On a High Note: Bigtime Carbon Capture Tech Has Arrived

On a High Note: Bigtime Carbon Capture Tech Has Arrived

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has assessed carbon capture as a necessary means of mitigation to avert the worst of climate change, and scientists emphasize the need to pull 10 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year. Given that it is a particularly expensive way to reduce greenhouse gases, large-scale carbon capture technology has thus far been out of reach. But that’s all about to change.

The largest carbon capture project in the world, Project Bison, is being installed in Wyoming. By 2030, this system will capture 5 million metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere, liquefy it, and store it underground permanently.

Interest in carbon capture technologies has been growing throughout the world. Earlier this year, several large tech and consulting companies, including Stripe, Alphabet, Meta, Shopify, and McKinsey, committed $925 million to carbon capture technologies. Meanwhile, Switzerland's Climeworks and Iceland's Carbfix teamed up to create Orca, a plant designed to collect air and filter out CO2 -- which is turned to concentrate, mixed with water, and injected into nearby basalt rock to be mineralized 1,000 meters deep and stored as stone.

Project Bison shows how integral new technologies may be in fighting the climate crisis. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), roughly half of the emissions reductions needed to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 will come from technologies that are not yet ready for commercial markets.

Energi Media: IEA says CCUS key to net-zero by 2050, January 27, 2022.

CNBC: Why Big Tech Is Pouring Money Into Carbon Removal, June 28, 2022.

FT: Carbon capture | The hopes, challenges and controversies, April 5, 2022.

Bloomberg: Can Carbon Capture Reverse Climate Change?, March 23, 2022.