturate and 120˚C steam is passed through which releases the carbon dioxide to be transported.
This uses the technique of combustion by burning fossil fuels in pure oxygen as the waste gas formed will consist of carbon dioxide. It is then piped to be transported.
In this method, coal is gasified so the synthetic gas that is formed consists of carbon dioxide which is captured.
The second step is preparing the gas to be liquified for the remaining journey as it needs to be transported for many miles before reaching its final destination. Lastly, the third step is also known as ‘enhanced oil recovery” is the process of burying the now liquified gases into geological formations. Some in underground saline aquifers or even unused oil fields.
The hope that mankind now has with this concept of carbon capture storage coming more and more into play is to reduce these increased amounts of greenhouse gases. By doing so, we will be able to decrease the enhanced effect and keep the earth inhabitable conditions.
"Carbon Dioxide: Dangers & Management." Production Automation Station, 9 Mar. 2020, blog.gotopac.com/2013/04/09/carbon-dioxide-dangers-management/.
"What Is the Greenhouse Effect?" NASA Climate Kids, climatekids.nasa.gov/greenhouse-effect/.