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Carbon Capture the Future?

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A relatively new technology, this system was first commercially introduced in 2000 and is still being improved and researched. Promising a lot of potential for the future.

CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE or CARBON CAPTURE SEQUESTRATION (CCS) refers to the means of mitigating the release of carbon dioxide(CO2) specifically from high-point locations such as fossil fuel plants and storing it in a way that it is not released into the atmosphere.

A CCS system works in parallel to a power plant, aiming to reduce CO2 emissions. It is the process of stripping carbon dioxide from fossil fuels before or after it is burnt to create energy. The carbon captured is then sent through pipes that go deep into the earth, up to at least 800 meters into fossil fuel reservoirs where it is released, and earth pressure is enough to keep it in a liquidized form, staying there for thousands, even millions, of years.

A relatively new technology, this system was first commercially introduced in 2000 and is still being improved and researched. Promising a lot of potential for the future, it has already appeared in countries like Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, even China, although still in the trial-and-error phase. This system is supposedly capable of capturing up to 90% of total carbon released. Siemens’ capture facility at the 2GW Staudinger coal-fired power plant in Germany is an adopter and a prime example.

So should we jump on board? MGBC’s President Ar Von Kok Leong says we need to sit back and see how things turn out before we can seriously think about implementing it in Malaysia.

“But this could be a good thing in the future,” he adds. As of now, it has its limitations; the costs are high and require up to 40% more energy from the plants to run, which means more CO2 is released. And, the possibility of CO2 leaking after being captured is not ruled out.

Again, this CCS technology is yet to reach its full potential and may weigh in more positively with time. But questions are already being asked: On whose land will these CO2 be buried in? Is it safe? When will this technology be available at full potential? Is it cost-efficient? It will be when it’s able to renew and recreate energy sources to replace the depleting ones today.