Capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere is a developing technology that can help reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases and mitigate climate change, already being tested in Norway.
The technology of capturing carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere (DAC) offers a promising way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. In a DAC system, CO2 is removed from the atmosphere, reducing its concentration in the air and mitigating its greenhouse effect.
Although DAC technology has great potential to help reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, it also presents challenges. For the technology to be viable, large volumes of air are needed to process, making the process expensive. In addition, the low concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere (only 0.04%) means that a lot of energy is needed to extract this problematic gas.
Norway may be one of the countries where DAC infrastructure may make sense. The country has large volumes of geological storage on its continental shelf, favorable climatic conditions, and a wealth of know-how in the fields of carbon capture and storage (CCS). Several DAC projects are currently under evaluation or planning by Norwegian companies working in collaboration with foreign companies.
However, more research is needed to develop DAC technology and reduce costs. According to a study carried out by SINTEF for the Norwegian Environment Agency, it is necessary to learn from current experience in order to keep energy consumption and costs as low as possible. As the technology matures, construction and operating costs will decline, but energy costs will continue to be an increasing proportion of total costs.
The Norwegian Environment Agency notes that DAC technology will require operating subsidies if a negative assessment of emissions is to be avoided. One possibility is that the Norwegian state establishes a reverse tax per tonne of CO2, which pays companies for every tonne of CO2 they remove from the atmosphere. This measure could be combined with funds for the development of technology and for the creation of transport and storage infrastructure.
Carbon Capturing Technology
There are several technologies and applications that make it possible to capture carbon from the atmosphere:
- Carbon capture in coal-fired power plants: This technology involves capturing the CO2 emitted by coal-fired power plants. CO2 is separated from other gases by chemical processes.
- Carbon capture in the cement industry: Cement production is a major source of CO2 emissions. Carbon capture technology in the cement industry involves the capture of CO2 emitted during the production process.
- Direct Atmosphere Carbon Capture (DAC): Direct Atmosphere Carbon Capture technology involves removing CO2 directly from the air using CO2 absorption technologies.
- Carbon Capture in the Oil and Gas Industry – Carbon capture technology in the oil and gas industry involves the capture of CO2 emitted during the production of oil and gas.
In each of these cases, the captured CO2 is stored in underground reservoirs. It is important to highlight that DAC technology is not an alternative to other measures such as the application of CCS technologies to reduce CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases. DAC technology is a complementary tool that can help reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and fight climate change.
Although carbon capture technology is a promising tool to help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and mitigate climate change, it alone is not enough to solve the problem.
Carbon capture involves extracting CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it underground, in the ocean, or in products that do not release carbon. Carbon capture technology can also be used to reduce CO2 emissions in industrial processes. However, carbon capture technology does not address the underlying causes of climate change, such as the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and intensive agriculture.
Furthermore, CO2 storage is not without its risks. Although safe CO2 storage techniques exist, there are concerns about the possibility of CO2 escaping from the ground or ocean and back into the atmosphere. This could be extremely dangerous, as CO2 is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.