UAE to pump CO2 into rock as carbon capture debate rages

Fujairah, United Arab Emirates - High in remote mountains in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, a new plant will soon take atmospheric CO2 and pump it into rock -- part of controversial attempts to target planet-heating emissions without abandoning fossil fuels. Using novel technology developed by Omani start-up 44.01, the solar-powered plant will suck carbon dioxide from the air, dissolve it in seawater and inject it deep underground, where it will mineralise over a period of months. The new site on the Gulf of Oman is funded by state oil giant ADNOC, whose CEO Sultan Al Jaber is president of the UN’s COP28 climate talks and chairman of Masdar, a renewable energies company. The first CO2 injection is expected during COP28 which starts on Thursday in nearby Dubai, where the debate over hydrocarbons will be a key battle between campaigners and the oil lobby. “We believe this volume of rocks here in the UAE has the potential to store gigatons of CO2,” ADNOC’s chief technology officer Sophie Hildebrand told AFP during a tour of the facility this week. “ADNOC has committed $15 billion to decarbonisation projects,” she added, declining to say how much was spent on the Fujairah plant. The UAE is the world’s seventh-largest oil producer and plans to invest $150 billion by 2027 to expand its oil and gas production capacity. Oil producers are throwing their weight behind carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology as a global warming solution despite criticism from climate experts who caution it is insufficient to tackle the crisis. With little investment and few projects in operation around the world so far, the technology is currently nowhere near the scale needed to make a difference in global emissions.

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