Geological sequestration of carbon dioxide: implications for the coal industry (Reprinted from Trans. Instn Min. Metall., vol 108, 1999)

A typical medium-size coal-fired power plant produces about 600 t CO2 per hour, or more than 4 000 000 t/year. Because of its high carbon content the CO2 emissions of coal are almost double those of natural gas per kilowatt of energy produced. This has clear implications for the continued use of coal as a fuel in power plants in a world increasingly conscious of greenhouse gas emissions. Underground sequestration of carbon dioxide is a viable method of storing industrial quantities of CO2, such as might be separated from the flue gases of a power plant. Indeed, Statoil is currently injecting 1 000 000 t/year CO2 from the Sleipner West gas field into porous and permeable reservoir rocks beneath the North Sea. The main barriers to the implementation of CO2 sequestration from power plants are financial; approximately 85% of the cost is incurred in separation of the CO2 horn the flue gas. More research and development in this field are urgently required to develop the prospect of coal-fired power generation in the twenty-first century with minimum emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere.