Stories by Luca Mastropasqua

Expert Voices

Carbon capture could be key to decarbonizing U.S. fossil fuels

A man works on a pipe beside a carbon injection site well near Reykjavik Energy's Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant  outside Reykjavik, Iceland.
A man works near a carbon injection site well near the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant, outside Reykjavik, Iceland. Photo: Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

Approximately 49 million tons of CO2 could be cut via carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) in the power sector — equivalent to removing 7 million cars from the roads — by 2030, according to a Clean Air Task Force (CATF) report published this week.

Why it matters: The oil and gas industry has experimented with CO2 removal technology since the 1930s to purify process streams from CO2. Now similar technology could be used to ease the transition from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy sources.

Expert Voices

Germany's hydrogen-powered train advancing low-carbon transport

The Coradia iLint train, a CO2-emission-free regional train developed by French transport giant Alstom, is on display
The Coradia iLint hydrogen-powered train on display at Innotrans, the railway industry's largest trade fair, in Berlin, on September 20, 2016. Photo: John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images

In September, Germany started operating the world's first hydrogen train, the Coradia iLint, which is powered by hydrogen fuel cells stored on top of its carriages. Like a conventional electric train, the Coradia iLint produces no direct air pollution, but it can operate without access to the electric grid.

Why it matters: Hydrogen-powered trains like the Coradia iLint could be built on un-electrified lines in areas where diesel engines are still used, which would greatly reduce harmful emissions typical of combustion technologies. If those trains use hydrogen fuel produced from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, they could become an almost entirely carbon-free mode of transport.

Expert Voices

Rising CO2 prices in EU to reduce emissions, add to market uncertainty

 A lignite-fired power station is pictured on August 15, 2018 in Schwarze Pumpe, Germany.
A lignite-fired power station is pictured on August 15, 2018, in Schwarze Pumpe, Germany. Photo: Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images

Over the past year, the European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) has acted on the market to reduce the number of available CO2 allowances in its cap-and-trade system. Initiated in 2005, it is the largest such system in the world designed for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, whereby businesses must purchase a permit at a set price in order to emit CO2.

What's new: The ETS' recent action, along with the increase in post-recession industrial productivity, has led to more than a 320% rise in CO2 allowance price, to around 22 euros per ton. This is good news insofar as CO2 emissions will likely decrease, but might jeopardize the competitiveness of businesses worldwide.