Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Carbon Capture and Storage Or Sequestration

Here's an interesting thing that might come in handy. If you look at the Chinese expression for Chinese Capture and Storage you will often see it translated as "Carbon Capture and Storage" and also you will see it translated as "Carbon Capture and Sequestration". Now for quite a while I couldn't figure out why there seems to be a difference in the terms. Dictionary definitions of "storage and sequestration" are similiar.

Looking around at some websites such as the China Dialouge, I also found that they were seemingly translated randomly. Until I came across a nice rule.

Storage and Sequestration are basically the same thing. However by convention sequestration is increasingly being used for under land (as opposed to ocean) storage. So when takling about Norways big CSS projects (which take place out at sea) we should probably say "storage", but when talking about anything else we should probably say "sequestration".

However, there is another important consideration. When talking about land storage, both sequestration and storage are appropriate. The choice comes down to a more subtle distinction.

Sequestration basically means seperation. As in "the seperation of church and state", this means "the seperation of the captured carbon from the atmosphere". This is slightly different to storage which suggest you may wish to use it later for something. So when talking about EOR (enhanced oil recovery) where they use the carbon to increase the amount of oil they can mine, maybe they are not planning to use the carbon for anything, and sequestration might be better, but when they are talking about something like trapping the carbon and then using it later for industrial applications, maybe storage is better.

Another consideration is consistency. It would be strange to keep switching between storage and sequestration unless it is necessary. Although sequestration normally means on land, it can also be used for ocean storage just as well. Probably the best bet is to use "storage" unless you are certain that "sequestration" has a more appropriate meaning.

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