Carbon capture and storage: has its time finally arrived?


Schwarze Pumpe power station in Spremberg, Germany, is the site of a pilot project in carbon capture and storage constructed by Swedish power company Vatenfall. [Image: Vatenfall][/caption]

Beth Mole at Science News has a good feature on Carbon Capture and Storage, or CCS, the technology that promises to take carbon pollution out of circulation for good. There have been some successful trials and pilot projects but, thanks to lack of funding and political opposition, it is still not being used in mainstream power production. But as Mole writes:

This year, the story of CCS could change. In North America, two commercial-scale power plants are on the cusp of firing up CCS technology for the first time. Both are entering the final stages of construction. The projects, one in Mississippi and the other in Canada, already have made it further than any other carbon capture demonstration project to date. If the two projects come online, they could clear a path for other CCS-equipped plants around the world, lower emissions and help to combat climate change.

But we've been here before, as Mole points out. Jänschwalde, an ageing power plant in Germany, was to become a showcase for the technology but was abandoned. Now the future of the technology may rest with the success or otherwise of the Mississippi and Canadian projects.

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