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Carbon neutrality is possible for thermoelectrical plants and heavy industry. Carbon dioxide scrubbers are feasible with propper design.



We live a time of transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Anyway biofuels (oil and gas) emits CO2 faster than the resulted capture. Many heavy industry processes (metallurgic and cement industry) will still emit high amounts of CO2. Even solar panels production emits CO2 at the origin of their lifecycle.

At this time of transition, we will need to capture the carbon released in order to mitigate the main environmental impact of energy intensive activities.

In addition, many developing countries are reckon to leave the use of fossil fuel for their development. Reducing the cost of carbon sequestration could help them to develop in a cleaner way.

Depending on the desired rate of removal and the costs, carbon scrubbers can be made of inorganic solids, organic liquids or biological cultures (algae).

Carbon mitigation is not necessarily anti-economic, it can be increasingly efficient transformed to biomass (transformable in food or fertilizers) or it can be used for supercritical extraction of many nutraceuticals (caffeine, vitamins, oligonutrients), the use of fossil fuels could remain this way exploited, although the capture of CO2 will be mandatory.

What actions do you propose?

The mandatory character of the emission reduction treaties will stimulate CO2 capture of heavy CO2 emitters (electricity, steel and cement production). A little portion of green climate funds would be necessary and it is useful to reduce the need of adaptation funds since it is a big mitigation action.

Who will take these actions?

Ministries of energy and industry should regulate. Fossil fuel downstream and heavy industries management should invest. Industrial research and development institutes (academy and private) should properly respond. Also biogas plants will need CO2 scrubbers.

What are the key challenges?

100% of the carbon dioxide released by thermoelectrical plants and heavy industries.

What are the key benefits?

Development of technology, job generation, fertilizers and dietary supplement cost reduction. Society and the unions could best adapt to the energetic matrix shift. Biogas plants will also need carbon dioxide scrubbers since the raw product contains almost 50% of CO2.

What are the proposal’s costs?

Carbon compounds combustion based electricity could raise the costs by adding an effluent treatment.

Tech development

Understand the hydrodynamic aspect of bubble columns design is mandatory to achieve the best performance for CO2 scrubbing.

Proccess intensification would be required in order to mitigate the cost of adding a new step in the fossil fuel based energy production.

Carbon dioxide should be fixed, in a biological manner preferentially so it would be desirable to develop fixation process in parallel.

Time line

Short term: process design and intensification.

Medium term: implementation, standarization, stimulated by the mandatory reduction of CO2 emissions while fossil fuels are still available.

Long term: Only biogas plants, cement, steel and non-ferrous metal (aluminum and silicon specifically) production still will need the CO2 scrubber system.

Related proposals

CO2 Soil Sequestration via Plant Root Mass Using a Renewable Abiotic EPS


Deanna M. D’Alessandro, Berend Smit, and Jeffrey R. Long: ‘Carbon Dioxide Capture: Prospects for New Materials’ Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2010, 49, 6058 – 6082

Yohe, G.M.: ‘The Economics of an Efficient Reliance on Biomass, Carbon Capture and Carbon Sequestration in a Kyoto-style Emissions Control Environment’ OPEC Energy Review vol. 25 Issue 3 (2001)

Jason C. Hicks, Jeffrey H. Drese, Daniel J. Fauth, McMahan L. Gray, Genggeng Qi, andChristopher W. Jones: 'Designing Adsorbents for CO2 Capture from Flue Gas-HyperbranchedAminosilicas Capable of Capturing CO2 Reversibly' J. AM. CHEM. SOC. 2008, 130, 2902-2903

M. Wanga, A. Lawala, P. Stephensonb, J. Siddersb, C. Ramshawa: 'Post-combustion CO2 capture with chemical absorption: A state-of-the-art review'. Chemical Engineering Research and Design 89 (2011) 1609–1624

J.Wilcox: Carbon Capture DOI 10.1007/978-1-4614-2215-0, © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012