Carbon capture and storage

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
Schematic showing both terrestrial and geological sequestration of carbon dioxide emissions from a coal-fired plant.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an approach to mitigating the contribution of fossil fuel emissions to global warming, based on capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from large point sources such as fossil fuel power plants. It can also be used to describe the scrubbing of CO2 from ambient air as a geoengineering technique. The carbon dioxide can then be permanently stored away from the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide capture and storage can also be used to describe biological techniques such as biochar burial, which use trees, plankton, etc. to capture CO2 from the air. However, it is more conventional to use the term 'carbon capture and storage' to describe non-biological processes.

Although CO2 has been injected into geological formations for various purposes, the long term storage of CO2 is a relatively untried concept. The first integrated pilot-scale CCS power plant was to begin operating in September 2008 in the eastern German power plant Schwarze Pumpe in the hope of answering questions about technological feasibility and economic efficiency.

CCS applied to a modern conventional power plant could reduce CO2 emissions to the atmosphere by approximately 80-90% compared to a plant without CCS.[1] The IPCC estimates that the economic potential of CCS could be between 10% and 55% of the total carbon mitigation effort until year 2100 (Section 8.3.3 of IPCC report.[1])

Capturing and compressing CO2 requires much energy and would increase the fuel needs of a coal-fired plant with CCS by 25%-40%.[1] These and other system costs are estimated to increase the cost of energy from a new power plant with CCS by 21-91%.[1] These estimates apply to purpose-built plants near a storage location: applying the technology to preexisting plants or plants far from a storage location will be more expensive. However, recent industry reports suggest that with successful research, development and deployment (RD&D), sequestered coal-based electricity generation in 2025 will cost less than unsequestered coal-based electricity generation today.[2]

Storage of the CO2 is envisaged either in deep geological formations, in deep ocean masses, or in the form of mineral carbonates. In the case of deep ocean storage, there is a risk of greatly increasing the problem of ocean acidification, a problem that also stems from the excess of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere and oceans. Geological formations are currently considered the most promising sequestration sites. In its 2007 Carbon Sequestration Atlas, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) reported that North America has enough storage capacity at our current rate of production for more than 900 years worth of carbon dioxide.[3] A general problem is that long term predictions about submarine or underground storage security are very difficult and uncertain and CO2 might leak from the storage into the atmosphere, although for well selected and designed storage sites this is thought to be unlikely.[citation needed]


[edit] CO2 capture

Capturing CO2 can be applied to large point sources, such as large fossil fuel or biomass energy facilities, industries with major CO2 emissions, natural gas processing, synthetic fuel plants and fossil fuel-based hydrogen production plants. Air capture is also possible. But carbon dioxide contain oxygen, and so capturing and storing CO2 cause oxygen recession in Earth atmosphere.

Concentrated CO2 from the combustion of coal in oxygen is relatively pure, and can be directly processed. In other instances, especially with air capture, a scrubbing process is needed.

Broadly, three different types of technologies exist: post-combustion, pre-combustion, and oxyfuel combustion.

  • In post-combustion, the CO2 is removed after combustion of the fossil fuel - this is the scheme that would be applied to conventional power plants. Here, carbon dioxide is captured from flue gases at power stations or other large point sources. The technology is well understood and is currently used in other industrial applications, although not at the same scale as might be required in a commercial scale power station.
  • The technology for pre-combustion is widely applied in fertilizer, chemical, gaseous fuel (H2, CH4), and power production.[4] In these cases, the fossil fuel is partially oxidized, for instance in a gasifier. The resulting syngas (CO and H2) is shifted into CO2 and more H2. The resulting CO2 can be captured from a relatively pure exhaust stream. The H2 can now be used as fuel; the carbon dioxide is removed before combustion takes place.

There are several advantages and disadvantages when compared to conventional post combustion carbon dioxide capture.[5]

  • In oxy-fuel combustion[6] the fuel is burned in oxygen instead of air. To limit the resulting flame temperatures to levels common during conventional combustion, cooled flue gas is recirculated and injected into the combustion chamber. The flue gas consists of mainly carbon dioxide and water vapour, the latter of which is condensed through cooling. The result is an almost pure carbon dioxide stream that can be transported to the sequestration site and stored. Power plant processes based on oxyfuel combustion are sometimes referred to as "zero emission" cycles, because the CO2 stored is not a fraction removed from the flue gas stream (as in the cases of pre- and post-combustion capture) but the flue gas stream itself. It should be noted, however, that a certain fraction of the CO2 generated during combustion will inevitably end up in the condensed water. To warrant the label "zero emission" the water would thus have to be treated or disposed of appropriately. The technique is promising, but the initial air separation step demands a lot of energy.
  • Plants that produce ethanol by fermentation generate cool, essentially pure CO2 that can be pumped underground.[7] Fermentation produces slightly less CO2 than ethanol by weight. World ethanol production in 2008 is expected to be about 16 billion gallons or 48 million tonnes.[8]

An alternate method, which is under development, is chemical looping combustion (CLC). Chemical looping uses a metal oxide as a solid oxygen carrier. Metal oxide particles react with a solid, liquid or gaseous fuel in a fluidized bed combustor, producing solid metal particles and a mixture of carbon dioxide and water vapor. The water vapor is condensed, leaving pure carbon dioxide which can be sequestered. The solid metal particles are circulated to another fluidized bed where they react with air, producing heat and regenerating metal oxide particles that are recirculated to the fluidized bed combustor.

A few engineering proposals have been made for the more difficult task of capturing CO2 directly from the air, but work in this area is still in its infancy. Global Research Technologies demonstrated a pre-prototype in 2007.[7] Capture costs are estimated to be higher than from point sources, but may be feasible for dealing with emissions from diffuse sources like automobiles and aircraft.[8] The theoretically required energy for air capture is only slightly more than for capture from point sources. The additional costs come from the devices that uses the natural air flow.

Removing CO2 from the atmosphere is a form of geoengineering by greenhouse gas remediation. Techniques of this type have received widespread media coverage as they offer the promise of a comprehensive solution to global warming if they can be coupled with effective carbon sequestration technologies.

It is more usual to see such techniques proposed for air capture, than for flue gas treatment. Carbon dioxide capture and storage is more commonly proposed on plants burning coal in oxygen extracted from the air, which means the CO2 is highly concentrated and no scrubbing process is necessary.

According to the Wallula Energy Resource Center in Washington state, by gasifying the coal, it is possible to capture approximately 65% of carbon dioxide embedded in coal and sequester them into the solid form.

[edit] CO2 transport

After capture, the CO2 must be transported to suitable storage sites. This is done by pipeline, which is generally the cheapest form of transport. In 2008, there were approximately 5,800 km of CO2 pipelines in the United States. These pipelines are currently used to transport CO2 to oil production fields where the CO2 is injected in older fields to produce oil. The injection of CO2 to produce oil is generally called "Enhanced Oil Recovery" or EOR. In addition, there are several pilot programs in various stages to test the long-term storage of CO2 in non-oil producing geologic formations. These are discussed below.

COA conveyor belt system or ships can also be used. These methods are currently used for transporting CO2 for other applications.

According to the Congressional Research Service, "There are important unanswered questions about pipeline network requirements, economic regulation, utility cost recovery, regulatory classification of CO2 itself, and pipeline safety. Furthermore, because CO2 pipelines for enhanced oil recovery are already in use today, policy decisions affecting CO2 pipelines take on an urgency that is unrecognized by many. Federal classification of CO2 as both a commodity (by the Bureau of Land Management) and as a pollutant (by the Environmental Protection Agency) could potentially create an immediate conflict which may need to be addressed not only for the sake of future CCS implementation, but also to ensure consistency of future CCS with CO2 pipeline operations today.[9][10]

[edit] CO2 storage (sequestration)

Various forms have been conceived for permanent storage of CO2. These forms include gaseous storage in various deep geological formations (including saline formations and exhausted gas fields), liquid storage in the ocean, and solid storage by reaction of CO2 with metal oxides to produce stable carbonates.

[edit] Geological storage

Also known as geo-sequestration, this method involves injecting carbon dioxide, generally in supercritical form, directly into underground geological formations. Oil fields, gas fields, saline formations, unminable coal seams, and saline-filled basalt formations have been suggested as storage sites. Various physical (e.g., highly impermeable caprock) and geochemical trapping mechanisms would prevent the CO2 from escaping to the surface.

CO2 is sometimes injected into declining oil fields to increase oil recovery. Approximately 30 to 50 million metric tonnes of CO2 are injected annually in the United States into declining oil fields.[11]. This option is attractive because the geology of hydrocarbon reservoirs are generally well understood and storage costs may be partly offset by the sale of additional oil that is recovered. Disadvantages of old oil fields are their geographic distribution and their limited capacity, as well as that the subsequent burning of the additional oil so recovered will offset much or all of the reduction in CO2 emissions.

Unminable coal seams can be used to store CO2 because CO2 adsorbs to the surface of coal. However, the technical feasibility depends on the permeability of the coal bed. In the process of absorption the coal releases previously absorbed methane, and the methane can be recovered (enhanced coal bed methane recovery). The sale of the methane can be used to offset a portion of the cost of the CO2 storage. However, burning the resultant methane would produce CO2, which would negate some of the benefit of sequestering the original CO2.

Saline formations contain highly mineralized brines, and have so far been considered of no benefit to humans. Saline aquifers have been used for storage of chemical waste in a few cases. The main advantage of saline aquifers is their large potential storage volume and their common occurrence. The major disadvantage of saline aquifers is that relatively little is known about them, compared to oil fields. To keep the cost of storage acceptable the geophysical exploration may be limited, resulting in larger uncertainty about the aquifer structure. Unlike storage in oil fields or coal beds no side product will offset the storage cost. Leakage of CO2 back into the atmosphere may be a problem in saline aquifer storage. However, current research shows that several trapping mechanisms immobilize the CO2 underground, reducing the risk of leakage.

For well-selected, designed and managed geological storage sites, the IPCC estimates that CO2 could be trapped for millions of years, and the sites are likely to retain over 99% of the injected CO2 over 1,000 years.

In 2009 it was reported that scientists had mapped 6,000 square miles of rock formations in the U.S. that could be used to store 500 years worth of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. [12]

[edit] Ocean storage

Another proposed form of carbon storage is in the oceans. Several concepts have been proposed:

  • 'dissolution' injects CO2 by ship or pipeline into the water column at depths of 1000 m or more, and the CO2 subsequently dissolves.
  • 'lake' deposits CO2 directly onto the sea floor at depths greater than 3000 m, where CO2 is denser than water and is expected to form a 'lake' that would delay dissolution of CO2 into the environment.
  • convert the CO2 to bicarbonates (using limestone)
  • Store the CO2 in solid clathrate hydrates already existing on the ocean floor[13][14], or growing more solid clathrate[15].

The environmental effects of oceanic storage are generally negative, but poorly understood. Large concentrations of CO2 kills ocean organisms, but another problem is that dissolved CO2 would eventually equilibrate with the atmosphere, so the storage would not be permanent. Also, as part of the CO2 reacts with the water to form carbonic acid, H2CO3, the acidity of the ocean water increases. The resulting environmental effects on benthic life forms of the bathypelagic, abyssopelagic and hadopelagic zones are poorly understood. Even though life appears to be rather sparse in the deep ocean basins, energy and chemical effects in these deep basins could have far reaching implications. Much more work is needed here to define the extent of the potential problems.

The time it takes water in the deeper oceans to circulate to the surface has been estimated to be in the order of 1600 years, varying upon currents and other changing conditions. Costs for deep ocean disposal of liquid CO2 are estimated at US$40−80/ton[vague]. (2002 USD) This figure covers the cost of sequestration at the powerplant and naval transport to the disposal site. [2]

The bicarbonate approach would reduce the pH effects and enhance the retention of CO2 in the ocean, but this would also increase the costs and other environmental effects.

An additional method of long term ocean based sequestration is to gather crop residue such as corn stalks or excess hay into large weighted bales of biomass and deposit it in the alluvial fan areas of the deep ocean basin. Dropping these residues in alluvial fans would cause the residues to be quickly buried in silt on the sea floor, sequestering the biomass for very long time spans. Alluvial fans exist in all of the world's oceans and seas where river deltas fall off the edge of the continental shelf such as the Mississippi alluvial fan in the gulf of Mexico and the Nile alluvial fan in the Mediterranean Sea.

[edit] Mineral storage

"Carbon sequestration by reacting naturally occurring Mg and Ca containing minerals with CO2 to form carbonates has many unique advantages. Most notabl[e] is the fact that carbonates have a lower energy state than CO2, which is why mineral carbonation is thermodynamically favorable and occurs naturally (e.g., the weathering of rock over geologic time periods). Secondly, the raw materials such as magnesium based minerals are abundant. Finally, the produced carbonates are unarguably stable and thus re-release of CO2 into the atmosphere is not an issue. However, conventional carbonation pathways are slow under ambient temperatures and pressures. The significant challenge being addressed by this effort is to identify an industrially and environmentally viable carbonation route that will allow mineral sequestration to be implemented with acceptable economics."[16]

In this process, CO2 is exothermically reacted with abundantly available metal oxides which produces stable carbonates. This process occurs naturally over many years and is responsible for much of the surface limestone. The reaction rate can be made faster, for example by reacting at higher temperatures and/or pressures, or by pre-treatment of the minerals, although this method can require additional energy. The IPCC estimates that a power plant equipped with CCS using mineral storage will need 60-180% more energy than a power plant without CCS. (ch.7, p.321, p.330)[1]

The following table lists principal metal oxides of Earth's Crust. Theoretically up to 22% of this mineral mass is able to form carbonates.

Earthen Oxide Percent of Crust Carbonate Enthalpy change
SiO2 59.71
Al2O3 15.41
CaO 4.90 CaCO3 -179
MgO 4.36 MgCO3 -117
Na2O 3.55 Na2CO3
FeO 3.52 FeCO3
K2O 2.80 K2CO3
Fe2O3 2.63 FeCO3
21.76 All Carbonates

[edit] Leakage

A major concern with CCS is whether leakage of stored CO2 will compromise CCS as a climate change mitigation option. For well-selected, designed and managed geological storage sites, IPCC estimates that risks are comparable to those associated with current hydrocarbon activity. CO2 could be trapped for millions of years, and well selected stores are likely to retain over 99% of the injected CO2 over 1000 years. For ocean storage, the retention of CO2 would depend on the depth; IPCC estimates 30–85% would be retained after 500 years for depths 1000–3000 m. Mineral storage is not regarded as having any risks of leakage. The IPCC recommends that limits be set to the amount of leakage that can take place. This might rule out deep ocean storage as an option.

It should also be noted that at the conditions of the deeper oceans, (about 400 bar or 40 MPa, 280 K) water–CO2(l) mixing is very low (where carbonate formation/acidification is the rate limiting step), but the formation of water-CO2 hydrates is favorable. (a kind of solid water cage that surrounds the CO2). [3]

To further investigate the safety of CO2 sequestration, we can look into Norway's Sleipner gas field, as it is the oldest plant that stores CO2 on an industrial scale. According to an environmental assessment of the gas field which was conducted after ten years of operation, the author affirmed that geosequestration of CO2 was the most definite form of permanent geological storage of CO2. [4]

"Available geological information shows absence of major tectonic events after the deposition of the Utsira formation [saline reservoir]. This implies that the geological environment is tectonically stable and a site suitable for carbon dioxide storage. The solubility trapping [is] the most permanent and secure form of geological storage." [4]

Phase I of the Weyburn Project in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada has determined that the likelihood of stored CO2 release is less than one percent in 5,000 years.[17]

[edit] CO2 Re-use

Making Jet fuel by scrubbing CO2 from the air will allow aviation to continue in a low carbon economy

A potentially useful way of dealing with industrial sources of CO2 is to convert it into hydrocarbons where it can be stored or reused as fuel or to make plastics. There are a number of projects investigating this possibility[18]. Currently, biofuels represent the other potentially carbon-neutral jet fuel available.

Carbon dioxide scrubbing variants exist based on potassium carbonate[19] which can be used to create liquid fuels. Although the creation of fuel from atmospheric CO2 is not a geoengineering technique, nor does it actually function as greenhouse gas remediation, it nevertheless is potentially very useful in the creation of a low carbon economy, as transport fuels, especially aviation fuel, are currently hard to make other than by using fossil fuels. Whilst electric car technology is widely available, and can be used with renewable energy for carbon neutral driving, there are no electric jet airliners available, nor are there likely to be in the foreseeable future.[citation needed]

[edit] Single Step methods: CO2 + H2 → Methanol

A proven process to produce a hydrocarbon is to make methanol. Methanol is rather easily synthesised from CO2 and H2 (See Green Methanol Synthesis). Based on this fact the idea of a methanol economy was born.

[edit] Single Step methods: CO2 → Hydrocarbons

At the department of Industrial Chemistry and Engineering of Materials at the University of Messina, Italy there is a project to develop a system which works like a fuel-cell in reverse, whereby a catalyst is used that enables sunlight to split water into hydrogen ions and oxygen gas. The ions cross a membrane where they react with the CO2 to create hydrocarbons.[citation needed]

[edit] 2 Step methods: CO2 → CO → Hydrocarbons

If CO2 is heated to 2400°C, it splits into carbon monoxide and oxygen. The Fischer-Tropsch process can then be used to convert the CO into hydrocarbons. The required temperature can be achieved by using a chamber containing a mirror to focus sunlight on the gas. There are a couple of rival teams developing such chambers, at Solarec and at Sandia National Laboratory, both based in New Mexico. According to Sandia these chambers could provide enough fuel to power 100% of domestic vehicles using 5800 km², but unlike biofuels this would not take fertile land away from crops but would be land that is not being used for anything else. James May, the British TV presenter, visited a demonstration plant in a recent programme in his 'Big Ideas' series.

[edit] Example CCS projects

As of 2007, four industrial-scale storage projects are in operation. Sleipner [9] is the oldest project (1996) and is located in the North Sea where Norway's StatoilHydro strips carbon dioxide from natural gas with amine solvents and disposes of this carbon dioxide in a deep saline aquifer. The carbon dioxide is a waste product of the field's natural gas production and the gas contains more (9% CO2) than is allowed into the natural gas distribution network. Storing it underground avoids this problem and saves Statoil hundreds of millions of euro in avoided carbon taxes. Since 1996, Sleipner has stored about one million tonnes CO2 a year. A second project in the Snøhvit gas field in the Barents Sea stores 700,000 tonnes per year. [20]

The Weyburn-Midale CO2 Project is currently the world's largest carbon capture and storage project.[20] Started in 2000, Weyburn is located on an oil reservoir discovered in 1954 in Weyburn, southeastern Saskatchewan, Canada. The CO2 for this project is captured at the Great Plains Coal Gasification plant in Beulah, North Dakota which has produced methane from coal for more than 30 years. At Weyburn, the CO2 will also be used for enhanced oil recovery with an injection rate of about 1.5 million tonnes per year. The first phase finished in 2004, and demonstrated that CO2 can be stored underground at the site safely and indefinitely. The second phase, expected to last until 2009, is investigating how the technology can be expanded on a larger scale.[21]

The fourth site is In Salah, which like Sleipner and Snøhvit is a natural gas reservoir located in In Salah, Algeria. The CO2 will be separated from the natural gas and re-injected into the subsurface at a rate of about 1.2 million tonnes per year.

In July 2008, the Government of Alberta announced a $2 billion investment in three to five large-scale carbon capture and storage projects [10]. Full Project Proposals for the projects are due March 31, 2009 and selected projects announced by June 30, 2009.

A major Canadian initiative called the Alberta Saline Aquifer Project (ASAP) [11] is a consortium of 34 compaies that are developing a pilot site for commercial scale carbon capture and storage in a saline aquifer. The initial pilot will sequester 1,000 tonnes per day in 2010, while the commercial phase could see 10,000 tonnes per day as soon as 2015.

Another Canadian initiative called the Integrated CO2 Network (ICO2N) is a proposed system for the capture, transport and storage of carbon dioxide (CO2). ICO2N members represent a group of industry participants providing a framework for carbon capture and storage development in Canada.

Based in Wallula, Washington, Wallula Energy Resource Center is proposing a coal plant that incorporates the use of technology and carbon sequestration in order to create electricity in a clean and environmentally friendly manner. The Wallula Energy Resource Center plans to use Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) to gasify the coal therefore capturing 65% of the coals CO2 and sequestering the CO2 into basalt formations underground. This proposed plant would be able to generate approximately 914 megawatts of electricity, an amount equal to half of Seattle's total power requirements. IGCC, coupled with sequestration, will enable WERC to fully comply with the CO2 emission performance standards recently adopted by Washington State. [22]

In October 2007, the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin received a 10-year, $38 million subcontract to conduct the first intensively monitored, long-term project in the United States studying the feasibility of injecting a large volume of CO2 for underground storage[23]. The project is a research program of the Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SECARB), funded by the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The SECARB partnership will demonstrate CO2 injection rate and storage capacity in the Tuscaloosa-Woodbine geologic system that stretches from Texas to Florida. The region has the potential to store more than 200 billion tons[vague] of CO2 from major point sources in the region, equal to about 33 years of U.S. emissions overall at present rates. Beginning in fall 2007, the project will inject CO2 at the rate of one million tons[vague] per year, for up to 1.5 years, into brine up to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) below the land surface near the Cranfield oil field about 15 miles (25 km) east of Natchez, Mississippi. Experimental equipment will measure the ability of the subsurface to accept and retain CO2.

Currently, the United States government has approved the construction of what is touted as the world's first CCS power plant, FutureGen. On January 29, 2008, however, the Department of Energy announced it was recasting the FutureGen project and on June 24 2008, DoE published a funding opportunity announcement seeking proposals for an IGCC project, with integrated CCS, of at least 250MW. [24].

Examples of carbon sequestration at an existing US coal plant can be found at utility company Luminant's pilot version at its Big Brown Steam Electric Station in Fairfield, Texas. This system is converting carbon from smokestacks into baking soda. Skyonic plans to circumvent storage problems of liquid CO2 by storing baking soda in mines, landfills, or simply to be sold as industrial or food grade baking soda. GreenFuel Technologies Corp. is piloting and implementing algae based carbon capture, circumventing storage issues by then converting algae into fuel or feed.

In November 2008, the DOE awarded a $66.9 million, eight-year grant to a research partnership headed by Montana State University to demonstrate that underground geologic formations “can store huge volumes of carbon dioxide economically, safely and permanently.” Researchers under the Big Sky Regional Carbon Sequestration Project plan to inject up to one million tons of CO2 into sandstone beneath southwestern Wyoming.[25]

In the Netherlands, a 68 MW oxyfuel plant ("Zero Emission Power Plant") was being planned to be operational in 2009[26]. However, this project was later cancelled.

In the United States, four different synthetic fuels projects are moving forward which have publicly announced plans to incorporate carbon capture and storage.

American Clean Coal Fuels, in their Illinois Clean Fuels project, is developing a 30,000 Barrel Per Day Biomass and Coal to Liquids project in Oakland Illinois, which will market the CO2 created at the plant for Enhanced Oil Recovery applications. The project is expected to come online in late 2012.

Baard Energy, in their Ohio River Clean Fuels project, are developing a 53,000 BPD Coal and Biomass to Liquids project, which has announced plans to market the plant’s CO2 for Enhanced Oil Recovery.

Rentech is developing a 29,600 barrel per day coal and biomass to liquids plant in Natchez Mississippi which will market the plant’s CO2 for enhanced oil recovery. The first phase of the project is expected in 2011.

DKRW is developing a 15,000-20,000 Barrel Per Day coal to liquids plant in Medicine Bow Wyoming, which will market it plant’s CO2 for enhanced oil recovery. The project is expected to begin operation in 2013.

In addition to individual carbon capture and sequestration projects, there are a number of U.S. programs designed to research, develop and deploy CCS technologies on a broad scale. These include the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL) Carbon Sequestration Program, regional carbon sequestration partnerships and the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF). [27]

The United Kingdom Government has launched a tender process for a CCS demonstration project. The project will use post-combustion technology on coal fired power generation at 300-400mw or equivalent. The project aims to be operational by 2014 [28] [29]. The Government announced in June 2008 that four companies had prequalified for the following stages of the competition, BP Alternative Energy International Limited, EON UK Plc, Peel Power Limited and Scottish Power Generation Limited [30]. BP have subsequently withdrawn from the competition claiming it could not find a power generator partner and RWE npower is seeking a judicial review of the process after it did not qualify [31].

Doosan Babcock will modify a Test Rig at Renfrew in Scotland to accommodate Oxyfuel firing on pulverised coal with recycled flue gas and demonstrate the operation of a full scale 40 MW burner for use in coal-fired boilers. Sponsors of the project include the UK Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) and a group of industrial sponsors and university partners comprising Scottish and Southern Energy (Prime Sponsor), E.ON UK PLC, Drax Power Limited, ScottishPower, EDF Energy, Dong Energy Generation, Air Products Plc (Sponsors), and Imperial College and University of Nottingham (University Partners). [32]

[edit] Germany

The German industrial area of Schwarze Pumpe, about 4 km south of the city of Spremberg, is home to the world's first CCS coal plant. The mini pilot plant is run by an Alstom-built oxy-fuel boiler and is also equipped with a flue gas cleaning facility to remove fly ash and sulphur dioxide. The Swedish company Vattenfall AB invested some 70 million Euros in the two year project which began operation September 9, 2008. The power plant, which is rated at 30-megawatts, is a pilot project to serve as a prototype for future full-scale power plants.[33][34] 240 tonnes a day of CO2 are being trucked 350 kilometres (210 miles) where it will be injected into an empty gas field. Germany's BUND group called it a "fig leaf". For each tonne of coal burned, 3.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide is produced.[35]

[edit] Australia

The federal Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson has opened the first geosequestration project in the southern hemisphere. The demonstration plant is near Nirranda South in South Western Victoria. (35°19′S 149°08′E / 35.31°S 149.14°E / -35.31; 149.14) The plant is owned by the CO2 Cooperative Research Centre. It is funded jointly by government and industry. It aims to store 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide extracted from a gas well. Carbon dioxide-rich gas is extracted from a reservoir via a well, compressed and piped 2.25 km to a new well. There the gas is injected into a depleted natural gas reservoir approximately two kilometres below the surface. [36] [37] This project is tiny by world standards as BP's Algerian plant is storing 1,000,000 tonnes each year.[citation needed] .

This plant does not propose to capture CO2 from coal fired power generation. There is no project anywhere in the world storing CO2 stripped from the products of combustion of coal burnt for electricity generation at coal fired power stations although work currently being carried out by the New South Wales government and private industry intends to have a working pilot plant in operation by 2013.

[edit] Limitations of CCS for power stations

Limitations of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) for Power Stations[38]
Limitation Details
Energy penalty. The technology is expected to use between 10 and 40% of the energy produced by a power station. Wide scale adoption of CCS may erase efficiency gains of the last 50 years, and increase resource consumption by one third. However even taking the fuel penalty into account overall levels of CO2 abatement remain high, at approximately 80-90% compared to a plant without CCS[39]. It is theoretically possible for CCS, when combined with combustion of biomass,to result in net negative emissions, but this is not currently feasible given the lack of development of CCS technologies and the limitations of biomass production [40].
Permanence It is claimed that safe and permanent storage of CO2 cannot be guaranteed and that even very low leakage rates could undermine any climate mitigation effect. However, the IPCC conclude that the proportion of CO2 retained in appropriately selected and managed geological reservoirs is very likely to exceed 99% over 100 years and is likely to exceed 99% over 1,000 years [1].
Cost. Greenpeace claim that CCS could lead to a doubling of plant costs. However CCS may still be economically attractive in comparison to other forms of low carbon electricity generation [41].

It is also claimed by opponents to CCS that money spent on CCS will divert investments away from other solutions to climate change.

[edit] Cost of CCS

Although the processes involved in CCS have been demonstrated in other industrial applications, no commercial scale projects which integrate these processes exist, the costs therefore remain highly uncertain. The increased energy requirements of capturing and compressing CO2 significantly raises the operating costs of CCS-equipped power plants. In addition there are added investment or capital costs. The process would increase the fuel requirement of a plant with CCS by about 25% for a coal-fired plant and about 15% for a gas-fired plant[1]. The cost of this extra fuel, as well as storage and other system costs are estimated to increase the costs of energy from a power plant with CCS by 30-60%, depending on the specific circumstances. Pre-commercial CCS demonstration projects are likely to be more expensive than mature CCS technology, the total additional costs of an early large scale CCS demonstration project are estimated to be €0.5-1.1bn per project over the project lifetime[42].

Costs of energy with and without CCS (2002 US$ per kWh)

Natural gas combined cycle Pulverized coal Integrated gasification combined cycle
Without capture (reference plant) 0.03 - 0.05 0.04 - 0.05 0.04 - 0.06
With capture and geological storage 0.04 - 0.08 0.06 - 0.10 0.06 - 0.09
(Cost of capture and geological storage) 0.01 - 0.03 0.02 - 0.05 0.02 - 0.03
With capture and Enhanced oil recovery 0.04 - 0.07 0.05 - 0.08 0.04 - 0.08
All costs refer to costs for energy from newly built, large-scale plants. Natural gas combined cycle costs are based on natural gas prices of US$2.80–4.40 per GJ (LHV based). Energy costs for PC and IGCC are based on bituminous coal costs of US$1.00–1.50 per GJ (LHV. Note that the costs are very dependent on fuel prices (which change continuously), in addition to other factors such as capital costs. Also note that for EOR, the savings are greater for higher oil prices. Current gas and oil prices are substantially higher than the figures used here. All figures in the table are from Table 8.3a in [IPCC, 2005][1].

The cost of CCS depends on the cost of capture and storage which vary according to the method used. Geological storage in saline formations or depleted oil or gas fields typically cost US$0.50–8.00 per tonne of CO2 injected, plus an additional US$0.10–0.30 for monitoring costs. However, when storage is combined with enhanced oil recovery to extract extra oil from an oil field, the storage could yield net benefits of US$10–16 per tonne of CO2 injected (based on 2003 oil prices). This would likely negate some of the effect of the carbon capture when the oil was burnt as fuel. However, as the table above shows, the benefits do not outweigh the extra costs of capture.

Comparisons of CCS with other energy sources can be found in wind energy, solar energy, and Economics of new nuclear power plants.

[edit] Environmental effects

The theoretical merit of CCS systems is the reduction of CO2 emissions by up to 90%, depending on plant type. Generally, environmental effects from use of CCS arise during power production, CO2 capture, transport and storage. Issues relating to storage are discussed in those sections.

Additional energy is required for CO2 capture, and this means that substantially more fuel has to be used, depending on the plant type. For new supercritical pulverized coal (PC) plants using current technology, the extra energy requirements range from 24-40%, while for natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) plants the range is 11-22% and for coal-based gasification combined cycle (IGCC) systems it is 14-25% [IPCC, 2005]. Obviously, fuel use and environmental problems arising from mining and extraction of coal or gas increase accordingly. Plants equipped with flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems for SO2 control require proportionally greater amounts of limestone and systems equipped with SCR systems for NOX require proportionally greater amounts of ammonia.

IPCC has provided estimates of air emissions from various CCS plant designs (see table below). While CO2 is drastically reduced (though never completely captured), emissions of air pollutants increase significantly, generally due to the energy penalty of capture. Hence, the use of CCS entails a reduction in air quality.

Emissions to air from plants with CCS (kg/(MW·h))

Natural gas combined cycle Pulverized coal Integrated gasification combined cycle
CO2 43 (-89%) 107 (−87%) 97 (−88%)
NOX 0.11 (+22%) 0.77 (+31%) 0.1 (+11%)
SOX - 0.001 (−99.7%) 0.33 (+17.9%)
Ammonia 0.002 (before: 0) 0.23 (+2200%) -
Based on Table 3.5 in [IPCC, 2005]. Between brackets the increase or decrease compared to a similar plant without CCS.

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h [IPCC, 2005] IPCC special report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage. Prepared by working group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Metz, B., O.Davidson, H. C. de Coninck, M. Loos, and L.A. Meyer (eds.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 442 pp. Available in full at (PDF - 22.8MB)
  2. ^ Coal Utilization Research Council (CURC) Technology Roadmap, 2005
  3. ^ [1] "NETL 2007 Carbon Sequestration Atlas", 2007
  4. ^ Gasification Body
  5. ^ integrated gasification combined cycle for carbon capture storage Claverton Energy Group conference 24th October Bath.
  6. ^ Winner: Restoring Coal's Sheen, William Sweet, IEEE Spectrum, January 2008. Available in full at [2]
  7. ^ First Successful Demonstration of Carbon Dioxide Air Capture Technology Achieved by Columbia University Scientist and Private Company
  8. ^
  9. ^ Paul W. Parfomak and Peter Folger, “CRS Report for Congress: Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Pipelines for Carbon Sequestration: Emerging Policy Issues,” Updated January 17, 2008 (Order Code RL33971) (
  10. ^ Vann, Adam; Paul W. Parfomak (April 15, 2008). "Regulation of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Sequestration Pipelines: Jurisdictional Issues".  – review of federal jurisdictional issues related to CO2 pipelines and reviewing agency jurisdictional determinations under the Interstate Commerce Act and the Natural Gas Act
  11. ^ IPCC "Special Report on Carbon Capture and Storage, pp. 181 and 203 (Chapter 5, "Underground Geological Storage")
  12. ^ Rocks Found That Could Store Greenhouse Gas, Live Science, March 9, 2009
  13. ^ "Warning signs on the ocean floor: China and India Exploit Icy Energy Reserves: Part 2: Can a Potential Curse Be Transformed into a Blessing?"
  14. ^ "The great submarine burp"
  15. ^ "Deep-Sea Disposal Of Fossil-Fuel CO2: First Ocean Observations"
  16. ^ Goldberg, Chen, O’Connor, Walters, Ziock. (1998). "CO2 Mineral Sequestration Studies in US", National Energy Technology Laboratory. Retrieved June 7th, 2007 from:
  17. ^ Allan Casey, Carbon Cemetery, Canadian Geographic Magazine, Jan/Feb 2008, p. 61
  18. ^ New Scientist No2645, 1st March 2008.
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b Allan Casey, ibid, p. 63
  21. ^ Allan Casey, ibid, p. 59
  22. ^ Wallula Energy Resource Center
  23. ^ "Bureau of Economic Geology Receives $38 Million for First Large-Scale U.S. Test Storing Carbon Dioxide Underground" [3]
  24. ^ DoE Funding opportunity announcement "Restructured Futuregen"
  25. ^ "SU receives $66.9 million carbon sequestration", Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 2008-11-18. Retrieved on 2008-18-11.
  26. ^ "Demonstration project The Netherlands: Zero Emission Power Plant" [4]
  27. ^ NETL Carbon Sequestration NETL Web site. Retrieved on 2008-21-11.
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^ Germany leads 'clean coal' pilot, BBC News, 2008-09-03, 
  34. ^ Access all areas: Schwarze Pumpe, BBC News, 2008-09-03, 
  35. ^ 'Emissions-free' power plant pilot fires up in Germany
  36. ^ "First carbon storage plant launched" [5]
  37. ^ "Seeking clean coal science 'only option'" [6]
  38. ^ Rochon, Emily False Hope: Why carbon capture and storage won’t save the climate Greenpeace, May 2008, p.5.
  39. ^
  40. ^ Biomass with capture: negative emissions within social and environmental constraints: an editorial comment, James S. Rhodes and David W. Keith
  41. ^ 20244 DTI Energy Review_AW
  42. ^ CCS - Assessing the Economics, Mckinsey, 2008

[edit] References

[edit] External links

Personal tools