Climate change

CO2 extraction facility set for the UK

The foundation for the CO2 extraction facility is all set for northeast Scotland in the UK. The facility will be capable of extracting significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the air.

The Direct Air Capture (DAC) plan is a joint project between UK firm Storegga and Canadian company Carbon Engineering. The proposed plant will be capable of removing up to one million tonnes of CO2 every year. This is the same amount taken up by about 40 million trees.

A feasibility study has been carried out and the facility is expected to be operational by 2026. The extracted CO2 gas will be stored permanently deep under the seabed off the Scottish coast. In addition, the extracted gas can be sold for commercial use or turned into liquid fuel.

The global temperatures have increased and for the world to be safe; then temperatures need to be kept below 1.5C by the end of this century. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change is already affecting people, ecosystems, and livelihoods around the world. Limiting warming to 1.5ºC is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but would require unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society. 

The IPCC in its report found that there are clear benefits to keeping warming to v Foreword vi 1.5ºC rather than 2ºC or higher. Every bit of warming matters. And it shows that limiting warming to 1.5ºC can go hand in hand with achieving other global goals such as the Sustainable Development Agenda. Every year matters and every choice matters. 

The IPCC says that rapid cuts in carbon emissions from cars, home heating, and almost every aspect of lives will be critical over the next decade.

Scientists say the world needs to suck significant amounts of greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere to stay below the 1.5C threshold.

Planting trees is among the cheapest and quickest climate interventions available approach. But technology is also being put in place to remove CO2 directly from the air.

“Even if all the other measures that we’re taking to avoid emissions, electric cars, renewable energy, those types of things, even if those succeed, you still need carbon removal,” said Steve Oldham, CEO of Carbon Engineering.

“Direct air capture I think is going to be a significant part of the UK’s net-zero plan.”

“For us, a typical facility is about a million tonnes of CO2 removal per year. That’s the equivalent of 40 million trees.”

Canadian Carbon Engineering company is one of the leaders in carbon extraction.

At their pilot plant in Squamish, British Columbia, the company has been removing CO2 from the atmosphere since 2015, pulling down around 1 tonne of CO2 every day.

The system involves a fan to suck in air. The air is then exposed to a liquid mixture that binds the carbon dioxide.

The liquid is turned into calcium carbonate pellets through further refinement.

The pellets are treated at a temperature of about 900C to decompose into a CO2 stream and calcium oxide. The stream of pure CO2 is cleaned up to remove water impurities.

It is then pumped underground and buried permanently, sold for commercial use, or even turned into liquid fuel.

It is estimated that the project will create around 300 jobs in the construction phase. However there are many hurdles, including planning and finance – and a site for the plant won’t be selected until next year.

However, if the plan does go on; it will be the biggest DAC facility in Europe and depending on the final configuration, could be the biggest in the world. 

Also read,

The world must tackle climate change and nature loss together: UN panel

Global carbon emissions have hit new levels, 50% higher than the preindustrial period

Coal energy transition to determine future economies

Shell company pledges to accelerate efforts to low carbon emissions after the court verdict

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