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New Study Says Commercial Carbon Capture Unlikely by 2020

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The recent news that the demand for coal is climbing rapidly around the world has left many of us deeply unsettled. And a new study from Australian energy consultancy ACIL Talisman doesn’t make things sound any more cheery.

The company believes that clean coal technologies such as carbon capture and storage are unlikely to be commercially available before 2020 unless major technological breakthroughs occur in the very near future.

However, the firm predicts that both geothermal and concentrated solar will be in widespread commercial use by the 2020 target date. But none of these technologies can squelch the CO2 coming from the 40% increase in coal consumption expected by 2030.

While the ACIL Talisman study only focuses on Australia, their predictions most likely hold true for the rest of the world as well. In 2006, the World Business Council on Sustainable Development reported that commercial carbon capture and storage is not expected for 20 years.

While these reports are bleak, they are not hopeless. So many major discoveries have occurred recently in other cleantech sectors that the idea of a major breakthrough in carbon capture and storage is not entirely a pipe dream. And of course, there are many other greenhouse gases that also deserve our attention—some of them more harmful than CO2.

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Written By

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.


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