UKCCSC News 27 Feb 2008

Hi Folks,

First the good news:

“Minister with global warming and electricity bills on his plate” TimesOnline

“Mr Wicks grows increasingly animated when talking about technology. He is “enormously enthusiastic” about the emerging potential of carbon capture and storage, for which the Government has pledged hundreds of millions of pounds to sponsor a commercial-scale project…”

2) Which inevitably means the not so good news has to follow:
Greenpeace still thinks that CCS is pie-in-the-(polluted)-sky:

“Won’t Kingsnorth use carbon capture and storage technology?”

“The trouble with CCS is that no-one knows when – if ever – it will be commercially available. At the moment there are only a few small scale demonstration plants.”

3) Big Business calling for more Red Tape? Surely not? But both Shell and Total are demanding better regulation for CCS. Their future energy scenarios (‘Scramble’ and ‘Blueprint’) will be of interest to many, as will the comments on biofuels and nuclear power:

“Shell issues stark challenge to politicians” Times Online

“Shell reckons that a carbon dioxide price of between €50 and €100 per tonne would drive investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS) schemes, essential to carbon emission reduction.”

Or try the Guardian:

4) “Budget earmarks clean-power dollars to Saskatchewan”, Canada

“The federal government has committed $240-million to the construction of a clean-coal power plant in Saskatchewan that would capture carbon dioxide and then permanently store the greenhouse gas underground”

“The project would be the largest carbon capture and storage project in Canada, with a price tag of $3.8-billion for the 450-megawatt power plant.”

“And it will spend $66-million over the next two years to develop the regulatory framework that will underpin a carbon emissions trading market in Canada.”

Do I see a slight budgetary shortfall there?

5) News from Iceland, a country that’s perhaps not on everybody’s CCS radar:

“Over the next two years, a team of scientists will try to inject carbon dioxide-charged water into the basalt beneath the ground through boreholes drilled by a nearby geothermal energy plant. The CO2 will, in theory, react with the porous rock and form a stable mineral that could remain in the rock for millions of years.” Time Magazine,9171,1604859,00.html

6) And finally, the monthly malaprop award goes to our very own Stuart Haszeldine, for the following quote:

“But we’ve seen the Treasury take lots of clean fossil fuel obligation money before and just sit on it, and not hypothecate it to support the sector.”

Now I had to look up “hypothecate”, but 20 definitions from the web can’t all be wrong. You can hypothecate something that you own, such as your house, to raise money. But can you hypothecate money to raise money? Answers on a postcard to the usual address please.

The quote is from an article in The Engineer, entitled “The Burning Question”. If you need a short(-ish) intro to everything CCS, you could do worse than read this.

7) And finally finally, try this for size from the Dept of Misinformation:

“McLeish (…) point out that the public isn’t keen on storing a gas that can be hazardous to your health in large, underground caves.” By coincidence, the McLeish in question is pushing his own brand of carbon storage:

”And now Carbon Sciences says it will turn carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and factories into calcium carbonate, otherwise known as limestone or chalk. The company combines the gas with fine calcium powders in a way that doesn’t require a lot of heat and pressure, or that much calcium for that matter. For every ton of carbon dioxide, you only need three tons of raw materials, says CEO Derek McLeish.”

That’s All Folks