Carbon capture and plastic waste management- Effective measures to save Planet Earth or not

With the increasing pollution and global warming, the earth is losing its sanity day by day. The increased pollution from factories, cars, and sewage disposal has led global warming to reach its highest peak deteriorating the natural balance of the earth causing air pollution. This increased air pollution results in many diseases that are also affecting the human lifestyle. Every awareness program and every tree plantation program has been going on since saving mother Earth got into humans’ nerves. Various modern technologies are being used these days to reduce pollution all over the world to save mankind and animals. There are laws against cutting down trees and using excess plastic products. Various modern technologies like carbon capture and plastic waste management have been introduced to save the earth. With regular management, Earth can heal herself and can restore her balance.

So what is carbon capture technology?

Carbon capture and storage technology is the process of capturing carbon dioxide waste and transporting them to a storage site. By this deposition, it is kept where it will not enter the atmosphere. This whole system is designed to prevent the release of carbon dioxide that is generated from conventional power generation and also from industries. The generated CO2 is stored underground by injecting them into storage reservoirs. The easiest method of transporting carbon dioxide is through pipelines and shipping. This storage location for carbon dioxide includes oil and gas fields that are abundant, deep formations of salines, and coal seams that are unmineable. The most appropriate reason to do carbon capture is to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide from factories and power generation industries.

This carbon capture process can be divided into three categories according to the suitability of each approach which depends on the industrial process or the type of power plant in question:

  • Post-combustion of carbon dioxide –  The combustion of a fossil fuel results in the formation of carbon dioxide which is being removed from the flue gas by this post-combustion method. This method includes the use of a solvent that captures the Carbon-dioxide. A post-combustion method is preferable suited to retrofit applications.
  • Pre combustion method – in this method the primary fuel is reacted with air or oxygen and steam which is further converted to a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen known as syngas.
  • Oxy-fuel combustion method – in this method the primary fuel is being combusted into oxygen instead of Air which results in the production of a flue gas that contains mainly water vapour and a high concentration of carbon dioxide. After this process, the flue gas is being cooled to condense the water vapour that leaves an almost pure form of carbon dioxide in the form of steam.

Advantage of carbon capture technology.

The carbon capture technology prevents the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide in the air causes bad climatic change. These days carbon capture technology is a critical part of the world’s future low-carbon energy portfolio.

Disadvantages of carbon capture technology.

The carbon capture technology uses high energy. Most of this energy is used in the process of carbon dioxide scrubbing which involves the extraction of oil from the flue gas through a carbon cleaner. Indirect carbon emission may arise during this process which can cause CO2 leakage from underground reservoirs storages.

What is plastic waste management?

In 2016 urban local bodies clearly stipulated that thick plastic bags having less than 50 microns should be banned and not allowed to be recycled. This rule is known as plastic waste management. Plastic waste management is the process of recycling plastic into useful products. Plastics are formed by the composition of a network of molecular monomers which together form macromolecules. Now, these macromolecules are increasing due to concerns due to non-degradable and the creation of toxic gases on combustion. The informal sector plays an effective role in the management of plastics. The rate of plastic recycling in India is expected to be around 60% but 94% of plastics that are being used are of the thermoset category which can be recycled.

The urban local bodies should integrate these informal sector workers to increase their capacities through workshops and training. Waste segregation at source is a very important factor that can help improve material recovery as well as recycling rates.

Some main methods for plastic waste management.

  1. Landfill – Plastics have good physical and chemical stability which makes them difficult to disintegrate naturally. Therefore to simplify and for the efficient disposal of huge amounts of plastic waste, the landfill is often built with amount pits or natural pits to fill them.
  1. Incineration or thermal energy recycling – Incineration is a method that cannot only deal with plastic waste on a large scale but also can help you recover thermal energy and the resource utilization value of garbage. The main products of waste plastic in generation incineration are carbon dioxide and water but during the process polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon compounds, carbon monoxide, and various other harmful substances are also produced. In Japan and in Germany the heat energy from the inspiration of plastic waste is used to generate electricity.
  1. Mechanical pulverization or physical recycling of plastics –  Waste plastics can also be recycled after washing and mechanical pulverization because thermosetting waste plastics have excellent mechanical electrical insulation as well as chemical stability. Most of the thermoplastic waste plastics have the value of rescue that can be achieved by mechanical crushing and hot extrusion which is mixed with an adhesive commonly known as the refurbishment of plastic bottles and recycled rubber.
  1. Microbial decomposition – Plastic microbial degradation means the use of microorganisms such as bacteria molds and other algae that exist in nature to decompose the waste plastic products into substances that can be integrated into the natural environment.
  1. Thermal decomposition – Thermal decomposition method is designed to convert waste plastic into original monomers or other valuable low-molecular-weight chemical products. These resulting chemical products can be used as solid and gaseous fuels or as raw materials for various downstream industrial productions.
  1. Modification reuse – All these previous technologies such as cracking of waste plastics get to the point of recycling materials and energy. the performance based on secondary products in mechanical and other aspects is reduced in order to achieve the performance of the original plastic products

Sources:

1. https://solutions.borderstates.com/benefits-of-carbon-capture-and-storage/

2. https://www.konsyse.com/articles/pros-and-cons-of-carbon-capture-and-storage/

3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/346535868_Research_progress_for_plastic_waste_management_and_manufacture_of_value-added_products

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