Scientists in Saudi Arabia are testing a new idea for trying to slow climate change: freezing greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants.
A team at a university on the Red Sea coast is trying out a technique for cooling carbon dioxide when fossil fuels are combusted to produce electricity. Once in a solid or ‘dry ice’ form, the pollutant can be stowed underground or used to make chemicals and other products. At least that’s the theory.
As governments step up efforts to prevent temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, researchers are developing ways of cutting or absorbing emissions. The problem is that making the technology cheap enough to use on a mass scale is far from easy.
In this case, cryogenic technology developed by Sustainable Energy Solutions, a private company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is being tested at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. The technology has been piloted to capture about 1 ton of carbon dioxide a day. Within two years, the scientists hope to capture up to 25 tons a day from a power plant near the new city of Neom, said William Roberts, a professor at the university. The project will cost around $25 million, he said.