Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide, aiming to mitigate global climate change by reducing the concentration of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
How is Carbon Sequestration Done?
Carbon dioxide can be naturally captured from the atmosphere through biological, chemical, and physical processes. Accelerating these processes is possible through alterations in land use and agricultural practices, like transitioning land from crop cultivation and livestock grazing to non-crop fast-growing plant cultivation. In addition to these natural methods, artificial processes have been developed to replicate these effects. These include large-scale, artificial capture and sequestration of industrially produced carbon dioxide.
This is accomplished by utilizing subsurface saline aquifers, reservoirs, ocean water, aging oil fields, or other carbon sinks, as well as through bio-energy direct air capture when combined with storage techniques.
Also See: What is Carbon Offsetting?
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Carbon Sequestration?
The advantages and disadvantages of carbon sequestration are as follows:
1. Planting and managing trees effectively reduce harmful airborne particulates, as sequestered carbon is carbon not released into the atmosphere. This, in turn, reduces the greenhouse effect and mitigates the impacts of climate change.
2. In alignment with the Paris Climate Accord, nations committed to achieving net-zero emissions are making the rapid expansion of carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) imperative. CCUS involves capturing CO2 emissions from sources like coal and gas power plants and heavy industry, subsequently storing or reusing the captured carbon deep underground.
1. Carbon dioxide can be stored deep underground, where hydrostatic pressure keeps it in a liquid state. However, potential issues like reservoir design flaws, rock fissures, and tectonic processes may lead to the release of stored gas into the ocean or atmosphere.
2. Implementing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology comes with a financial cost, estimated to add 1–5 cents per kilowatt-hour, as indicated by climate change panels. If CCS technology were mandated by regulation, it would nearly double the financial costs associated with modern coal technology.
However, the specific cost of CCS technology varies depending on the type of capture technology employed and the implementation site, with costs generally increasing with CCS integration. Some studies suggest that these costs could potentially decrease with the development of new technologies but would likely remain slightly higher than prices without CCS technologies.