CCS in energy-intensive industries – April 2015 Cranfield Biannual

This blog was written by Paul Tait, a UKCCSRC ECR from the University of Edinburgh, who received funding from the ECR Meeting Fund to attend the UKCCSRC Spring 2015 Biannual in Cranfield, 21-22 April

When we think of CCS we tend to think of the power generation sector, and it can be very easy to become locked into this bubble, focusing only on our own work. I’m guilty of that in any case. However, we would all do well to remember the considerable CO2 emissions from the industrial sector, cement, steel & iron, chemicals and refining being the main culprits, which could be just as important as CCS on power stations for reducing our carbon emissions.

First we had a presentation from Sarah Tennison from Teesside Collective, who was allowed a bit longer than the 10 minutes she was allocated in the previous session to explain the concept of CCS clusters. Teesside is a highly industrialised region, and with this comes a large number of CO2 emission point sources in close proximity to each other, totalling 7.1 million tonnes per year.  So it makes sense (if the involved companies are willing) to collaborate and share infrastructure for the reduction of their emissions. Teesside Collective is involved with determining the most suitable CCS options for each site, determining what additional infrastructure must be built to accommodate capture, transport and storage, and securing funding for future CCS operations. We wish her all the best for Teeside Collective’s funding application later this year!

Paul Fennell from Imperial College reviewed the current state of industrial CCS, in which he explained why it needs to happen in order to achieve significant emissions cuts, and why calcium looping is The Best for industry in terms of cost. Since he’s read over 500 abstracts on the subject we should probably give him the benefit of the doubt. Calcium looping is particularly attractive for cement processing as the capture material is produced on-site, and appears at this early stage to be the most cost-effective method of capture from other industrial processes, with savings of 50% per ton CO2 in comparison to amine capture. He also emphasised that there is a lot of work to be done on the cost-effectiveness of industrial CCS, as only around 20 studies have been carried out in total, with some assumptions made which may not necessarily be accurate. He also plugged his book on the subject, which I’m sure is wonderful so we should all rush out and buy it.

Finally we had Bruce Adderley formally from Tata Steel to talk about industrial CCS in, unsurprisingly, the steel industry. Although a 20-40% redcuction in emissions is possible with the use of new steelmaking techniques, CCS is required to go beyond this. Tata Steel’s vision for CCS involves combining the emissions from 3 separate stages of the steelmaking process into a single point source, eliminating the need for more than one capture unit. This was tested out at HIsarna where the new process was found to reduce emissions by 20%, and with CO2 capture could reduce them by as much as 80%. But as ever, additional legislation or some kind of funding mechanism will be required to make CCS a worthwhile investment for industry.

So overall this was an interesting introduction to the world of industrial CCS for someone like myself who isn’t too familiar with the field, and we hope to see progress being made in this field over the next few years.