The idea seems simple: take the carbon and CO2 that is going into the air and put it into the ground. If it were only so simple, but it takes a lot more than running a pipe from your flue or smokestack and sticking the other end in a hole. If it were that easy, we would have stopped talking about it a long time ago. And while we recognize that saying “it’s more complicated than that” is often a way to alienate people from the conversation, in this case Carbon Capture Systems are truly as complicated and expensive as you can imagine them to be.

Many heavy industry sectors can’t get away from the output of their power generation. Steel, cement plants, chemical processing factories – all use immense amounts of power and often rely on their own generation systems to not tax the public grid. What the public doesn’t recognize is 1) the scale of some of these systems and 2)how widespread their existence and operations tend to be. Just look around you – steel and concrete is everywhere. Chemicals are all around you from plastics to refrigerants to water treatments. It’s everywhere, we’ve decided we need it, and it all requires the output of carbon emissions.

Don’t get us wrong, there are a few CCS in operation that can be held up as success stories. The Sleipner operation in the North Sea has captured and secured over 25 million tons of CO2 in an aquifer beneath the seabed since it started in 1996. In Canada, oil sand operations have captured about 6 million tons and stored it underground since 2015. Some companies are developing technology to integrate CSS with enhanced oil recovery to offset the cost of capture and storage.

All of this, mind you, is but a drop in the bucket of what needs to be done. The projects that have been deemed successful did so at a significant cost – private investment, government grants and tax incentives, some taxpayer-backed initiatives – and the result is nominal compared to what needs to happen to see a global rollout. In 2022, there was an estimated 32 billion metric tonnes of CO2 emitted.

Of course, it would be wonderful if it could scale. Cleaner air, happier people, and Motus Group would certainly love to lead the charge of installation and maintenance of these new systems. For now, we continue to do what we do best – mitigating emissions through solvent dispersal. Give us a call, we’ll show you what we can do for you.

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