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How Does Carbon Capture Work?

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The world has a carbon problem. To solve it will require moving away from burning carbon-emitting fuels and relying instead on cleaner energy sources like wind turbines and solar cells. But is there anything we can do about all the carbon dioxide that is already in the air, and the millions of tons being emitted every day?

For most of human history, carbon emissions were balanced out by nature, said Rebecca Benner, a deputy director of the Nature Conservancy, but now we are “producing CO2 much faster than nature can recapture it.”

Carbon capture is an umbrella term for technologies, some of them first proposed in the 1980s, that aim to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere or catch emissions and store them before they are released into the air.

Though carbon capture is not yet being done on a large scale, it is being pushed by companies and politicians as a key part of plans to guide the country to a carbon-neutral future. Encouraged by tax incentives included in the Inflation Reduction Act, some companies have proposed projects in the United…

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