Path to Zero
Path to Zero
5.05 - A Turning Point for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) with Geologist Dr. Tip Meckel

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is currently the biggest hammer in the toolbox for reducing significant amounts of industrial emissions, according to our guest in this special episode of Path to Zero.

Dr. Timothy “Tip” Meckel is a senior research scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin. While on the road in Austin, Tucker had a chance to visit in-person with Dr. Meckel, who is one of the nation’s leading experts in CCS.

In his work with the bureau’s Gulf Coast Carbon Center, Dr. Meckel is leading several research projects to capture CO2 and store it deep underground in geologic formations to permanently isolate it from the atmosphere. He was recently appointed to a White House task force on carbon capture, utilization and storage.

Among the topics Tucker covers with Dr. Tip Meckel:

  • How carbon emissions from industrial sources are being redirected into capture facilities, processed and either reused or stored in the deep subsurface to achieve benefits to the atmosphere.
  • The carbon cycle and how carbon is stored beneath the earth’s surface for millions of years.
  • When we emit carbon, it can be in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. But it can also move into the biosphere, the ocean, plants, etc.
  • Dr. Meckel’s work with the Gulf Coast Carbon Center, which focuses on the industrial deployment of carbon capture and storage.
  • Why focusing on carbon capture along the Gulf Coast is important since Texas is, by far, the highest producer of industrial carbon emissions.
  • One of the next big stops for inexpensive, high-volume CO2 capture is in natural gas processing.
  • Why CCS has the potential to decarbonize some of the most challenging industries, such as cement and steel processing.
  • An overview of the carbon capture process, which Dr. Meckel describes as similar to coffee filtration where caffeine is stripped out of the coffee bean in a liquid form.
  • The importance of encouraging the developed world to incorporate CCS into their built infrastructure.
  • Dr. Meckel’s response to people who think that CCS is just a way to extend the rampant use of fossil fuels.