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Can we sweep our CO2 emissions under the rug?

5 episodes
  • 1
    Injecting CO2 underground to reduce emissions by 15%
  • 2
    “Public opinion is a major obstacle to underground CO2 storage”
  • 3
    Why is it so difficult to capture CO2 directly from the atmosphere?
  • 4
    Carboneo, the start-up recycling CO2 into fuel
  • 5
    How businesses can contribute to carbon sequestration
Épisode 1/5
Cécile Michaut, Science journalist
On May 26th, 2021
4 mins reading time
Isabelle Czernichowski-Lauriol
Isabelle Czernichowski-Lauriol
Geological engineer and International expert in geological CO2 storage

Key takeaways

  • To fight against global warming, it is possible to capture and store part of our CO2 emissions underground.
  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that on a global scale, this technology could represent 15% of the efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.
  • For Isabelle Czernichowski-Lauriol, financial policies could help make it possible to implement this technology. Some countries, like the USA, have already done so and others are contemplating ways to do the same.
  • It takes approximately 7 years to make an industrial project operational. As such, she therefore says that we must plan for it now if we want to launch before 2030.
Épisode 2/5
Laurent Catoire, Head of Chemistry and Processes Unit (UCP) at ENSTA Paris (IP Paris)
On May 26th, 2021
3 mins reading time
Laurent Catoire
Laurent Catoire
Head of Chemistry and Processes Unit (UCP) at ENSTA Paris (IP Paris)

Key takeaways

  • Every year, approximately 270 million tons of CO2 are emitted into the atmosphere: ~0,1% of which are currently captured.
  • The storage of CO2 emissions underground is done through various physical or chemical capture mechanisms in specific geological environments.
  • Existing operations show that there is no major technological obstacle for the geological storage of CO2.
  • The main issue would be acceptability. The possibility – however small – of CO2 leakage in the short or long-term poses a potential hazard to local populations.
  • Thus, for now, projects are focused on the storage of CO2 at sea, like the Norwegian Sea.
Épisode 3/5
Didier Dalmazzone, Professor of Chemistry and Processes at ENSTA Paris (IP Paris)
On May 26th, 2021
4 mins reading time
Ddidier Dalmazzone
Didier Dalmazzone
Professor of Chemistry and Processes at ENSTA Paris (IP Paris)

Key takeaways

  • The atmospheric concentration of CO2 has increased from 300 parts per million (ppM) in 1950 to more than 400 ppM today.
  • Even if huge amounts of atmospheric CO2 are already captured in nature, it is not enough to diminish these to the levels required to fight against global warming.
  • The direct air capture of CO2 (DAC) is presumably an efficient solution to face the problem of diffuse emissions.
  • However, the weak concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere – 400 ppM in the air – is a major challenge. With existing technologies, we would need to treat 1.25 million cubic meters of air to capture one ton of CO2.
  • Technological solutions are under development to overcome this challenge.
Épisode 4/5
Cécile Michaut, Science journalist
On May 26th, 2021
2 mins reading time
Marc Robert
Marc Robert
Professor at Université de Paris and Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Electrochemistry (CNRS)

Key takeaways

  • French start-up, Carboneo, is seeking to transform atmospheric CO2 into oxygen and carbon monoxide (CO) - a very useful molecule for the chemical industry.
  • To do so, Carboneo wants to capture CO2 from industrial sites (cement/steel factories or the chemical industry) the emissions from which, in France, were calculated at 133 million tons in 2019.
  • The technology developed by Carboneo has several advantages: it does not contain any rare metals whilst operating at ambient temperature and pressure.
  • The proof-of-concept was published  in the journal Science in 2019 and the challenge now is to increase scale.
Épisode 5/5
Gabriella Cevallos, Senior Consultant at Deloitte
On May 26th, 2021
3 mins reading time
Gabriella Cevallos
Gabriella Cevallos
Senior Consultant at Deloitte

Key takeaways

  • Nature-based carbon sequestration solutions could contribute as much as a 0.4°C reduction in temperature under a +1.5°C global warming scenario by 2100.
  • In the agricultural sector, for example, the implementation of certain practices could sequester 0.8 GtCO2/year globally (compared to about 42 GtCO2 emitted in 2017).
  • However, if temperatures were to rise by 3°C, this would decrease the capacity of natural ecosystems to store carbon.
  • For Gabriella Cevallos, there is a real interest for companies to invest in the implementation of carbon sequestration practices.

Contributors

Cécile Michaut

Cécile Michaut

Science journalist

Cécile Michaut holds a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Paris-XI Orsay. She was a lecturer for two years before branching off into science journalism in 1999. Her collaborations include Le Monde, La Recherche, Pour la Science, Science et vie, Sciences et Avenir, Environnement Magazine... She also teaches science communication and media training for several research organisations and universities. She founded the company Science et partage (www.scienceetpartage.fr), and published the book "Vulgarisation scientifique, mode d'emploi" (EDP Sciences) in 2014.

Laurent Catoire

Laurent Catoire

Head of Chemistry and Processes Unit (UCP) at ENSTA Paris (IP Paris)

Laurent Catoire is a professor in applied chemical kinetics, in particular in combustion and in general in all reactive systems. After a DGA thesis, he has been working for 30 years on reactive systems that are little studied, poorly known but with important or potentially important applications (hypergolic systems in space propulsion, civil and military energetic materials (explosives, propellants and gas generators), energetic ionic liquids, nanothermites, aluminium combustion, metal combustion, etc).

Ddidier Dalmazzone

Didier Dalmazzone

Professor of Chemistry and Processes at ENSTA Paris (IP Paris)

Didier Dalmazzone is a member of the Management Committee of the Interdisciplinary Centre Energy for Climate of the Institut Polytechnique de Paris. He is in charge of the Energy Production and Management course in the 3rd year of the ENSTA Paris engineering curriculum, and is also in charge of the Master's Degree in Energy at IP Paris. His research activities on processes for the energy transition concern the hydrogen sector, CO2 capture and refrigeration.

Gabriella Cevallos

Gabriella Cevallos

Senior Consultant at Deloitte

Gabriella Cevallos assists companies in integration and deployment of issues around climate into their business strategy. A graduate of Sciences Po Toulouse and AgroParisTech, she has worked in Ecuador to support local governments on environmental projects and within the think-tank I4CE on issues related to the land sector and the voluntary carbon market.