A technology that can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels has been in existence for several decades. It is called Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). The technology involves capturing carbon from the gases that are created during combustion of coal, oil and gas, and then remitting it back underground (see technology section). In this way, the carbon dioxide is put back in the same place where coal has long been tied up in fossil fuels. With CCS, fossil fuels can at best become carbon-neutral, and no longer make up a carbon source.
A variant of CCS is BECCS, Bio Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage. Rather than capturing carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, as is the case with traditional CCS technology, it is taken from biomass. The term biomass encompasses any type of vegetation such as trees, crops and other plants.
Through the photosynthesis, plants capture atmospheric carbon dioxide and tie it into their structures. In various industrial processes where the biomass is processed by humans, carbon dioxide is released back into the atmosphere. Examples of such processes are bio-fuelled power plants, pulp and paper industries, ethanol plants and biogas plants. With the help of BECCS technology, carbon dioxide emissions can be captured, and in the same way as with CCS, be stored thousands of meters below the ground surface.
By storing carbon dioxide from biomass, we can create what in scientific terms is called negative emissions, that is, the opposite of fossil emissions.