Reducing the amount of carbon dioxide that human activity pumps into the atmosphere while still trying to maintain economic growth is an extremely difficult proposition. In spite of the progress that's being made, so far none of the alternative fuels that have been proposed are anywhere close to the cost and availability of existing fossil fuels. If dramatic reductions in carbon emissions can't be achieved in the near term, what about recovering the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere?

Columbia University Professor Klaus Lackner and Global Research Technology have now demonstrated a carbon capture device. The carbon captured by such a device could then be sequestered. If this technology can be proven and commercialized it could help resolve several issues. Previously carbon capture for sequestration could only take place at static emission points like power plants. Air carbon extractors could be situated in locations where carbon needs to be removed such as major cities with a lot of ground traffic as well as closer to the locations where the carbon would actually be sequestered. This could reduce the need to transport captured CO2.

Building new stand-alone capture devices has the potential to be much less expensive than retrofitting existing power plants or vehicles. Carbon capture systems will do nothing to eliminate the problem of diminishing petroleum reserves. But it could potentially buy time until replacement energy sources become more economically viable.


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