Q&AI™ (or Today AI Learned™)

This is likely to be a recurring segment where I share a question to an LLM or other AI Model and its subsequent response. I will share those that I find to be either funny, impressive, and/or informative.

Today’s Q&AI™:


What is the main premise for piping carbon thousands of miles and storing underground in a central location versus somehow sequestering carbon dioxide closer to the source by other means?

Piping carbon dioxide (CO2) thousands of miles to a central location for underground storage, commonly known as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), has been researched and developed as one of the potential solutions to mitigate climate change by reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The premise for this approach, compared to local sequestration or other means, rests on a few foundational points:

  1. Geological Suitability: Not all locations are geologically suitable for the long-term storage of CO2. Ideal sites for CO2 storage are deep underground geological formations, typically saline aquifers, depleted oil and gas fields, or unmineable coal seams. These formations have the capacity to securely store CO2 for millennia. If the source of CO2 is not near one of these suitable formations, then transportation to a central storage site becomes necessary.
  2. Economies of Scale: Centralized storage facilities can achieve economies of scale, which could result in cost savings in the long run. When multiple emission sources contribute to a single storage site, the per-unit storage costs can be reduced.
  3. Monitoring and Verification: Centralized storage makes monitoring and verification more streamlined. Ensuring the integrity of storage sites is crucial to prevent leaks and ensure the long-term sequestration of CO2. Having fewer, larger sites can simplify the regulatory oversight and monitoring process.
  4. Infrastructure Development: While the initial development of pipelines and infrastructure for centralized storage can be costly, once established, it can serve multiple sources of CO2 emissions. This shared infrastructure can potentially lower the costs for individual emitters.
  5. Technological Maturity: Current CCS technologies have matured around the concept of capture at the source followed by transportation and storage. While localized solutions and alternative sequestration methods (like mineralization or utilization) are being researched, they might not yet be as technologically mature or economically viable as the centralized approach.
  6. Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR): In some cases, the captured CO2 is used for EOR, where CO2 is injected into aging oil fields to enhance oil production. This provides a financial incentive for capturing and transporting CO2, though it doesn’t lead to permanent sequestration.

However, it’s worth noting that centralized storage and long-distance transportation of CO2 are not without challenges. Concerns include the energy required for transportation, potential leaks, and public acceptance, especially for those living near pipelines or storage sites. As research progresses, localized solutions or alternative sequestration methods might become more feasible and popular, offering a more diversified approach to carbon management.


No Comments Yet

There are no comments yet. You could be the first!

Leave a Comment