Renewables are a better investment than carbon capture for tackling climate change

Who knew that shooting yourself in the foot was less harmful than shooting yourself in the head?

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Lancaster University: Solar panels and wind turbines coupled with energy storage offer a better hope for tackling climate change than trying to capture carbon from fossil fuel power stations, according to new research published by Nature Energy.

Carbon capture technologies – that is new, or as yet undeveloped, technologies that capture CO2 emissions from coal and gas-fired power stations – play a fundamental part within the models that serve as the basis of international agreements to tackle climate change, such as at the Paris Climate Change Agreement of 2015.

However, new research shows that resources that would be spent on developing and installing carbon capture technologies would be better invested in creating more solar panels and wind turbines and focusing on developing energy storage options to support these instead.

An international team of researchers from Lancaster University, Khalifa University, Clemson University, UiT The Arctic University and the University of Florence, have calculated the energy output after taking into account the energy needed to create and operate the system, for carbon capture technologies across a range of fossil fuel power stations – including coal and natural gas.

They compared these results with the energy return on energy invested for renewable energy systems, such as wind farms and solar panels, combined with various kinds of energy storage systems, such as batteries, hydrogen or pumped hydro-power and discovered that worst cases of renewables, with storage, compare to the best examples of carbon capture. MORE

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