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Capturing Carbon with Membranes


By 2030, 80% of world energy will still be supplied by fossil fuels because the global energy demand during this period is expected to grow by 45%.

By Colin Scholes

Membrane technologies being developed in Australia hope to cut the cost of capturing industrial emissions of carbon dioxide.

Colin Scholes is a Research Fellow at the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC), the University of Melbourne.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

It has been well-established that increasing carbon levels in the atmosphere are linked to global climate change. Therefore, to avoid the danger of catastrophic climate change there needs to be a global movement to reduce carbon emissions.

This presents a significant challenge because the world relies upon carbon-intensive industries to power the modern economy, such as electricity generation, fertiliser manufacture and metal smelting. Therefore, the scientific and engineering challenge of climate change is to develop technologies that can reduce carbon emissions cheaply.

Carbon Capture and Storage
One proposed strategy is carbon capture and storage (CCS), where carbon dioxide is separated from an industrial process before it can be released to the atmosphere, and the captured carbon dioxide is stored long-term in a safe manner. Importantly, this strategy allows existing industrial facilities to remain in operation. This is a big advantage, since currently 80% of Australia’s power generation comes from coal.

Converting our power generation facilities to renewable energy, such as wind and solar energy, is expected to cost billions and will take decades for the necessary infrastructure to be built. For example, the International Energy Agency estimates that 15% of the world’s energy will be supplied by renewables by 2030 (up from...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.