Carbon capture technology equipment
Source: Idealab Twitter

How to Invest in Carbon Capture Technology and Whether You Should

By

Nov. 10 2021, Published 1:32 p.m. ET

Carbon capture has become an essential part of reducing the amounts of carbon emissions in the world. It allows us to store carbon dioxide securely and possibly re-use it for various purposes. With companies already heavily invested in the technology, how can you invest in it?

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The process of carbon capture is expensive and requires a lot of power, which has been an issue for worldwide brands in addition to small businesses. However, with the technology evolving and becoming more accessible, carbon capture technology could eventually be useful for reducing harmful emissions.

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Source: Idealab Twitter
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What is carbon capture?

CCUS (carbon capture, utilization, and storage), or carbon capture, involves capturing carbon dioxide emissions from its source. The emissions are stored or reused so that they don't enter the atmosphere. The process isolates carbon dioxide, and has it in a highly secure location like an underground storage tank. Carbon capture technology is great for environments that produce excess carbon emissions like coal-fueled power plants as well as gas and oil plants.

Different methods of carbon capture.

The three most common types of carbon capture are pre-combustion, post-combustion, and oxyfuel.

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Pre-combination

Pre-combination carbon capture is when fuel like coal is converted into a synthetic gas that's made from a mixture of carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The hydrogen is separated from the CO2 (carbon dioxide). The hydrogen can be burnt safely to be used as fuel without carbon emissions being produced. The carbon dioxide that's separated is transported and stored away.

Post-combination

In a post-combination process, carbon dioxide is separated from combustible exhaust gases by using a liquid solvent to absorb the CO2. Once the carbon dioxide is fully captured by the solvent, hot steam is used to release the CO2 into storage and it can be sent or used somewhere else. This process is common in the food and beverage industry.

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Oxyfuel

Fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas are commonly burned in normal, producing carbon dioxide emissions that are difficult and require a lot of energy to separate. The oxyfuel process simplifies burning fuel by using pure oxygen instead of air.

This results in the exhaust gas mainly being composed of water vapor and CO2. The CO2 is easily separable, which allows it to be transferred and stored in a secure facility. Oxyfuel technology can be difficult because it takes a lot of power to separate oxygen from all of the other gases that can exist in the air.

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The difficulties of carbon capture

The concept of carbon capture has been around for decades, but some of the issues it has dealt with over the years include scalability and affordability. The technology used and the entire process can consume a lot of energy, time, and money. As a result, it's expensive to use this type of technology. Only global companies have the funds to use carbon capture on a significant scale. Many fossil fuel plants can’t even afford to capture 50 percent of the carbon dioxide they emit.

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Companies that use carbon capture and how to invest in them

Coca-Cola (KO), ExxonMobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX), and Microsoft (MSFT) are some of the leading companies using carbon capture technology. In November, ExxonMobil said that it was responsible for capturing over 40 percent of the world’s carbon emissions.

All of the companies previously mentioned have made it clear publicly that they're heavily invested in the technology and want to increase their usage. You can invest in carbon capture by investing in these companies and other brands that use the technology.

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