Burying Greenhouse Gases at Sea

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Have you ever heard of the possibility of burying our greenhouse gases at sea? Europe is very close to implementing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology in Rotterdam. This means that millions of tons of greenhouse gases would be collected and then stored in facilities beneath the North Sea off of the coast of Rotterdam.

 

Carbon Capture and Storage Plants

This is a solution for mining and fossil fuel companies to meet regulation requirements very quickly. Specifically, fossil fuel use cannot be eradicated on time so burying greenhouse gases is viewed as an attractive alternative to help do our part to limit global warming. Canada is already finding success with CCS technology with its Saskatchewan Power Boundary Dam Project, a coal-fired, large-scale plant. However, CCS is still quite controversial. Some believe it’s an excuse to continue to use fossil fuels for longer, whereas others are pointing to the absolute need to begin to delve into the technology right away. Edinburgh University CCS Professor Stuart Haszeldine says, “if this does not happen, then, logically, all the carbon extracting companies should gradually become defunct.”

 

Rotterdam

This is not the first plan for such technology in the area. In fact, over the years about a dozen different plans were created and many start dates were announced but nothing was put into action. One of the barriers of entry for this alternative has been that industry insiders are hesitating to make the pricy initial investments required to get started. However, research has found that it is actually much less expensive than immediately beginning to reject the fossil fuel and mining industries. Another motivator is the newly-created pressure for something to be done about climate change as emphasized by the Paris Agreement of December 2015.

Rotterdam makes for a specifically attractive location as it is the largest port in Europe and it is already home to a large network of pipes that could be used for the project. It also boasts a wonderful central EU location and easy access for Belgium and Germany.

What do you think about burying greenhouse gases at sea? Are you comfortable with the idea? We really have to stop and wonder if this is a solution that will be beneficial to all. It will help reduce greenhouse gases in our atmosphere but will it pose a new threat to our marine environment?

Source: The Maritime Executive

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08-01-2016 at 9:59