Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

CCS ­ grasping at straws in the climate debate?

09.05.2008
Great hopes are being placed on undeveloped technology. Capturing and storing carbon dioxide is predicted to be one of the most important measures to counter the threats to our climate. But the technology still hasn't been tested in full scale, and the complications and risks it entails may have been grossly underestimated.

This is the conclusion drawn in Anders Hansson's dissertation at the Department of Technology and Social Change, Linköping University, in Sweden. He studied documents from the EU and the UN Climate Panel about CCS (Carbon dioxide Capture and Storing), as well as some of the research they are based on. The UN Climate Panel released its most thoroughly considered report ever last year, supported by an uncommonly unanimous research community.

The Climate Panel sees CCS as offering great potential. In various scenarios it accounts for between 15 and 55 percent of the reduction of greenhouse gases by 2100. The EU also is promoting CCS, suggesting that it be included in the trading of emission rights, for example. Carbon dioxide that is captured in energy production, for example, and is placed in long-term storage in the crust of the earth would thus be counted as never having been produced, according to the EU proposal. The consequence is that coal power, which is the biggest area of application for CCS, is being called sustainable coal and is equated in many respects with renewable energy.

The problem is, according to Anders Hansson, that CCS is still a relatively untested method.

"There are a number of small facilities, in Norway, for instance, where they capture and store a million tons of carbon dioxide per year. Swedish Vattenfall is starting a pilot facility in eastern German this summer."

Globally, a total of some millions of tons per year is being stored today within the framework of CCS. But to live up to the hopes placed on CCS requires the storage of several billion tons. In other words, this involves gargantuan volumes. In fact, carbon dioxide would be the world's largest transported good.

"In full scale this technology only exists in the imaginations of the people developing it," says Anders Hansson. "It's overly optimistic to place such great faith in it, considering all the uncertainties found in the scientific literature."

Several researchers studying CCS point out themselves that their models and scenarios in many respects are based on insufficient factual foundations, unrealistic assumptions, and major oversimplifications. The economic calculations, which are often carried out with a hundred-year horizon, rarely factor in external and social costs, which may entail that the costs are hugely underestimated. The EU is counting on CCS to be working in full scale in about 15 years. But despite the fact that this technology will touch the lives of many people, very few people know much about it and its projected scope. Interview-based studies have shown that at most only 20 percent of the general public has heard of CCS.

"CCS needs to become known and be debated," says Anders Hansson. "Otherwise there is a risk of a backlash similar to what happened with nuclear power."

This has already occurred in California, where popular protests last year stopped a law about carbon dioxide storage.

Anders Hansson also wonders whether CCS would delay or hasten long-term sustainable solutions to energy and climate problems.

"After all, we all agree that fossil fuels will run out. Renewable energy is the only long-term path. In that perspective, a large-scale commitment to CCS seems to be an unnecessary detour."

Anders Hansson will defend his dissertation on June 5, at 1:15 p.m. in Hall 101, I Building, Campus Valla.

He can be reached at phone: +46 (0)13-282954; cell phone: +46 (0)704-438823; e-mail: andha@tema.liu.se

Anika Agebjörn | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Listening in: Acoustic monitoring devices detect illegal hunting and logging
14.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>