Eco Factor: New CCS technology could make coal-fired power plants green.
Be it the latest advances in solar technology or fuel cells, until we get an efficient and easily available source of green energy the human race will get powered-up by the ever diminishing sources of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels, though efficient, pollute the environment in more than one way, primarily with carbon emissions. Technologies to capture all that carbon from fossil-fuel-fired plants have already been developed. But saving the planet from a boiling disaster comes at a price – $50 for every ton of CO2.
Though necessary, these technologies are more expensive than what the world can easily afford, so the strategy adopted by most power stations is to simply release CO2 into the atmosphere for free and let the world live on a hot planet. The feasible solution might just be born in the minds of some researchers at ION Engineering. Based in Colorado, ION Engineering has stated that the company has developed a new way to capture CO2 from power plants in a more cost-effective way.
Conventional CCS (carbon capture and sequestration) methods rely on a water-based solution, which evaporates as more and more heat is released along with CO2. Since the solution needs frequent replacement, the cost to capture a ton of CO2 accounts to anywhere between $50 and $100.
ION Engineering wants to replace the water-based solution with ionic liquids, which do not evaporate. The use of this solution lowers the CCS cost to just $20 a ton since there is no need to replace the solution frequently.
The Dark Side:
Like all other technologies born in research labs, this one too is years if not decades away from meeting reality. We just expect ION Engineering’s CCS technology to emerge in time.