Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How does carbon capture work?

Pre-combustion Capture

Really, a power plant just burns hydrogen. So, new carbon capture techniques seek to pull the carbon from fossil fuels like coal before power plants burn them, leaving behind the hydrogen needed for combustion, according to the University of Edinburgh. There are three steps: First methane or gasified coal is converted to hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Second, the carbon monoxide is reacted with water to make CO2 and more hydrogen. And finally, the CO2 is separated from the hydrogen and compressed into liquid, which (again) can be either used or stored, commonly by pumping the liquid CO2 into the dry underground chambers of used-up oil wells.

Which carbon capture method works best? Only time will tell.