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Carbon Capture

Carbon Capture Debate: Bill Gates to the Pope

With the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP28) looming, discussions about effective strategies to reduce emissions and combat climate change are intensifying. Carbon capture technologies, a focal point at the recent ADIPEC oil and gas conference in Abu Dhabi, have sparked significant debates. Lorenzo Simonelli, CEO of energy technology firm Baker Hughes, addressed why carbon capture hasn’t reached commercialization and broader decarbonization. He noted that it’s on the horizon, attributing it to factors like the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States and supportive policies in Europe. Simonelli emphasized that 50% of the first half order intake at Baker Hughes was related to carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS).

CCUS involves capturing carbon dioxide emissions from sources like coal-fired power plants and either reusing or storing it to prevent it from entering the atmosphere. This approach differs from carbon capture and storage (CCS), where CO2 emissions related to industrial processes are captured and stored.

While the sector is gaining attention, challenges persist. Direct air capture (DAC), a process like that used by Climeworks, is highlighted. Bill Gates has supported Climeworks, but the International Energy Agency notes that capturing carbon dioxide from the air is more energy-intensive and expensive than capturing it from a point source.

Bob Dudley, former CEO of BP, also weighed in, emphasizing the need for a diversified energy portfolio to meet the demands of a growing global population by 2050. He underscored the importance of cleaned-up natural gas and CCUS in the energy transition.

Despite advocates for carbon capture, the technology faces skepticism, with concerns raised by organizations like Greenpeace. Critics argue that carbon capture is not truly zero-carbon, may not achieve significant cost reductions, and is sometimes used for greenwashing by oil and gas companies.

These discussions underscore the complex landscape surrounding carbon capture technologies, with varying perspectives on their effectiveness, costs, and role in addressing climate change.

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