3. CARBON CAPTURE
There’s too much carbon dioxide in the air, and it’s warming our planet. What if we could capture and sequester it?
That’s the premise of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), an emerging class of technologies that are primed to play an important role in the health of our planet in the decades ahead. According to the CCS Association, capture technologies allow the separation of carbon dioxide from gases produced in electricity generation and industrial processes by one of three methods: pre-combustion capture, post-combustion capture, and oxyfuel combustion. The carbon is transported by pipeline and stored in rock formations far below ground.
In 2017, the world’s first CO2 capture plant went live in Switzerland. Startups in the US and Canada have developed carbon capture plants of their own. At scale, the technology could help reverse one of the most alarming environmental trends of our time.
4. SMART GRIDS
The way our power infrastructure — collectively known as the grid — works now is a troubling holdover from the 19th and 20th centuries. Power production is still largely centralized and distributed downstream, eventually reaching end users. The problem is that these grids are highly sensitive to fluctuations in usage and output. To make them work reliably, they demand an overproduction of energy. They’re prone to attack, and they tend to rely on pollution-emitting energy sources.