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Capturing CO2 Gas Is Not Easy



For VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report.

Most scientists agree that increasing amounts of carbon-dioxide gas in Earth’s atmosphere is partly to blame for rising temperatures, also known as climate change. The most cost effective way to get power still comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. But burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide, known to scientists as CO2. Keeping the leftover CO2 from entering the atmosphere is a difficult and costly process. Scientists are looking for the best and least costly methods for capturing the gas and storing it away from the atmosphere. Some of this research is taking place in western Norway.

The Technology Center in Mongstad is the largest facility in the world for major testing of new CO2-capturing technologies. The center is called TCM. Tore Amundsen is its chairman. Tore Amundsen says there are things to be learned about operating large machinery designed to capture CO2 from power stations. TCM is connected to a nearby electric power plant.

Mr. Amundsen says the center treats exhaust fumes from the plant. It uses chemical solvents, or thinners, to pull the CO2 molecules from the exhaust gas. They can use the solvent again to capture more CO2. But Mr. Amundsen says the process is still costly, and raises the price of electricity by up to 40 percent. Experts say the best way to store the captured gas is to place it underground. But it is expensive, and so far, only Canada has a power plant that pumps CO2 gas underground. Other countries are building similar power plants.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Alex Villarreal.