Capturing and storing CO2 might seem impossible. However, there is a technology, the CCS, from English Carbon Capture and Storage (capture and storage of carbon dioxide), which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Recently in Italy, the country’s first CCS project was announced, a Ravennawhich points to capture and store CO2 emitted by coal-fired power plants or various industrial activities – such as steel mills, cement plants, refineries and ceramic factories.
How CO2 is captured with a CCS system
CCS technology consists of three main phases: CO2 capture, transport and storage carbon dioxide safe.
- The capture of CO2 can be done using different technologies, but the basic one in this phase is carbon dioxide is separated from the other gases with which it is bound.
- In the next step, the transport, the C02 is conveyed towards the confinement site through pipelines, conceptually similar to those used for the gas transport network, or also by sea or by land.
- At this point the CO2 is compressed and transported through a network of pipes to be stored in secure underground sitessuch as depleted oil and gas fields or deep rock formations.
The first CCS project in Italy
The first Italian CCS projectrecently announced by an agreement between Eni and Snam, provides for the development of a site in the Eni industrial complex in Ravenna, where carbon dioxide will be captured by industrial processes and transported via pipeline to be stored underground. The project will have a storage capacity of at least 25 thousand tons of CO2. This CCS project in Ravenna is one of the most advanced projects in our country, but there are others under development in Italy, including the CCS project in Sardinia.
This project is part of a larger effort to reduce carbon emissions in Italy. The country has set a goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050 and the development of CCS technology is seen as a key part in achieving this goal. Eni and Snam are both major players in the energy sector in Italy and their partnership on this project is a positive step towards achieving carbon neutrality.
A technology that poses major challenges for the future
CCS is seen as a key technology for achieving long-term climate goals, as it can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from hard-to-kill sources, such as coal-fired power plants, oil refineries or heavily polluting businesses.
However, CCS also presents some challengesincluding i high management costs e the need for adequate regulation to ensure safety and environmental protection during the transport and storage of carbon dioxide. Furthermore, CCS technology is not fully mature yet and requires further R&D investment to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
In 2022 energy consumption will drop but emissions will grow
Environmentalists’ doubts about CCS
The CCS, in fact, is one technology strongly criticized by environmentalists. Greenpeace Italy maintains that although it attracts large investments from energy companies it has so far obtained bankruptcies, which has listed some cases in which, according to Greenpeace, projects have been abandoned. Like that of Petra Nova in Texas, a plant closed in 2020 following an investment of over a billion dollars or the Gorgon project in Australia, where the CO2 captured is a minimal quantity compared to that initially calculated. For Greenpeace Italy, the only application in which it works is to extract more oil from oil wells, being a technology used in a propaganda manner only to defend fossil assets, to justify their use, but in the absence of industrial reliability.
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Many countries around the world rely on CCS
There are some examples of CO2 capture and storage projects in CCS all over the world. Like the Sleipner project in Norway is a CO2 geological storage project that stores the CO2 produced by an underwater natural gas extraction platform, or the Boundary Dam project in Canada a facility that captures CO2 from the emissions of a coal-fired power plant and uses it to produce fertilizers. Or the White Rose project in the UK, which aims to capture CO2 from emissions from a coal-fired power station and store it underground.
The agreement between Eni and Snam for the development of CCS technology in Ravenna it can therefore represent an important step towards the reduction of carbon emissions and the achievement of carbon-neutrality. The project is not only expected to help mitigate the effects of climate change, but would also bring economic benefits to the region.
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