carbon capture Current Affairs - 2019

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European Investment Bank to stop Fossil Fuel Funding by 2021

The European Investment Bank is to stop funding oil and coal projects at the end of 2021. Since 2013, the European Union through the bank has funded 13.4 billion Euros for fossil fuel projects. In 2018, it was around 2 billion Euros. The Union has been reducing its funding to fossil fuel projects and is stopping by 2021.

Highlights

  • The EIB’s new policy demands that the energy projects applying for funding must prove that they can produce 1 Kilo watt hour of energy emitting less than 250 grams of carbon dioxide.
  • The new rules being adopted are not applicable to gas-based energy projects. However, gas projects should be based on the norms set by the bank for “new technologies”. The “new technologies” include carbon capture, combining heat and power generation, mixing in renewable gases with fossil fuels, etc.
  • The exemptions are made on gas projects as they are common in the EU member states. For the next 5 years, EU has over 200 billion USD worth projects planned.

EU aims to become first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.

MIT researchers develop new technology to remove CO2 from air

Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States (US) have developed a new technology to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from a stream of air, virtually at any concentration level. This is a new advance that may pave the way for new strategies to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) levels. The study by researchers was published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

About the New Technology

While in most of the prevalent methods, removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from a stream of gas required higher concentrations like those found in flue emissions from fossil fuel-based power plants, but the new method could take out gas even when it was present in very low concentrations.

Method: Researchers described the device as a large, specialized battery with a stack of electrodes that absorbs CO2 from air passing over its surface as it was being charged up, and then released gas as it was being discharged. A chemical reaction then takes place at surface of each of a stack of electrodes as battery charges.

The electrodes are coated with a compound called polyanthraquinone compounded with carbon nanotubes.  The study noted that electrodes have a natural affinity for CO2 and readily reacted with its molecules in airstream/feed gas.  This new technology device operates at room temperature and normal air pressure.

The biggest advantage of this technology over most other carbon absorbing/carbon capture technologies is- ‘binary nature of the adsorbent’s affinity to carbon dioxide’. Moreover, the new system is energy efficient compared to existing methods- consistently using about one gigajoule (GJ) of energy per ton of CO2 captured.