CO2 Capture and Storage


Glossary over CO2 Capture and Storage


The mass of air surrounding the Earth.

The atmosphere consists of nitrogen (78%), oxygen (21%), and traces of other gases such as argon, helium, carbon dioxide, and ozone.

The atmosphere plays an important role in the protection of life on Earth; it absorbs ultraviolet solar radiation and reduces temperature extremes between day and night. (Source: GreenFacts)



Biofuels are non-fossil fuels. They are energy carriers that store the energy derived from organic materials (biomass), including plant materials and animal waste.

They may be solid, such as fuelwood, charcoal and wood pellets; liquid, such as ethanol, biodiesel and pyrolysis oils; or gaseous, such as biogas. (Source: GreenFacts)



The total quantity or mass of organic material produced by living organisms in a particular area, at a given time. (Source: GreenFacts)


Carbon dioxide (CO2)

A colorless, odorless, non-combustible gas, present in low concentrations in the air we breathe (about three hundredths of one percent by volume).

Carbon dioxide is produced when any substance containing carbon is burned. It is also a product of breathing and fermentation. Plants absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. (Source: The Pacific Forest Trust Glossary )


Carbon sequestration

The removal and storage of carbon from the atmosphere in carbon sinks (such as oceans, forests or soils) through physical or biological processes, such as photosynthesis.

Humans have tried to increase carbon sequestration by growing new forests. (Source: GreenFacts)


Climate change

The long-term fluctuations in temperature, precipitation, wind, and all other aspects of the Earth's climate.

It is also defined by the United Nations Convention on Climate Change as “change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods” (Source: CoRIS glossary  )

CO2 Enhanced oil recovery

Injection of CO2 into depleting oil reservoirs to recover additional oil beyond what would have been recovered by conventional drilling. (Source: GreenFacts, based on CSLF glossary   )



A material made up of two or more elements combined in a fixed ratio. (Source: CoRIS glossary  )



The complex system of plant, animal, fungal, and microorganism communities and their associated non-living environment interacting as an ecological unit.

Ecosystems have no fixed boundaries; instead their parameters are set to the scientific, management, or policy question being examined. Depending upon the purpose of analysis, a single lake, a watershed, or an entire region could be considered an ecosystem. (Source: US EPA Glossary of Climate Change Terms   )

Environmental cycles

A natural process in which elements are continuously cycled in various forms between different compartments of the environment (e.g., air, water, soil, organisms).

Examples include the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles (nutrient cycles) and the water cycle. (Source: GreenFacts)


Flue gas

The air coming out of a chimney after combustion in the burner it is venting. It can include nitrogen oxides, carbon oxides, water vapor, sulfur oxides, particles and many chemical pollutants. (Source: US Environmental Protection Agency Glossary   )

Fossil fuel(s)

A general term for buried combustible geologic deposits of organic materials, formed from decayed plants and animals that have been converted to crude oil, coal, natural gas, or heavy oils by exposure to heat and pressure in the Earth's crust over hundreds of millions of years. (Source: US EPA Glossary of Climate Change terms  )

Greenhouse gas

Greenhouse gases are those gaseous constituents of the atmosphere, both natural and anthropogenic, that absorb and emit radiation at specific wavelengths within the spectrum of infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, the atmosphere and clouds.

This property causes the greenhouse effect.

Water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), and ozone (O3) are the primary greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. Moreover there are a number of entirely human-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as the halocarbons and other chlorine and bromine containing substances, dealt with under the Montreal Protocol. Beside CO2, N2O and CH4, the Kyoto Protocol deals with the greenhouse gases sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs). (Source: IPCC Glossary  )


Water beneath the Earth's surface in the spaces between soil particles and between rock surfaces. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )


An ice-like compound formed by the reaction of water and carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) or similar gases. (Source: IPCC   Glossary )

Institute for the encouragement of Scientific Research and Innovation of Brussels

"ISRIB, which was instituted by the Brussels decree of 26 June 2003, began its activites on 1st July 2004.

The mission of the Institute is to promote, support and valorize scientific research and technological innovation in the Brussels-Capital Region.

This task consists principally in funding research projects undertaken within the companies, the universities and the higher education institutes located in the Region." (Source: ISRIB website )

Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC)

Power plant using gas produced from high-sulfur coal, heavy petroleum residues or biomass.

IGCC is an advanced power generation technology which allows to reduce emissions of NOx, SO2, and particulate matter and improve fuel efficiency of coal.

It is a combination of two technologies.

  • coal gasification, which uses coal to create a clean-burning gas (syngas).
  • combined-cycle, which is the most efficient method of producing electricity from gas commercially available today (a gas turbine generator generates electricity and the waste heat is used to make steam to generate additional electricity via a steam turbine).
(Source: GreenFacts)

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been established by WMO and UNEP to assess scientific, technical and socio- economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

IPCC publications are prepared by three Working Groups (WG I, II and III) composed of hundreds of scientists from many countries. The IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (4AR), published in 2007, is available at .

The "Summaries for Policymakers" by the three Working Groups, which were used as the source for the GreenFacts Digest on Climate Change (2007), can be found below:

The IPCC's previous report on climate change, the 2001 Third Assessment Report (TAR), was also summarised by GreenFacts (click here for the Digest).

In 2007, the IPCC shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change". (Source: IPCC website  )

Liquefied petroleum gas

A mixture of butane, propane and other light hydrocarbons derived from refining crude oil. This gas mixture can be cooled or subjected to moderate pressure to be transformed into a liquid state to facilitate storage and transportation. (Source: GreenFacts)

London Convention

In 1972, an Inter-Governmental Conference on the Convention of the Dumping of Wastes at Sea adopted the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, also called the London Convention.

This was the first major global initiative designed to protect the marine environment from unregulated dumping of waste. The Convention entered into force on 30 August 1975. Currently, 82 States are Parties to this Convention. (Source: International Marine Organization   )


Methane is a colorless, flammable, nontoxic gas with the chemical formula CH4.

This gas is formed naturally by the decomposition of organic matter. Wetlands, livestock and energy are the main sources of methane emissions to the atmosphere, where it acts as a greenhouse gas.

Methane is also a major component of natural gas. It is mainly extracted from geological deposits for fuel and industrial uses (Source: GreenFacts )

Mineral Carbonation

The reaction of carbon dioxide with magnesium and calcium containing silicate minerals to form geologically stable, environmentally benign carbonate minerals (calcite and magnesite), allowing for the storage of CO2 in a stable, inert and solid form. (Source: GreenFacts )

Natural gas combined cycle (NGCC)

NGCC is an advanced power generation technology which allows to improve the fuel efficiency of natural gas. Most new gas power plants in North America and Europe are of this type.

A gas turbine generator generates electricity and the waste heat is used to make steam to generate additional electricity via a steam turbine (Source: GreenFacts)

OSPAR Convention

The 1992 OSPAR Convention [originally the Oslo and Paris Conventions] is the current instrument guiding international cooperation on the protection of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic.

It combined and up-dated the 1972 Oslo Convention on dumping waste at sea and the 1974 Paris Convention on land-based sources of marine pollution. (Source: OSPAR convention   )


pH is a measure of the concentration of protons (H+) in a solution and, therefore, its acidity or alkalinity. The concept was introduced by S.P.L. Sørensen in 1909. The p stands for the German "Potenz", meaning power or concentration, and the H for the hydrogen ion (H+). In layman's terms , the "pH" value is an approximate number between 0 and 14 that indicates whether a solution is acidic (pH < 7), basic (pH > 7) or neither (pH = 7) [neutral]. (Source: GreenFacts )


Pulverized coal combustion

Refers to any combustion process that uses very finely ground (pulverized) coal in the process. The coal powder is blown into the combustion zone of a furnace and burns more rapidly and efficiently because finely ground coal has more surface area per unit weight than larger particles. (Source: GreenFacts )

Saline formations

A deep underground rock formation composed of permeable materials and containing highly saline fluids. (Source: IPCC  Glossary )


A plausible and often simplified description of how the future may develop, based on a coherent and internally consistent set of assumptions about key driving forces (e.g., rate of technology change, prices) and relationships.

Scenarios are neither predictions nor projections and sometimes may be based on a “narrative storyline.”

Scenarios may include projections but are often based on additional information from other sources. (Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  Glossary )



A group of organisms that differ from all other groups of organisms and that are capable of breeding and producing fertile offspring. This is the smallest unit of classification for plants and animals. (Source: OceanLink Glossary of Common Terms and Definitions in Marine Biology  )


Supercritical carbon dioxide

A supercritical fluid is a substance at a temperature and pressure above its critical temperature and pressure. The critical point represents the highest temperature and pressure at which the substance can exist as a vapour and liquid in equilibrium. It has the unique ability to diffuse through solids like a gas, and dissolve materials like a liquid. Additionally, it can readily change in density upon minor changes in temperature or pressure. These properties make it suitable as a substitute for organic solvents.

Carbon dioxide usually behaves as a gas in air or as a solid called dry ice when frozen. Above its critical temperature and pressure, it behaves like a supercritical fluid and can adopt properties midway between a gas and a liquid.

Supercritical carbon dioxide is for instance used by coffee manufacturers as a decaffeinating solvent, because of its low toxicity and environmental impact.. (Source: GreenFacts)

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

"Poverty reduction and sustainable development are the principal tasks of the SDC. To facilitate the achievement of these goals, the SDC focuses on various thematic priorities. In each thematic domain, a sub-goal is targeted while ever keeping in mind the fact that the priority themes are intimately linked to one another." (Source: SDC website )

United Nations Environment Programme

"The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), established in 1972, works to encourage sustainable development through sound environmental practices everywhere. Its activities cover (...) the promotion of environmental science and information, to an early warning and emergency response capacity to deal with environmental disasters and emergencies."

See also UNEP.Net , which "delivers authoritative environmental information from a broad range of information and data providers (...)". (Source: UNEP website )

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The Convention on Climate Change sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. It recognizes that the climate system is a shared resource whose stability can be affected by industrial and other emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The Convention enjoys near universal membership, with 191 countries having ratified.

Under the Convention, governments:

  • gather and share information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies and best practices
  • launch national strategies for addressing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to expected impacts, including the provision of financial and technological support to developing countries
  • cooperate in preparing for adaptation to the impacts of climate change

The Convention entered into force on 21 March 1994. (Source: UNFCCC  )



Organic compound of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen highly soluble in water.

In mammals, urea is also a waste product of digested protein normally filtered out by the kidneys and excreted from the body in urine.

The main commercial use of urea is as a fertilizer but it has many other industrial uses. For instance, it can serve as the raw material for the manufacture of other chemicals, and as an ingredient in cosmetics. (Source: GreenFacts)


Water vapor

Water in its gaseous form.

In the atmosphere it acts as a natural greenhouse gas. (Source: GreenFacts)



Symbol: W

Unit of power equivalent to 1 joule of energy per second (1 J/s). (Source: GreenFacts)


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