Almost everything you need to know about carbon capture technology

Elon Musk is offering $100m to create the best carbon capture technology but the truth is there are already many ways we can capture harmful carbon out of the air, writes Andy Martin

Thursday 15 April 2021 10:34
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<p>C-Capture uses a solvent – cheap and readily available – that absorbs CO2, which they can siphon off and bury or sell on</p>

C-Capture uses a solvent – cheap and readily available – that absorbs CO2, which they can siphon off and bury or sell on

If you could go back in time and reverse the history of the 20th century, where would you start – and where would you stop? Bump off Hitler perhaps (and/or Stalin/Pol Pot, etc). Maybe save JFK. Call a halt to the Holocaust. Or, bearing in the mind the climate change catastrophe that is now upon us, what about trying to stop the juggernaut of the oil industry in its tracks, neutralise Exxon, Esso and BP, and thereby cool global warming?

The good news is that this science fiction fantasy – a kind of palindromic history – is starting to happen: at least the last bit. It is now possible to rewind the movie and put fossil fuels right back where they came from and were safely stored for millions of years, in the interior of the Earth, not flowing and floating around the exterior. The nascent carbon capture industry is plucking CO2 right out of the air and diverting it down other much safer avenues (in the business, “removal” refers to extracting molecules already in the atmosphere, whereas “capture” operates on the source of emissions; I use “carbon capture” to include both).

Obviously we have been talking about it – from Hollywood to Holyrood. But the point about carbon capture is that it is moving out of the realm of pure talk and into the more important realm of people who are actually doing it.

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