Carbon capture and storage (CCS)
refers to a way of reducing the carbon footprint of fossil fuels by diverting significant portions of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to secure geological formations well below the ground level. The chief premise of this method is to minimize the amount of CO2 escaping into the atmosphere and contributing to the greenhouse effect. The CO2 stored in this manner can be utilized to enhance oil recovery as well as in several processes employed in chemical industry. CCS is amalgamation of a multitude of technologies, working in tandem and at times, simultaneously. Experts over the world are convinced that CCS is the most promising route to compensate the damage that has been done to the environment in the postindustrial era.
In December 2015, the 21st annual Conference of Parties, dubbed as COP21, committed to bring the greenhouse emissions down in order to cap the global temperature increase to less than 20C over the pre-industrial levels. The commitments made in COP21 are expected to be adhered to by at least 55 countries that account for 55% of the global greenhouse emissions. CCS is increasingly being viewed as a viable option to achieve the same. Being a capital intensive method in the initial stages, it is yet to gain popularity in developing economies, which happen to be significant contributors to the global greenhouse gas emissions. This opens many avenues for research to make this method cost effective for application in developing countries. The cost for every ton of CO2 avoided comes close to USD 60 as of now, but by the end of the next decade, these prices can be cut by almost half.
As of now, the U.S. and China are the largest revenue generators for the CCS market
. As there is no dearth of geological sites where CO2 can be stored, this technique can virtually be applied all around the world. In fact, there is quite a number of applications where it can be used, the most notable ones being natural gas processing, gas-fired power, coal-fired power, CCS with bioenergy, enhanced oil recovery using CO2 and industrial sectors including steel, cement, chemicals, fertilizers, hydrogen and refining. All it requires is further research to become economy-wise viable for all the countries in the world.
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