Could Carbon Capture Help With The Carbon Reduction Target?

In an EU Climate Action conference this week the energy secretary Ed Davey called for tougher carbon reduction efforts in the EU. In his speech Davey called once again for an EU-wide carbon reduction target of 30% by 2020 – the current target is just 20%.

In the race for climate change there have been plenty of heated discussions around carbon reduction and how carbon capture could help. Carbon capture eliminates harmful carbon dioxide released from power plants from the atmosphere, which causes warming of the planet.

If the new target gets approval it will be much tougher to achieve and carbon capture may prove to be the quickest and most practical way in getting there. Experts are continually exploring how they can use carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the commercial arena, testing a range of technologies.

There are 15 CCS projects taking place all over the world, including an experiment off the coast of Scotland. Four and a half tonnes of carbon dioxide were pumped into the seabed, 350 metres from the shore of Ardmucknish Bay this year in an experiment to test the effects of a leak on surrounding marine life. The controlled leak slowly bubbled CO2 gases into the sea over a few weeks, which has caused a mixed reaction to marine life. Storage of CO2 is a major issue in carbon capture as it needs to be stored safely and as far away from the atmosphere as possible, which is why the seabed experiments in Scotland are so important to experts.

Fossil fuel-powered plants create the majority of man-made CO2 emissions and are at the centre of the carbon capture research. Energy ministers are keen to see carbon capture and storage technologies put in place on all plants, which could cut CO2 emissions by up to 90% – which would make a huge dent in the carbon reduction target.