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Carbon Capture and Storage Goes Online in Germany

veag_kwschwarzepumpe In an attempt to continue using the large coal deposits bespeckling our planet, while still keeping greenhouse gas emission down, one of Europe’s biggest power companies has turned to Carbon Capture and Storage, or CCS for short.

Vattenfall, a Swedish owned firm, will be using CCS at the site of the new “Schwarze Pumpe”, Black Pump, located in the Lausitz region in the State of Brandenburg. The pilot unit, which has a thermal capacity of 30 megawatts, has cost approximately Euro 70 million over the past 15 months.

“The pilot unit is a milestone on the way to converting coal into electricity that is almost free of emissions,” said Vattenfall’s CEO and President Lars G. Josefsson at the official commencement of operations on Tuesday. “It represents the first ever transition from lab to reality. Our intention is to make a decisive contribution to global climate protection.”

Some environmental groups are unhappy though, describing CCS and Black Pump specifically as a cosmetic cover up. They believe that by financing projects such as these, attention and funding is being taken away from other, cleaner methods of powering our future.

German’s BUND pressure group has slammed CCS as a mere “fig leaf” leaving companies and governments to continue building coal-fired power plants, while appearing to care about global warming. “Vattenfall managers talk a lot about supposedly environmentally friendly coal power stations but they are still planning and building conventional coal-fired power stations with high levels of CO2 emissions,” BUND’s energy spokesman Thorben Becker said.

Normally I would be 100% behind anyone taking on the government regarding coal-fired plants. But spending much of my time reporting on renewable energies, I know just how far we have to go before we could even hope to rely on them. If nothing else, CCS provides a temporary stall, when all we have is coal and a long road exists ahead of us before we get to relying on the Sun or wind.

Carbon capture and storage is the collection of carbon dioxide from large point sources such as coal-fired power plants and storing the emissions away from the atmosphere. For example, the Black Pump will be dispensing its carbon emissions into depleted gas and oil fields. Considering how new this technology is, we obviously do not have long-term answers as to what will happen.

Image Courtesy of Vattenfall

More on Carbon Storage at the GO Network

Scientists Say Forests Are a Possible Carbon Storage Solution
World’s First Carbon Capture Pilot Launching Next Week
New Study Says Commercial Carbon Capture Unlikely by 2020
One Company’s Way of Fighting Global Warming: Transforming CO2 Into Useful Products

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I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.


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