CCS stands for Carbon Capture and Storage. This is the process of separating and capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) released by the extraction of hydrocarbons or by combustion in industrial activity, such as power generation, and preventing it from being released in the atmosphere by storing it underground, at a minimum depth of 800 metres.
CO2 is emitted by natural sources, such as animal and plants, oceans and volcanic eruptions. Likewise, it is naturally absorbed by oceans and plants. Natural C02emission and elimination is roughly balanced. Nevertheless, human activities have significantly increased CO2emissions, especially by burning fossil fuels and through deforestation. Experts have established that generation of CO2 and other greenhouse gases from human activities has altered the atmosphere and helped warm up the planet. Higher temperatures have led to climate changes which are altering natural habitants. In the future, they could in have a significantly negative impact on the environment. Nearly all carbon dioxide produced by mankind is released into the atmosphere. It is estimated that CCS can trap about 85-95 percent of CO2 emissions produced by industrial facilities, also called large point sources.
A special report on CCS released in 2005 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reckons that the global emission reduction needed to stabilize atmospheric changes will not originate from any single technology . Nevertheless, it identified CCS as the best single technology that is capable of rapidly and significantly cutting CO2 emissions. It is estimated that CCS has the potential to reduce up to half of the world’s CO2 emissions. Nevertheless, mankind still has to enact other initiatives to abate emissions and guarantee sustainable economic growth. Renewable energy sources and clean energy, such as nuclear power, are other important levers to curb carbon emissions as is energy efficiency. Enel is a leading global player in renewable energy through Enel Green Power and one of Europe’s main nuclear power operators. Investing in CCS does not mean neglecting other efforts to combat global warming.