6Carbon Capture and Storage

6.1 Overview

Carbon‐based fuels, i.e. coal, crude oil and natural gas or their derivatives, underpin human civilization at present.

The complete combustion of carbon with oxygen results in carbon dioxide. This is simple chemistry.

Carbon dioxide is one of many climate‐modifying (or greenhouse) gases that have been released routinely to the atmosphere in ever‐increasing amounts for several centuries.

It has been estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that, since 1750, the cumulative CO2 emissions to the atmosphere from human development amount to approximately 2000 Gt CO2, with around 1000 Gt CO2 being added in the last 40 years alone. It is now understood that these gases affect the energy interchange with the planet's solar input, altering its heat balance in favour of warmer average conditions. Current modelling predicts that the results of this warming are likely to be unwelcome from a human perspective. The global current (2016) CO2 emission rate is approximately 40 Gtonnes per annum.

For the future, a translation of energy usage away from fossil fuels and into low/no carbon sources, for example, renewable technologies, must be effected. However, it is not practical to make this change overnight and, in the interim, technologies such as carbon capture and storage must be developed to reduce the impact of these emissions.

Learning Outcomes

  • To understand the thermo‐physical properties of carbon dioxide.
  • To understand the behaviour ...

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