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Is carbon capture solution to Delhi’s emissions?

Can all the carbon released into air from Badarpur power plant in south Delhi be trapped and stored beneath Delhi’s surface? Chetan Chauhan finds out.

delhi Updated: Jun 04, 2009 23:57 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Can all the carbon released into air from Badarpur power plant in south Delhi be trapped and stored beneath Delhi’s


surface?

Yes, if Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg is to be believed.

But, a handful of protesters representing environmental groups like Green Warrior’s of Norway outside the Grieg Hall in
Bergen, 150 kms north of the capital city of Oslo, said it was extremely dangerous, as carbon can escape and cause catastrophe.

Many of the world leaders, including the chair of Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, R.K. Pachauri, agreed to some extent. “More research on safety aspect of carbon capture and storage (CCS) will have to be done,” he told Hindustan Times at the sidelines of a conference on CCS.

Earthquake or seismic movements are believed to be the biggest dangers for underground carbon storage, for which experts said CCS has not been “extensively” tested. “CCS is a hazardous way of climate change mitigation,” said Jon Bakke, head of the Norwegian environment group.

The CCS was installed at a cost of US$300 million in 1996 at Norway’s biggest off-shore oil exploration site and the PM said “it was time for technology transfer of CCS to developing countries like India and China”.

The carbon capture and storage technologies have been implemented in oil exploration sites by United States and Canada on a big scale and by Germany and Italy on a smaller. But, India and China are skeptical about the technology stating it would lead to higher power generation cost (up to Re 1 per unit in India) and have said that they cannot adopt the technology unless the developed world add financial incentives to do so.

The Norwegian PM told Hindustan Times that future big polluters like India and China can get financial incentives, provided they commit to adopt the technology.

If this happens, then, south Delhi can breathe cleaner air as the Badarpur power plant emits huge carbon dioxide into air resulting from burning of tonnes of coal every day to generate close to 1,000 megawatt (MW) of power.

For that to happen, Pachauri said, the proposers of the CCS technology will have to convince political leaders in poor countries. “India bhi jald maan sakta ha (India can also agree soon),” Pachauri told HT.

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