Carbon capture and storage has air pollution downsides

A new report from the European Environment Agency discusses some of the air pollution downsides from carbon capture and storage technology systems.

The report points out that CCS requires from 15% to 25% more energy than an uncontrolled system so total emissions before storage are increased. This means that an increase in air pollutants other than carbon dioxide. Of particular concern are particulates, nitrogen dioxide, and ammonia from breakdown of the amines used to capture the carbon dioxide. However, the report does project that CCS systems would cause a decrease of 60% in EU CO2 emissions if implemented at all coal-fired electricity generating plants. If implemented at all coal, gas and biomass plants, the result could be a net reduction in total GHG emissions.

Note that there are as yet no full scale CCS systems in operation. GallonDaily suggests that economic factors make it unlikely that all EU coal fired generating plants will have CCS by 2050.

A summary of the report, as well as a link to the complete document, is available at

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