Research into one of the most promising future green technologies is stagnating. Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) can take carbon dioxide out of the air and store it underground, but not efficiently—at least not yet. The technology is hitting road blocks: Norway glumly shuttered a massive CCS project recently, and a new report warns that global CCS research and development is falling. Reuters reports:
Since 2012, the number of large-scale CCS projects identified by the [Global CCS Institute] fell to 65 from 75 but the number of operational projects rose to 12 from eight. […]The report said that since 2009, financial support for CCS fell by more than $7 billion from earlier commitments…While projects continue to get a financial boost from revenue generated by the projects that recover oil with captured carbon dioxide, more support is needed.
On the other hand, the Grey Lady remarks (however fleetingly) that America’s oil industry is leading the way:
The leader in capture and sequestration, as the the technique is known, is the United States, it said, although that is mostly because of the use of carbon dioxide for stimulating oil flow out of old wells.
The oil industry is an unlikely champion for a green technology, but for now, it may be CCS’s best bet. A different brown energy—coal—might be another key driver for CCS in the near future; a new set of EPA regulations on new coal plants set emissions levels so low as to essentially require commercial-scale CCS.Efficient carbon capture and sequestration systems would allow humanity to freely burn fossil fuels without contributing to the greenhouse gas effect. That’s a pipe dream worth funding.[Oil rig image and plant image courtesy of Shutterstock]