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  • Writer's pictureDan Soeder

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) vs Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

Understanding the difference between CDR and CCS



#1: Decarbonizing is essential.

There is consensus among the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), international governments, and other organizations monitoring climate that human activities over the past 200 years have led to elevated concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere and global temperature rise above pre-industrial levels. Increased temperatures are linked to more frequent and severe weather events and climate change, creating a risk to both human populations and ecosystems.


While climate change presents challenges, it is still possible to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. This warming limit, according to leading climate experts, is critical to minimize the worst impact of climate change related to increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.


To stabilize the climate, the IPCC recommends discontinuing the use of fossil fuels and the removal of more than 700 gigatons of CO2 from the atmosphere. However, discontinuing fossil fuel consumption is not achievable in the near term. Therefore, CO2 mitigation measures must be implemented as industries decarbonize operations over time and carbon management technologies catch up with the scale of the problem. This is where the debate between carbon capture and carbon dioxide removal has arisen.




#2: CCS - Carbon Capture & Storage

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an emissions mitigation technology that captures emitted carbon dioxide, preventing it from entering the atmosphere. Many environmentalists object to this approach because they say it allows the continued use of carbon-based fuels. Only a complete conversion to renewable energy would assuage these concerns, even though CCS would make the use of carbon-based fuels less damaging to the climate by capturing the CO2 emissions.




#3: CDR - Carbon Dioxide Removal

In contrast, carbon dioxide removal (CDR) addresses legacy carbon emissions by directly extracting CO2 from the atmosphere to decrease concentrations to pre-industrial revolution levels. Since CO2 can remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, to achieve global climate goals CDR technologies must be a focal point of addressing the climate crisis. Some individuals make no distinction between CCS, which captures emissions at the source, and CDR that addresses legacy CO2 emissions. They believe that all carbon removal technologies only prolong the use of carbon-based fuels.



The distinctions between these two technologies could not be more stark. CCS technologies focus on capturing carbon dioxide at the source, while CDR technologies aim to remove excess legacy carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere. Reaching climate stability without CDR becomes futile unless the combustion of carbon-based fuels is ended immediately. Furthermore, when policymakers do not recognize the difference between these technological approaches, it often leads to ineffective policy decisions.


Numerous climate technology companies are working on groundbreaking CDR technologies to address the climate, including Carbon Blade (https://www.carbon-blade.com/). Carbon Blade has developed a CDR hardware technology that uses onboard renewables to power an electrochemical process that continuously removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This technology is not designed for CCS and will permanently remove legacy carbon emissions from the atmosphere.






This is one example where Carbon-Blade uses onboard renewables to power an electrochemical process that continuously removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and directly sequesters the CO2 into basalt rock.



The climate crisis is so immense that it requires global collaboration on technology, regulatory policy, and appropriate access to capital. Counterproductive results occur when there is infighting between groups that share a common understanding of the problem but have nuanced esoteric disagreements on the solution. A holistic strategy including decarbonization, capturing emissions at the source, and removal of legacy emissions is the only approach that has a chance to succeed.


 

Dan Soeder, the principal consultant at Soeder Geoscience LLC has over 40 years of professional experience with energy and the environment.  This includes a decade as a researcher at the Gas Technology Institute in Chicago, 18 years as a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey on the Yucca Mountain Project and in the mid-Atlantic, and eight years as a research scientist at the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy.  He also spent three years directing an energy resource program at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. Visit his website: https://www.soedergeoscience.com/



🌎 To learn more about Carbon Blade, visit our website at www.carbon-blade.com.

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