More and more tests of Carbon Capture and Storage 2

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is one of the main solutions to decrease the greenhouse gases emissions of coal-fired plants.

However there is no commercial application yet, but several programs are on their way in North America, Europe or China.

The oil-producing countries from the OPEC also plan to work on this technology as it enable to keep on using fossil fuels. I will review here the main projects.

First and foremost, according to [Fr], three large scale programs are on their way in the United States and Canada and will capture several millions tons of carbon dioxide.

As the US Department of Energy states in one of its press release :

(…) U.S Deputy Secretary of Energy Clay Sell today announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded the first three large-scale carbon sequestration projects in the United States and the largest single set in the world to date.

The three projects – Plains Carbon Dioxide Reduction Partnership; Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership; and Southwest Regional Partnership for Carbon Sequestration – will conduct large volume tests for the storage of one million or more tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in deep saline reservoirs.

DOE plans to invest $197 million over ten years, subject to annual appropriations from Congress, for the projects, whose estimated value including partnership cost share is $318 million. These projects are the first of several sequestration demonstration projects planned through DOE’s Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships.

Meanwhile, Germany is also testing this very interesting solution. On September 19th, the federal launched various measures [Ge] which are due to increase the research on this solution in order to have commercial application by 2020.

A grand total of twelve CCS programs are to be built in the European Union and major energy companies like RWE or Vattenfall are investing large amounts of money on this kind of projects. See about this another article from Notre-Planè [Fr]

Moreover, the European Commission wants all coal-fired plants built after 2020 to use this solution. But to me, if we work seriously on energy efficiency, the European Union wouldn’t need new plants.

Third and last point regarding the development of CCS worldwide, the OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) members met last week and discussed among other topics about climate change mitigation.

The OPEC plans to work on this interesting solution as it enables to keep on consuming fossil fuels while preserving our environment.

As the Agence France Presse (AFP) notes :

OPEC leaders are set to make carbon capture and storage the centerpiece of their new-found green agenda by urging greater use of the emerging technique to curb carbon emissions, Algeria’s energy minister said Friday.

Chakib Khelil, reading from a draft declaration expected to be approved at the end of an OPEC summit, said point three would be “energy and environment: carbon storage could reduce the impact of fossil fuels on climate change and developed countries have the technology on this.”

But why all these impressive projects ?

CCS can be applied to coal-fired plants but also to wide array of polluting industries such as refineries or fertilizer producing plants and could thus help us in a large way in decreasing our carbon dioxide emissions.

In my previous article on the clean alternatives to coal, I did the following statement :

CCS could have an important role to play in the mitigation of global warming. However, the importance of this role depends entirely on how much we want to decrease our greenhouse gases emissions.

The further we would like to go, the more CCS will play an important role.

Indeed, according to the IPCC :

As illustrated in Figure 8.5, which is based upon the TAR mitigation scenarios, the average share of CCS in total emissions reductions may range from 15% for scenarios aiming at the stabilization of CO2 concentrations at 750 ppmv to 54% for 450 ppmv scenarios.

However, the full uncertainty range of the set of TAR mitigation scenarios includes extremes on both the high and low sides, ranging from scenarios with zero CCS contributions to scenarios with CCS shares of more than 90% in total emissions abatement.

Source : IPCC report on CCS.
page 354 and 355.

Of course, CCS has a cost, but doing nothing to mitigate climate change would have a larger cost than starting to mitigate now in global warming.

All these projects on this technology are good news, but energy efficiency has to be implemented on a large scale NOW as it will enable us to decrease FAST our greenhouse gases emissions.

Renewable energy sources are also an option that can be implemented quickly.

I will write further on the OPEC meeting on Friday, so for this and for many more articles, stay tuned !

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