Carbon sequestration is simply the manner by which countries
and manufacturing industries manage their carbon emissions. While
we have adapted measures to limit carbon emission, carbon sequestration
on the other hand aims for zero emission through the capture of
carbon gases and duly storing them for recycle and reuse.
Fossil fuels are the main sources of carbon dioxide, so carbon
sequestration is applicable with power plants that use up gas,
oil and coal to provide electrical energy. On a huge scale, carbon
dioxide ranks 19th among the top commodity chemicals in the United
States and is usually a by-product of industrial processes that
covers synthetic ammonia, hydrogen and limestone calcinations.
Carbon dioxide is currently being sequestered from the combustion
exhaust chambers of power plants by using amine absorbers and cryogenic
coolers. Capture costs inherent with present day technology are
at least 150 dollars per ton of carbon. If we add carbon sequestration
to electrical generation, it will increase costs to as much as 2.5
cents to 4 cents / kWh which is too expensive for regular consumers.
Due to the demands over the earth's predicament, new research and
technology are being pursued to reduce cost on existing carbon dioxide
capture systems while also exploring and inventing new carbon sequestration
Very little has been earmarked for the research and development
of cost reduction technologies, specifically for carbon dioxide
capture and separation. It is the fervent hope that man's growing
environmental awareness could provide added vigor to research in
carbon absorption (chemical and physical), low-temperature distillation,
gas separation membranes, mineralization and bio-mineralization
all designed to reduce processing cost.
Carbon sequestration is foremost in the minds of climate scientists
nowadays is climatic change. A few of them suggest that the devastating
hurricanes to hit the USA, the twisters to hit the plains of Texas
and the typhoons across Asia and the Middle East are all indications
that climatic change has somehow started.
For a good measure, the critics have finally ceded beliefs to scientific
findings, since such occurrence is beyond the usual pattern and
the world is probably entering a new era of climate upheavals. It
is debatable and hard to establish, though a benchmark for climate
change is now being experienced worldwide.
What is apparent though is the fact that the world continues to
raise the volume of greenhouse gases emitted in the atmosphere.
Before the start of the industrial revolution the volume of carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 parts per million (PPM) and less
than a century later the level has risen to 375 PPM.
The human population and its various activities have something
to do with the rapid rise of carbon dioxide levels. If this wanton
disregard for environmental concern is left unabated, with no attention
paid to carbon sequestration, how will generations after us welcome
the next thousand years?
Collectively, the earth pumps in around 6 billion tons of greenhouse
gases into the atmosphere every year. The absence of a wide dense
forest cover can hardly do anything to control the untoward buildup
of greenhouse gasses. Although the oceans absorb some of the carbon
dioxide, these also emit part of the gases to thereby aggravate
the already delicate balance.
It is now up to us humans to provide remedies such as carbon sequestration
and correct this environmental degradation. The Kyoto Protocol of
1997 was a good start, but sustainable effort must be made to correct
this malady. In regards to clean coal technology and other technologies,
an initiative started by the United States is carbon sequestration
and this practice needs to become commonplace in order for greenhouse
gases to abate over time.