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Microsoft ramps up plans to seize carbon from burning wooden

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Microsoft is doubling down on a controversial plan to seize carbon dioxide emissions from wood-burning energy vegetation. It introduced a contract with power firm Stockholm Exergi to seize 3.33 million metric tons of carbon emissions from a biomass energy plant within the Swedish capital in what’s probably the most important deal of its variety to this point — equivalent to taking greater than 790,000 gas-powered vehicles off the highway for a yr.

It’s supposed to assist Microsoft meet its goal of capturing extra planet-heating carbon dioxide than it produces as an organization by 2030 after which eradicating as a lot CO2 from the environment because it has ever emitted since its founding by 2050.

However the jury remains to be out on whether or not wood-burning energy vegetation truly assist battle local weather change or make issues worse. Prominent environmental groups together with the Heart for Organic Range and Associates of the Earth Worldwide have criticized the technique as a “false resolution.” And again in 2018, almost 800 scientists signed a letter to the European Parliament asking it to cease supporting the usage of wooden for bioenergy.

Distinguished environmental teams have criticized the technique as a “false resolution”

Exergi runs a power plant in Stockholm that runs on wooden pellets and residue from forestry waste, also called forest biomass. Since that gas comes from bushes that may theoretically regrow to seize as a lot carbon dioxide as the facility plant releases by burning wooden, proponents see it as a carbon-neutral supply of power. The European Fee truly considers biomass burning its largest source of renewable energy, regardless that it’s been tied to deforestation throughout Europe and the US.

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Microsoft and Stockholm Exergi are taking that concept one step additional by including equipment to the facility plant that’s speculated to seize a majority of its carbon dioxide emissions earlier than it could possibly escape into the environment. By doing so, they consider they will obtain damaging emissions — taking extra CO2 out of the environment than this supply of power produces. Damaging emissions applied sciences like this have turn into common with firms attempting to offset the environmental affect of their carbon air pollution.

Microsoft declined to reply to The Verge’s request for remark. It additionally didn’t make clear how a lot it might spend on the cope with Stockholm Exergi. However Microsoft has heard these considerations earlier than. It signed one other deal last year with Danish power firm Ørsted to seize 2.76 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from a wood-burning energy plant in Denmark.

In Stockholm, building of the carbon seize tools on the energy plant isn’t slated to start out till subsequent yr — if Stockholm Exergi secures sufficient extra funding from different offers and authorities support. Then, it might take 10 years to attract down all 3.33 million metric tons of carbon dioxide agreed to within the contract.

Stockholm Exergi sees this deal as a giant stamp of approval for its carbon seize know-how. “It’s the strongest doable recognition of the importance, high quality and sustainability of our mission,” Stockholm Exergi CEO Anders Egelrud stated in a press release.

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