A concise overview of carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS), a promising but overlooked climate change mitigation pathway.
The burning of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide (CO2), and these CO2 emissions are a major driver of climate change. Carbon capture offers a path to climate change mitigation that has received relatively little attention. In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Howard Herzog offers a concise guide to carbon capture, covering basic information as well as the larger context of climate technology and policy. Carbon capture, or carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS), refers to a suite of technologies that reduce CO2 emissions by “capturing” CO2 before it is released into the atmosphere and then transporting it to where it will be stored or used. It is the only climate change mitigation technique that deals directly with fossil fuels rather than providing alternatives to them.
Herzog, a pioneer in carbon capture research, begins by discussing the fundamentals of climate change and how carbon capture can be one of the solutions. He explains capture and storage technologies, including chemical scrubbing and the injection of CO2 deep underground. He reports on current efforts to deploy CCS at factories and power plants and attempts to capture CO2 from the air itself. Finally, he explores the policies and politics in play around CCS and argues for elevating carbon capture in the policy agenda.
Howard J. Herzog is Senior Research Engineer in the MIT Energy Initiative. He ran an industrial consortium on CCS from 2000 to 2016, served as a US delegate to the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum's Technical Group from 2003 to 2007, and was a Coordinating Lead Author for the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (2005).