The need to adopt sustainable and carbon-free energy sources continues to rise with the continued rise in demand for energy along with atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide. The capture of solar/wind power, CO2 capture, and also the capture of CO2 waste so it not introduced in the atmosphere are two promising pathways for decarbonisation, but have their own significant disadvantages.
In fact, for practical purposes, solar and wind power is not continuous and cannot be deployed everywhere, with CO2 capture processes being highly energy intensive. Meanwhile, both the pathways have their benefits, but either of them do not present a viable strategy at the moment.
In a new development, for a possible solution to this, a research team has uncovered a method that allows to combine both the processes, and increase the efficiency of both.
Interestingly, major part of the research initiative involved synergy and synergistic effects in complex systems. Technically, synergy is the combined effect of cooperation between two or more organizations, materials or other agents that is more than the sum of their independent effects. To establish this, the research team examined the synergistic integration of flexible carbon capture and renewables with individual fossil power plants.
“This involved examining three things each of which have their pros and cons: fossil fuels are cheap, but they discharge a lot of CO2; the capture of CO2 is very beneficial for the environment, but is prohibitively expensive; renewable sources of energy such as solar power and wind are beneficial for the environment, but the energy produced is variable and intermittent,” added the researcher.