UKCCSC News 21 July 2008

Hi Folks,

First, a bit of own-trumpet blowing. If you type “carbon capture and storage” into Google, you get the UKCCSC web-site as the top hit (correct at the time of going to press etc). Don’t ask why, I’ve no idea, except that it’s the best site, obviously!

Back to business, the first article is the one to read if you’ve no time or inclination for the others:

“G8 leaders pledge to halve carbon emissions by 2050” SciDev Net (14 Jul)

This is the usual tale of missed opportunities:

“Leaders from the G8 countries have pledged to halve carbon emissions by 2050, but the five major emerging economies (or +5) countries refused to agree to the goal until more concrete targets are set.”

Almost amusingly, G8 failed to agree on the baseline emissions year, so exactly what they will attempt to half is unresolved.

”they support the launching of 20 large-scale carbon capture and storage demonstration projects globally by 2010, and hope to begin broad deployment of the technology by 2020”

2) Good news from the USA, where legislation that covers CCS has been proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The comment period is open for 120 days. (Jul 15)

“The proposed regulation would create a national framework for injecting carbon dioxide underground and protecting underground resources, the EPA said in a news release. The rule would create a new class of injection wells under the Safe Drinking Water Act’s Underground Injection Control program”

3) Encouraging news from China too, though capture is still at the test-scale (China View, 17 Jul):

“China Huaneng Group, the country’s largest power producer, put into operation on Wednesday in Beijing a post-combustion carbon capture facility at a thermal power plant that has successfully captured carbon with a purity of 99.99 percent.

The pilot project is capable of recovering more than 85 percent of carbon dioxide from flue gases of the power plant and can thus trap 3,000 tons of the gas annually from emissions that would otherwise contribute to global warming, Xinhua news agency reported.”

4) And proof that it’s not just me that can’t proof-read properly:

“Norway says wins EU green light for carbon capture” Reuters (16 Jul)

“Norway said the EU’s surveillance authority ESA had allowed the project at the Mongstad power plant to receive 80 percent public aid, above the normal 50 percent threshold. Mongstad is one of a number of CCS test projects in the EU.”

5) “Aker aborts Norwegian CO2 capture project, eyes UK” Reuters (2 Jul)

“Aker Clean Carbon, part of Norway’s Aker industrial holding group, on Tuesday pulled out of a project to build a carbon capture demonstration plant in Norway, citing uncertainty about supplies of flue gas.”

6) And there’s trouble at ‘mill, with the huge Yorkshire  Forward-led coalition CCS scheme wanting to know why it wasn’t short-listed for the UK CCS competition (Yorkshire Post, 2 Jul):

“Officials have described the Government’s decision to exclude the scheme from a four strong shortlist as “bewildering” and are still seeking an explanation of why it missed out.”
7) “Coal-generated Carbon Dioxide Captured In Australia — A First” ScienceDaily (Jul 12).

So how much of a first is this?

“This is the first time anyone in the Southern Hemisphere has captured CO2 using the PCC process at a power station”

Ah, that much. PCC stands for post-combustion capture, and apparently trials are underway to assess the most efficient liquid absorbant.

8) It’s not clear from the press is if this is the same CO2, though both capture and storage events are in Victoria (actually probably not the same as it would take the capture plant 10 years to make 10,000 tonnes):

“10,000 tonnes CO2 captured, stored” (jul 3)

““We are closely monitoring the carbon dioxide through one of the world’s most comprehensive geosequestration monitoring programs and every indication is that the carbon dioxide is behaving just as researchers have predicted”,23599,23963725-29277,00.html

Has this taken the World Record for ‘Most monitored CO2’ away from the Frio project (which measured everything possible for a whole 3 days)?

9) Still Down-Under, the Aussie’s have just had their own version of the UK’s Stern Report, and it’s drawn the same criticism (i.e. political right says corrective measures are too extreme, Greens say not extreme enough). Interestingly, the Aussies also have debate about petrol duty, and they have a house price crisis – just like home?

“Garnaut report draws mixed response” Sydney Morning Herald (4 Jul)

“Prof Garnaut’s highly anticipated draft report on climate change supports the federal government’s 2010 start time for an emissions trading scheme (ETS).”

“… environment groups, business and industry, largely embraced the report.

Climate Institute chief executive John Connor said it laid bare the stark costs for inaction on climate change.”

CCS gets a strong mention (, 4 Jul):

“… the coal industry faced an uncertain future under proposed emissions reductions. He [Garnaut ] said its fate was dependent on the development of carbon capturing and storage methods which could be introduced on a commercial scale.”,23599,23968624-29277,00.html

10) Now for Canada. The Vancouver Sun seems remarkably unlike its UK near-namesake, with articles that actually convey information:

“Alberta’s carbon capture plan puts it ahead of the pack” (Jul 12)

Alberta has … “established a $2-billion fund for carbon capture and storage projects”

“It is the biggest investment in carbon sequestration in the world. The United States, for example, has earmarked $1 billion in carbon capture funding for the entire country.”

Or the UK,  where the Government has conspicuously failed to quantify the sums available.

Now to put this in a global perspective:

“Alberta plans to devote an additional $2 billion to fund public transit investments in buses, commuter rail lines and park-and-ride facilities. The combined $4-billion initiative aims to reduce emissions by five million tons a year, or the equivalent of removing a million cars off the road.”

I recall that 1 “Princeton Wedge” is 1 billion cars removed (actually stated as 2 billion car improvements by 50%). So the Alberta scheme is 1 thousandth of a wedge. I’m not trying to discredit their efforts, but we’ve a way to go here – we need Giga-car not Mega-car reductions!

11) “Enhance plans Alberta carbon dioxide pipeline” Reuters (Jul 10)

“Enhance Energy Inc aims to spend C$300 million ($297 million) building Alberta’s first major carbon dioxide pipeline to ship the greenhouse gas to old oil fields, where it can boost output, the privately held company said on Thursday.

The pipeline will be located in central Alberta, where it will capture carbon dioxide emissions from an oil sands upgrader planned by North West Upgrading Inc and a nitrogen plant operated by fertilizer maker Agrium Inc…

It will carry the gas 240 km (150 miles) south to mature oil fields near the central Alberta city of Red Deer”

12) Canada has vast reserves of tar sands, which are rich in a very viscous oil that requires heavy processing to produce saleable products, possibly with 3 times the carbon footprint of conventional oil. The exploitation of these resources has caused much controversy in Canada, and even abroad as the USA now has a law preventing the federal procurement of oil with a higher footprint than conventional crude oil.

“Royal Dutch Shell PLC has embarked on a major carbon-capture project to clean up its oil sands output on the same day the Alberta government created a $2-billion fund to promote just such solutions to the problems of its so-called dirty-oil” (9 Jul)

13) Here’s a slightly different twist on the storage problem: find conditions where the CO2 is more dense than the surrounding water, but is still in geological storage (as opposed to sea-floor storage).

“Ocean floor could store century of US carbon emissions” Guardian (Jul15)

“… criteria for suitable burial sites included the aquifers being under at least 2,700m of water and covered by 200m or more of sediment. At this deep level CO2 liquifies and is denser than sea water, so even if a leak were possible, it should not rise to the surface.”

Andy Chadwick comments on the proposal, but appears not to have grasped that it doesn’t use the usual capillary-trapping mechanism (that retains oil in most oil fields).

That’s all folks, lucky for some?


Consortium and Network