DRAFT Article for News Sites (Unpublished Link):
Generating Reliable Power While Creating Negative Carbon Emissions:
An Opportunity for Large-Scale Carbon Emissions Mitigation
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels are rising at an increasing rate globally, leading to forest fires, flooding and/or violent storms, and other environmental disasters that are causing climate induced migration. The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) estimates the climate crisis could displace 1.2 billion people by 2050. Large scale action is needed to combat the disastrous effects of climate change.
A major opportunity has emerged to generate reliable power while capturing and sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere, and can be implemented on a global scale. This is now possible due to advances in four climate-related technology areas that can be combined into one larger system. Power generation with carbon capture, direct air capture (DAC), energy storage, and renewable energy can be combined to provide reliable power to the electrical grid and generate substantial negative carbon emissions at the same time. In addition to scaling up renewable energy, this will help the oil and gas sector transition to and participate in a low carbon economy. If implemented around the world, this approach could reduce carbon emissions by billions of tonnes per year.
In addition to being stored in the ground, carbon dioxide can be utilized in several ways including vertical farming, increasing the strength of concrete, and methanol production. Therefore, as reliable sources of CO2 become available around the world, it can be expected that utilization of this resource will increase.
While the cost of DAC is currently quite high, it is expected to decline quickly. For example, the cost of capturing and sequestering a metric tonne of CO2 in the new plant by Climeworks in Iceland was reported to be in the range of 600 to 800 US dollars. Now, there are several other companies developing DAC technologies, some of which are indicating that they can capture CO2 for less than $100 per tonne when their respective technology is implemented on a commercial scale.
Facilities that enable long-term carbon storage have been rapidly growing and there is now increased availability of climate finance such as carbon-tech funding. This combined with the technologies mentioned above have created many new business opportunities around the world that can help substantially reduce global carbon emissions, create jobs, and enable economic growth at the same time.
Progress can be further accelerated by organizations taking the initiative to develop projects in collaboration with these relevant technology communities and accessing the available financing. This would result in a faster rate of development and scale-up of technologies to reduce carbon emissions. Several funding sources are available to accelerate technology development and scale-up, such as venture capital, government grants and related incentives, private grant funding, crowd-funding and loans. To help companies obtain capital to build a facility, online platforms like Puro-Earth help facilitate long-term contracts for the carbon that is expected to be captured and stored by this facility. Furthermore, to make investments in these substantial projects more attractive to investors, they can be refinanced with Green Bonds after they are operational and generating income.
An important feature of this combination of climate-related technology areas is it is not dependent on any one company’s technology. As a result, organizations that want to implement this combination of technologies have many choices and can and should choose their best options.
To accelerate the implementation of this combination of technologies, sustainable energy research centres around the world could collaborate with each other to develop and implement demonstration projects that contain a combined power system along with carbon capture. They can also partner with local project developers to develop a plan and budget for at least one full-scale combined power facility in their respective regions. If implemented, this approach would facilitate a rapid scale-up of these technologies leading to a very substantial reduction in carbon emissions globally.
Over 200 companies have committed to NetZero Carbon by 2040 and 21% of 2,000 of the world’s largest public companies, representing sales of nearly $14 trillion, now have committed to net zero by 2050. Many of these companies will need to purchase carbon emission credits to meet their commitments. Therefore, demand for these credits can be expected to grow rapidly, which can generate significant revenues for companies implementing these combined power systems with carbon capture and storage.
More than 140 countries have announced or are considering net zero targets, covering 90% of global emissions. These commitments will create an even greater demand for this combination of technologies. Therefore, this approach can become a free market solution to help countries around the world achieve their climate goals.
At COP26, world leaders adopted the Glasgow Climate Pact, which according to the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), gives countries and the private sector significant carbon-market access and more opportunity to attract green investments. Therefore, when this agreement is implemented, substantial revenues can be earned by companies that generate reliable electricity and create negative emissions at the same time using this combination of technologies.