Can capture and storage of carbon from biomass such as trees and plants be a way to reduce climate change? Illustration: Daniel Andréasson.
Carbon capture and storage, CCS, is a technology which is usually spoken of as a way to take care of carbon emissions coming from the burning of fossil fuels. The idea is that for example a coal-fired power plant could capture the emissions and then bury them deep down in the ground, so that they can’t rise up in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming.
Now the Swedish company Biorecro has a new idea of how to use this technology: To create negative emissions, removing carbon from the air.
Instead of burying the emissions coming from fossil fuels, creating a “zero-sum game”, they want to burn trees and plants that have absorbed carbon from the atmosphere during their lifetime and bury those emission.
Biomass is already burnt in great quantities in for example pulp and paper producers, bio-fuelled power plants, ethanol plants and biogas plants. Their emissions could be stored in storages, in aquifers between 1,000 and 3,000 meters under ground.
Instead of CCS they call their technology BECCS, Bio Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage.
Biorecro is already running a test plant in But at least with the “original” CCS idea there have been discussions about how ready it is to use and the risks involved. Is it safe it to store carbon dioxide for thousands and thousands years? Can the carbon dioxide leak out to the atmosphere again? How much energy does it take to capture and compress the carbon dioxide?
Several CCS projects around the world have been cancelled because of high costs or protests from the people living in the planned storage area.
Others point to this kind of technology as the only way of reducing the carbon dioxide concentration in the air, from about 393 parts per million today down to 350 parts per million (which is considered somewhat a safe level).
Other sustainability related news in Swedish media (in Swedish, but can be autotranslated here):
Sveriges Radio: Forest land can release more CO2 than it absorbs
Ecoprofile: “Eat nuts instead of red meat”
Svenska Dagbladet: Meeting with a vegan family: “People think we eat carrots at Friday night”