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Greenhouse gases large scale reduction: European research goes "Towards Zero Emission Power Plants"


European experts meet today in Brussels to consider a potential method to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions on a large scale. Greenhouse gases have increased dramatically since the time of the industrial revolution. One of the main contributors is fossil fuel combustion for power generation and industry. The European strategy “Towards Zero Emission Power Plants” will reduce drastically these emissions by capturing the CO2 and storing it underground in geological formations. This will in effect return the carbon back into the earth’s geological formations from where it came.

The first European C02 Capture and Storage Conference “Towards Zero Emission Power Plants”, Brussels 13-15 April, will address the strategy of capture and storage of C02, on the road to the vision of a zero emission power plant of the future.

"Most energy supply scenarios predict a share of fossil fuels of more than 85% for several decades. The technology of CO² capture and storage would enable the world to continue to use fossil fuels but with much reduced emissions of CO², whilst preparing for the eventual switch to a fully decarbonised energy economy", says European Commissioner for Research Janez Potoènik. "Introducing alternative energy systems requires knowledge, experience, planning, investment and political will. This Conference is therefore very timely and can be instrumental in giving an important impulse to this priority in energy research, which will be considerably reinforced in the future Framework Programme".

Through the Kyoto Protocol, developed countries have agreed reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions. However, the European Union will not be able to meet its target of an average emission reduction rate of 1%/year in the post 2012 Kyoto period unless additional technological measures are taken, such as capture and storage of the CO2 produced from fossil fuel combustion.

So far, this technology has only been used to a limited extent. However, experts now confirm its potential to help reduce the greenhouse gas problem, sustain quality of life, and the environment, and at the same time have diverse and secure power generation for at least the next decades. Cost effective CO2 capture and storage may prove an essential element for the production of sufficiently large quantities of hydrogen in the transition to the “Hydrogen Economy”.

With this in mind, the European Commission is encouraging the creation of an industry-lead Technology Platform on “Zero Emission Power Plants” which will ensure a coherent research agenda for Europe in this field.

Julia Acevedo Bueno | alfa
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