Could Injecting Carbon Into the Earth Save Our Planet?

Could Injecting Carbon Into the Earth Save Our Planet?

Iceland: the land of majestic waterfalls,
black sands, sparkling glaciers, and… maybe one of the world’s wildest solutions for
solving climate change? Nestled beside the majestic hills of southwestern
Iceland, are a series of huge pods capable of taking CO2 that’s been snatched from the
air and injecting it into underground stones, where the gas can be stored safely for millenia. And yes, this might sound like the stuff of
science fiction, but it’s all real, and it’s actually happening. Just so we’re clear, our planet is heating
up, and fast. CO2 levels now exceed 415 parts per million,
higher than they’ve ever been in the past 800,000 years. And while there’s dispute over what number
constitutes a dangerous threshold, there is consensus that those levels must drop to avoid
imminent catastrophic warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,
or IPCC, estimates that by the end of the century we must pull at least 100 gigatons
of CO2 and as much as 1,000 gigatons of CO2 from the atmosphere. Which, to put that into perspective, is the
equivalent of 20 years worth of global greenhouse gas emissions. So now you’re probably thinking the same
thing that I’m thinking: HOW are we going to accomplish that?! Well, in addition to the rapid adoption of
renewable energy and wide-scale reforestation, the IPCC maintains that carbon dioxide removal
technologies will be critical to tackling climate change. And that’s where direct air capture, or
DAC technology, comes into play. This idea of pulling CO2 directly from the
air has actually been around for well over a decade, but it’s only been in the past
few years that this tech has really come into its own. DAC works by redirecting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and placing it somewhere more benign. Like inside rocks. At least, that’s what Climeworks has been
doing at its plant in Iceland since operations began in late 2017. The machine consists of a single collector that’s able capture CO2 straight from the air using
reusable filters. As air is drawn into the plant, the CO2 molecules within
it chemically bind to filter materials. The filter is then heated up to about 100°C,
causing the CO2 molecules to unstick from the filter and collect as concentrated gas. This gas is then mixed with water and injected
underground, where it reacts with basalt to become stone in under two years. Meanwhile, the CO2-free air is sent back from
whence it came, and the cycle repeats. While removing 2,500 metric tons of CO2 from
the atmosphere and safely storing it beneath the Earth is one use, Climeworks is also demonstrating
captured carbon’s ability to transform into methane that can be used to power cars, like at
its plant in Italy. And over in Switzerland, a waste incineration site supplies power to their their DAC plant, which funnels captured carbon into nearby greenhouses to ripen vegetables. By demonstrating captured carbon’s many
uses, Climeworks has managed to become the first-ever DAC company to go commercial. The company also excitedly claims that its
technology is a negative emissions solution, meaning that more carbon is being moved from
the biosphere to the geosphere than the other way around. But there’s some question over whether
or not this technology can truly be effective. Right off the bat, it’s clear that it must
be massively scaled up if it’s ever going to make a dent in the 1,000 gigatons of CO2 that we have to scrub from the air. While the Climeworks plant in Switzerland
is capable of capturing 900 metric tons of CO2 annually, the biggest concern is the fairly
substantial energy expenditures needed to extract all that CO2 from the air in the first
place. According to company estimates, the scaled up process
will use about 2,000 KWh of heat and 650 KWh of electricity per metric ton of CO2. By sequestering carbon onsite and using renewable
energy from nearby geothermal plants, the Iceland operation intends to lessen its carbon-footprint…but all of this still makes you wonder how we define ‘negative emissions.’ Climeworks has set a goal to eliminate about
400 million metric tons of CO2—or about 1% of global emissions—by 2025, banking
on carbon’s increasing value as a trading commodity that can help potential buyers,
like energy companies and countries, meet climate targets. But it’s still just a 1% reduction, so it’s
clear that while technologies, like Climeworks’ solutions, are really cool, they can’t tackle climate change alone. And the race to find more solutions is still
very much on. Do you think that this carbon-capture technology can really make a dent in removing atmospheric carbon? Let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe for more Seeker. As always, thanks for watching and we’ll see you next time.

Posts created 35462

100 thoughts on “Could Injecting Carbon Into the Earth Save Our Planet?

  1. Hi, thanks for watching! Want more Elements? Check out this video about a new technology that could take solar energy to the next level:

  2. Your title suggests that carbon is a threat to the planet. Scientists can't reach a consensus regarding the global warming "theory'. We don't know if the climate is changing as a result of carbon emissions or not. Don't you think that we should know if there is a problem before we start applying a solution?

  3. This at scale is the answer obviously. Now exponential growth will come. Gas powered cars will pay carbon capture tax by 2022 and we'll be going negative in C02 emissions by 2030. FIXED

  4. Sooooo do we just need to build another 100 of these to get 100% of what is needed to be out of the atmosphere by 2045? Or is it not that simple?

    Make it 200 and get it done by 2032

  5. Well just look at the statistics which countries are the worst contributor to CO2 emmission and oblige them to make those plants!

    These countries should start making the plants. They make the most money and major contrinutors to CO2 emmission. It is unfair for low emmission countries which happens to be poorer countries to make those plants.

  6. It would work if the whole world does the same. Unfortunately, the human race is reactive. Which means they won't make any efforts to do this until it's too late.

  7. Wait, C02 levels were this high only 800,000 years ago? Also, doesn't turning captured c02 into methane and then BURNING it defeat the point?

  8. does no one care about the damage done to create these new things that will only last a few decades at best? spend more up front for the same result. humans want MORE and "better" which leads us to have less and none of what we need

  9. If this plant can Actually reduce atmospheric carbon by %1 in just 6 six years then it can be scaled to actually make a dent. 400 M tons or %1 is a lot of carbon capturing. This is if all the carbon footprint of even building the plant are being taken into consideration when saying it can reduce %1. This is pretty close to Tesla's Gigafactories and their positive impact on world energy consumption. Impressive so far.

  10. I don't know how the filters work but it would cool citizens could them on a small scale and send the filters to the factory.

  11. great, fracking with soda water in a very geologically active area. No nothing could possibly go wrong here. A few billion metric tons buried later… a super eruption releases all of it plus more… Now what? sounds like the because science guy is being evil again 🙂

  12. talk to the volcanoes, that are continuously erupting. Humans are nothing but fleas on the Earth. The Earth scratches, the only thing humans can do is hang on. I believe the Earth is a living planet and things that are happening are natural.

  13. This is redundant but mankind needs to use their "polotics" to pass a law that makes it illegal as radioactive material to mine, possess or process any and all natural elements that are vital to earth stability. Such as iron ore, nickel, oil.

  14. What about removing carbon dioxide from the air splitting it into carbon and oxygen using to create graphite as opposed to mining graphite

  15. It can. It just has to be scaled up and be able to use forms of electricity such as solar and wind for the process.
    Of course, this is just my hypothesis. I could be wrong.

  16. … the waterfront-property of the elite is in-danger; very worthy cause.

    Natural biology is to be cherished. However, with the fallacy of doomsday predictions aside… we will adapt…

  17. Another tool in our earth repair toolbox….However, I believe for most we should conserve and re-establish the ecosystems surrounding us. Also, we need to push for sustainable transportation, waste/resource management, changing our cultures' values of conspicuous, trendy consumption to future focused, community and planet prioritized policies. If the big consumers/polluters make the tough choices, it'll make a huge dent in emissions, as well as paving the way for developing nations. Hopefully, we in the US will be able to mitigate the damage being piled on right now with massive people/policy change in 2020.
    & 💚 dino shirt!!!

  18. We are so advanced these days that technology has a lot of computing powers, like x100000 than before but uses electricity and is EXPENSIVE, we can quit this and instead focus on leaving our forests alone and plant more trees.

  19. for all our sake we need to do everything in our power to reduce our climate impact. hopefully this can be one more tool we add to our belt of keeping ourselves alive 😛

  20. We need more carbon in the atmosphere to raise the sea level enough to flood the sahara and make Africa green again. Reverse the desertification of Africa to save the Africans. Make Northern Africa Green Again

  21. Higher CO2 levels also cause a decrease in brain function making people more sluggish physically and mentally. We are losing brain power with each year.

  22. Ok sounds good but who is going to force the rest of the world to follow suit or what country is going to help pay for the pore country's money and time is key

  23. A few months ago, I had a dream that we refilling some of our oil reserves, but this time using Biofuels and/or synthetically made oil via high-pressure/temps using the earth itself and pumping in C02, enzymes, other key ingredients. The end result? a sped up production of oil. We know that some attempts to do this have been successful quite a long time ago using pressure and heat to produce oil in a matter of hours rather than millions of years. Let's use the earth itself for this.

    I hope someone will do this for reals. I get so nervous every time i think about the fact that we currently have no plan to stop the attrition to the finite source of oil. Even if you were a Texas oil baron with a 1970's stance on the environment, you should still feel shitty when you think about how you haven't set up a sustainable system for providing energy and will run out.

    Maybe those crazy Russians with their experience in digging super deep holes can figure it out.

  24. Trees and other plants do this for free.
    However the places that are most habitable for plants are most habitable for humans, usually clearing out a huge percent to make space, and gather resources.
    We could start making more roof garden like structures, replacing lost plant life.
    This tech probably would make up for the lack of growing space in colder regions, where plants and people don't usually live…

    If the pumping of water underground doesn't cause any seismic issues.

  25. Hey get my rocketship ready no wonder we goonalive on Mars….#2050
    Not possible did we forgot Africa and Asia and North America they don't have money for this shit I bet.

  26. All these European countries with low carbon emissions are doing what they can at their own expense while the U.S. being the second highest contributor is rolling back regulations and INCREASING emissions. Pathetic

  27. Seem like a smarter solution would be GMO trees. Made specifically to grow fast and store as much carbon as possible in starches or w/e. Then just let the fuckers grow.

  28. I like the dinosaur print on her clothing while addressing the pressing issue of carbon emissions and the applications to reduce this.

  29. Is it just me or that map they showed had ice covered areas below which were Bigger than Continent………
    Not saying earth is flat,its oval-ish
    So seeker don't start another flat earth


  30. Just so we are clear, there is no correlation between global average temperatures and atmospheric CO2 content. I respect your carbon based religion, but not your carbon science propaganda. Sad. Follow the money. Who pays you by the way.

  31. Wait…. a waste incineration plant produces flue gass like, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, hydrofluoric acid, mercury, lead and other heavy metals. Yes they have ways of contain for converting. But not 100%. So they can make energy and can run their DAC in Swizerland. Did I miss something?

  32. Want to know what could save our planet? Stop producing redundant goods for your petty entertainment. Become sustainable, then move up consumption levels as you access more resources. No access to more resources STOP CONSUMING YOU PIGS!

  33. Even if it could save us.. dont do it… atleast dont make it seem like the solution to our problems, we still need to go green.

  34. The only thing which can work is "Reforestation". Not only we have cut down the source of purifier of atmosphere but also the home of animals. Reforestation is need of the arc. It will make human occupied lands or cities smaller making the price of land and life increase and in return we will see people who can not afford to raise many child, reproduce in limit too. To a short extent will help with population.
    Cut down cities and plant forest.

  35. CO2 does not cause global warming. It is only 400ppm is just 0.04%. It can only create warming by inventing feedback mechanisims that are pulled out of micharl mann's arse.

  36. How evenly spread is CO2 across the globe?

    how about a solar park in the dessert, so that thing can run 24/7 for the next 100 years?
    And every country attending to climate conferences has to pay a fee so that the operation can maintain the standard which is needed to succeed

  37. No.1 – Betteridges Law applies, and the answer to your title must be "No".
    No.2 – Our planet is in no way, shape or form, dying, and even if it were, humans could not save it. Even suggesting it needs saving is mind-bogglingly stupid. Because even if we look at your own point of view, the single best way to "save the earth" would be to eliminate every human being on it. Yeah – nice idea.
    No.3 – Sequestering carbon is a stupid idea, unless it can be returned to the atmosphere when we need to. Because nothing is surer than the next ice age on earth, once we stop belching out carbon. And unlike coming out of an ice age, going into one can take only a few decades. And then it scrapes everything back to bedrock.
    No.4 – A warmer earth is a far more desirable earth. And it's coming! So we should be very glad of that fact. We've probably put off the next glacial age for another 20,000 years, which is great. But we'll need to retain the ability to get that CO2 pump going again when the levels start to fall. And fall they will. Make no mistake.

  38. All these new technologies are great, but they always just seem to be concept or very, very small scale. I want to know why i haven’t seen them in my neigborhood

  39. Can u please explain to me why the main satellites on this field are showing that we didn't have any major climate warming for the last 18 years. Just asking!!

  40. Why don’t you acknowledge we’re still bouncing back from the last ice age ? Global warming is Not man made, tell the truth, it’s a question of how much has man accelerated and already existing problem

  41. Whadda!! This could have been done without wasting resources by simply maintaining forests!
    First they have made and are making money by polluting the environment. Now they are trying to make money by the claim of un-polluting it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top