UKCCSC News 9 March 2009

Hi Folks,

The CCS news stories come in almost as fast as I can read them these days. I guess these qualify as interesting times?

Anyone for a trip to London? Sorry about the short notice:

Conference invitation – Towards a UK CCS roadmap
Regulatory and financing options from the USA

Date: Friday 20th March, 9.00 – 4.30

Venue: Institute of Directors, 116 Pall Mall

http://www.green-alliance.co.uk/grea1.aspx?id=3620

2) This story caused a bit of a stir in Edinburgh when it arrived as it concerns the same geological formation that StatoilHydro use to store CO2 in the Sleipner project:

“Leakages in the Utsira formation and their consequences for CCS policy” Greenpeace International

This is a report on the leakage of injected waste water from the Tordis field, some 300km north of the Sleiper project. Apparently, oil-contaminated water produced from Tordis is injected into the Utsira Formation rather than chucked over the side of the platform into the sea (oh for the good old days!). Here is the crux argument:

“if these so-called experts in the field cannot reliably inject processed water into a single underground formation, how can we assume that gigatonnes of CO2 from thousands of coal-fired power plants can be safely disposed of in prospective geological reservoirs across the globe?”

The report can be downloaded from:

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/utsira-leakage-ccs

Statoil have a rebuttal on their website which isn’t very helpful. It claims:

“Produced water was reinjected into the Utsira formation under the Tordis field in order to increase oil recovery.”

But the oil is in Jurassic Brent Group sandstones, so that can’t be correct? There is a link on the same page to well logs of the Utsira above Tordis, showing that it’s utterly unsuitable for liquid storage of any description as it’s mostly shale. Odd.

http://www.statoilhydro.com/en/OurOperations/ExplorationProd/ncs/tordis/Pages/TordisIncident2008.aspx

3) Waiting with baited breath for the UK Government decision on Kingsnorth? Netter breath normally…

“Decision on new coal-fired plant delayed again” Guardian (2 Mar)

“Jonathan Smith, E.ON’s media relations manager, said: “We do not expect any imminent decision, by any stretch of the imagination.””

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/02/coal-plant-delayed

4) The EU proposal to spend big money on energy / environmental projects has been the subject of the predictable horsetrading, with Czech Industry Minister Martin Riman noting: “each country judged their national projects to be sufficiently important to use up the whole five billion euros.” EUbusiness The crunch will come on March 19th, with a meeting of European Heads of State. http://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/1235073722.71

5) The UK needs rather more than that sum of money itself, apparently:

“Britain’s power industry needs to invest at least 234 billion pounds ($341 billion) by 2025 to secure supply and meet its targets for carbon emissions and renewable energy, a study by Ernst & Young showed on Tuesday.” Reuters (24 Feb)

“Coal-fired plants with CCS 7.3 [Billion GBP needed] 3.2 GW online by 2025”
“CO2 transport infrastructure for CCS 2.0 [Billion GBP needed]”

http://uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKLO33373520090224

6) The UK Government has finally come clean (or should that be dirty?) on the issue of new-build coal-fired powerplants:

“What we’re not going to do with this process is have a policy which essentially has a moratorium on any coal-fired power station.” Guardian (26 Feb)

Oh, and there’s some infighting between the Government departments. No surprises here then.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/feb/26/clean-coal-power-stations

For those with the stomach for more ministerial ranting, try:

“Britain said on Thursday it backed the building of new coal plants and would make a decision soon on whether these must have expensive, climate-friendly technologies fitted called carbon capture and storage (CCS).” Reuters (26 Feb)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/allBreakingNews/idUKLQ11727420090226?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0&sp=true

or this:

“We’ve got to go beyond carbon capture and storage. I personally don’t think that’s adequate” Guardian (25 Feb)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/feb/25/carbon-trading-whitehall

7) Not even the most optimistic could describe the UK Government competition as fast moving, but I still missed this one. Still, better late than never?

“RWE npower, Peel Energy and Dong form JV for CCS pilot project in UK” Datamonitor (12 Dec 08)

“The restructured joint venture, with RWE npower’s involvement, has successfully been pre-qualified for the UK government’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration competition.”

http://www.datamonitor.com/industries/news/article/?pid=E95C0EFE-7D6C-42F0-84AA-69E85AD2A5ED&type=NewsWire

8) Is it us or is it them?

Apparently, we scientists are still failing to explain to politicians (and probably to journalists) the science behind energy:

“Ministers are studying carbon capture, but say the technique has not been tested on a large scale. There are concerns about the impact on the acidity of the oceans and the cost.”

Well, the cost bit is fair enough, but CCS is to reduce the impact of CO2 dissolution into the oceans.

And it gets worse…

(Chris Smith, a former cabinet colleague of the prime minister) “will call for a commitment to producing entirely carbon-free electricity…”

No power is carbon-free at present. The day may come when the power used to make powerstations, windmills and solar panels is derived from green sources, but that day seems far away.

9) “National Grid to pipe carbon dioxide emissions under North Sea” Times (11 Feb)

“National Grid believes the business, dubbed National Grid Carbon, can play a major role in the company’s long-term growth by serving UK power plants fitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS) equipment.”

“National Grid planned to be ready to operate its first carbon pipeline system within three years”

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/utilities/article5705182.ece

10) This one arrived as spam, which makes me a bit dubious about including it, so you’ve probably already trashed it once…

Implementing the UK’s carbon targets with David Kennedy, Chief Executive Committee on Climate Change (DECC)

24 April, London

http://www.westminsterforumprojects.co.uk/weetforum/carbontargetsagenda.pdf

11) The following spoof advert may amuse, directed by the Coen brothers, no less. My PC here at work doesn’t have sound, so I can’t hear the commentary. Apologies if it’s as bad as it looks like it might be…

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/02/coen-brothers-clean-coal-ad.php

12) However, given the following, perhaps an antidote is required:

“The ACCCE [American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity] spent $38m last year buying TV, newspaper and magazine space to persuade Americans that coal can be clean and carbon-free.” Guardian (26 Feb)

The depressing thing about advertising is that works.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/feb/26/greenwash-clean-coal

That’s enough.

Mark