What is Carbon Capture?

Carbon dioxide is a colorless and odorless gas. It is a product of respiration of all organisms that grow in an environment with oxygen.

Carbon dioxide is also present in Earth’s atmosphere as a trace gas at a concentration of about 0.04%. In nature, it is present in volcanoes, geysers, and springs. The gas is soluble in water and is present naturally in groundwater, rivers and lakes.

Most of the fuels, such as oil, coal, and natural gas, are carbon-based. Burning these fuels increases the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which leads to global warming.

Carbon capture is the process of capturing waste carbon dioxide from places such as corn-to-ethanol production facilities, fertilizer production plants, power generation plants, and natural gas processing facilities, transporting it and releasing it into a storage site, usually an underground geological formation, preventing the gas from entering the atmosphere.

Currently there are 15 large carbon capture projects in the world with 7 more under construction. These 15 operating facilities have capture capacity of 40 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. They are located in countries such as Canada, US, Brazil, Australia and China.

The Weyburn-Midale Carbon Dioxide Project, located in Midale, Saskatchewan, Canada, was the largest carbon capture storage project in the world. It operated from 2000 until the end of 2011 and was responsible for getting around 40 million metric ton of carbon dioxide under the Weyburn and Midale oil fields, covering an area of 52000 acres. The gas was supplied to the fields from a Dakota Gasification Company plant in Beulah, North Dakota.   

2 new projects will become operational in early 2016: the Illinois Industrial CCS Project, located at the Archer Daniel Midlands corn-to-ethanol production facility in Decatur, Illinois and the Abu Dhabi Project, the world’s first iron and steel project to apply carbon capture at a large scale, located in Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates.


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