Carbon emissions are one of the main contributors to global warming. In an effort to mitigate the effects of climate change, scientists have developed ways to lessen the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, working to literally capture the carbon and remove it.

Carbon capture reduces the amount of carbon in the atmosphere during the processes that normally put it there. Carbon capture technology allows emitters like power plants and industrial manufacturers to continue their processes without putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Below are some of the ways scientists have developed to manage carbon levels in Earth’s atmosphere.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS)

Carbon capture and storage is a technology that is able to capture up to 90 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and preventing them from entering Earth’s atmosphere. These emissions are byproducts of industrial processes electricity generation.

When used with reusable biomass CCS is one of the few carbon abatement technologies that can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making it carbon negative.

The CCS process consists of three parts:

  1. Capture: Capture technologies allow carbon dioxide to separate from gases produced in industrial processes and electricity generation. Carbon dioxide is separated in one of three ways: pre-combustion capture, post-combustion capture or oxyfuel combustion.
  2. Transportation: Once captured, carbon dioxide is transferred via pipeline or ship to where it will be stored safely. Millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide is already transported annually, and has been transported for enhanced oil recovery projects for 40 years.
  3. Storage: Carbon dioxide is then stored in a geological rock formation securely located several kilometers below the Earth’s surface.

Shell Canada’s Quest carbon capture facility in Fort Saskatchewan Alta, north of Edmonton, recently reached a milestone four million tonnes of stored carbon dioxide. This is the equivalent of the annual emissions of one million cars. The milestone is ahead of schedule, and was achieved at a lower cost than anticipated. According to Shell, the Quest facility has stored more carbon dioxide than similar projects and is doing it at a higher annual rate.

Carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS)

CCUS is a system that is capable of energy generation and hydrogen (H₂) production while eliminating carbon dioxide. The Na-CO₂ system continuously produces electrical energy and hydrogen through CO₂ conversion. Chemically stable carbon dioxide molecules are converted to other materials.

The researchers who developed the system were inspired by the process of some carbon dioxide converting to acid when absorbed by the ocean. They decided to convert carbon dioxide into water to induce an electrochemical reaction. Scientists created a battery system that eliminates CO₂ when injected in water and creates electricity and H₂. The conversion efficiency of carbon dioxide is 50 percent.

The conversion process can remain stable for more than 1,000 hours without damaging electrodes. The system can also remove carbon dioxide by inducing voluntary chemical reactions.

To learn more about sustainable energy, contact one of the Soil Advocates Team at or 289-221-0164.

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