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Carbon Sequestration

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 methods.

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.

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