Scientists find that carbon capture technology holds potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Carbon sequestration (noun, “KAR-bun se-kwis-TRAY-shun”)

Carbon capture involves the use of technology to combat climate change by capturing carbon dioxide, also known as CO2.

Within the Earth’s atmosphere, CO2 acts as an insulating layer, trapping heat and contributing to climate warming. The burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas for energy, releases significant amounts of CO2 into the environment. Through carbon capture, the emission of this heat-trapping CO2 can be reduced.

Definition: CO2 and various greenhouse gases

There are two primary forms of carbon capture technology. The first method focuses on removing previously emitted CO2 from the atmosphere, known as non-point-source capture. The second method entails capturing CO2 at the source before it is emitted, referred to as point-source capture.

Industries that generate substantial amounts of CO2, including steel and cement production, utilize point-source carbon capture techniques. One method involves using a liquid substance to extract CO2 before it is released from a chimney. Another approach employs specialized materials that attract and capture CO2 molecules, effectively preventing their release. Once captured, the carbon must either be utilized or securely stored deep underground.

Non-point-source carbon capture involves removing CO2 from the atmosphere once it has been released. For example, a method utilizing tanks filled with microalgae, a type of algae, allows for the conversion of CO2 into sugar through photosynthesis. The algae use this sugar to grow and reproduce, consequently converting CO2 into biomass. This biomass can then be stored, utilized in the production of fertilizers, or in the creation of other valuable products.

Despite its benefits, carbon capture technologies face criticism. Some individuals believe that these technologies offer minimal value, while others argue that they merely mask the underlying issue of excessive fossil fuel consumption. Additionally, concerns exist regarding the potential risks associated with carbon capture, such as the leakage of stored CO2. Despite these criticisms, carbon capture technologies remain a significant component of the strategies aimed at combating climate change.

Put simply

Special nano-scale materials are employed to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere in carbon capture processes.

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