Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a critical technology if we are to meet Paris Agreement climate goals. Study after study has demonstrated that a suite of low-carbon technologies, including CCS, is needed to deliver on the Paris climate agreement. Without CCS, the costs of meeting climate targets are greatly increased (much more than if other technologies are not available).
This is not surprising given the inherent strengths of CCS – it produces dispatchable electricity, as opposed to intermittent power from renewables; it is the only technology option available to significantly reduce emissions from many industrial processes; and it provides the major pathway to negative emissions when combined with biomass-fired power plants.
CCS is the only climate mitigation technology that can ‘rescue’ the many trillions of dollars of fossil assets that may otherwise be stranded.
CCS is a proven technology that has been in use for over 40 years.
Over the last six months, there has been significant progress in CCS plants either entering operation or construction, or moving into advanced planning where detailed technical and commercial studies are undertaken prior to a final investment decision.
In early November 2016, the world’s first large-scale CCS facility in the steel industry was launched in the emirate of Abu Dhabi by Al Reyadah: Abu Dhabi Carbon Capture Company, a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Masdar (Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company).
The source of CO2 is an off-stream from the Emirates Steel Industries factory in Mussafah, which is then compressed for transport to the Rumaitha oil field for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) purposes. The CO2 compression facility design capacity is 0.8 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa).
In January 2017, Petra Nova Carbon Capture, a joint venture between NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation, announced the start of CO2 capture operations on Unit 8 at the W.A. Parish power plant near Houston Texas. At a capture rate of 1.4 Mtpa, this is the world’s largest post-combustion capture facility at a power plant (the Boundary Dam post-combustion CO2 capture facility in Canada has a capacity of 1 Mtpa). The captured CO2 is used for EOR purposes at an oil field not far from the Houston area.
The Kansai Mitsubishi Carbon Dioxide Recovery (KM-CDR) flue gas CO2 capture process, tested at pilot-scale at Plant Barry in Alabama (at a CO2 recovery capacity of approximately 500 tonnes per day), is now employed at large-scale at Petra Nova Carbon Capture, a scale-up factor of approximately 10-to-1.
The next significant development occurred in March 2017, when Yanchang Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage was launched into construction. This is the first large-scale CCS project to move into construction in China as well as in Asia. Carbon dioxide capture will take place at two separate gasification facilities in central China (for a total CO2 capture capacity of 0.41 Mtpa) before transport to CO2-EOR systems operated by Yanchang Petroleum, principally in the Jingbian oil field.
Focusing solely on large-scale CCS facilities gives a misleading impression on the status of CCS deployment in China. There are a considerable number of CCS facilities in operation that are not of a sufficient scale to be considered large-scale. Until the launch of the Boundary Dam CO2 capture facility in October 2014, China had the largest post-combustion CO2 capture facility at a coal-fired power plant in the world (at the Huaneng Shanghai Shidongkou 2nd Power Plant, which became operational in 2010 at a capture capacity of between 100,000-120,000 tonnes per annum of CO2). Jilin Oil Field EOR Demonstration has been researching CO2-EOR operations for a decade and has injected over one million tonnes of CO2 into the Jilin oil complex. The Ordos Basin was the subject of a large demonstration scale project that injected around 300,000 tonnes of CO2 over a three-year period.
The status of CCS in China will be the subject of a forthcoming Institute Update.
Staying in Asia, the Osaki CoolGen Corporation, a joint venture between the Electric Power Development Co. Ltd (J-POWER) and the Chugoku Electric Power Co. Inc., announced in March 2017 the beginning of demonstration testing on the 166 Megawatt (MW) oxygen-blown Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) system built at the Osaki power plant at Osakikamijima-cho, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. Coal feed into the plant is at around 1,180 tons per day.
This is the first stage of a three-stage test program, with the second stage planned for later in the decade, and which involves the addition of CO2 separation and capture technology to the IGCC plant. The Japanese government is supporting program costs.
Osaki CoolGen follows on from several CCS initiatives in Japan in the past year at pilot or demonstration scale:
- In April 2016, CO2 capture began from a hydrogen production unit at Idemitsu Kosan’s Hokkaido refinery at Tomakomai port, with the captured CO2 injected into near shore storage reservoirs. Approximately 100,000 tonnes per annum of CO2 is planned to be injected over the period 2016-2018.
- In July 2016, a consortium of 13 entities led by Toshiba Corporation and the Mizuho Information & Research Institute, announced the construction and evaluation of a demonstration scale facility capable of capturing 500 tons per day of CO2 using the flue gas stream from the Sigma Power Ariake Co. Ltd.’s Mikawa power plant. Operations are targeted for 2020. The Japanese government has been undertaking complementary offshore storage and transportation studies (including shuttle ship options).
- In August 2016, in Saga Prefecture (Kyushu Island), Toshiba Corporation announced it had completed construction of a 10 tons per day CO2 capture plant at a municipal waste incineration plant in Saga City. The captured CO2 is utilised for algae cultivation.
In early April 2017, a week after the Osaki CoolGen announcement, the world’s first large-scale bio-energy with CCS project was launched into operation in Illinois. This facility can capture and store approximately 1 Mtpa of CO2. It is operated by Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and administered by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy. This is also the first CCS facility in the US that will store CO2 in a dedicated geological formation at large-scale; all the other operational large-scale CO2 capture facilities in the US supply CO2 for use in EOR.
In April 2017, two proposals with large-scale CCS plants were included in the Institute’s projects listing under the ‘Concept Definition’ (or advanced planning) stage:
- Norway entered the picture in April 2017 when it was announced Gassnova has awarded contracts to Norcem AS (cement plant), Yara Norge AS (ammonia plant) and Klemetsrudanlegget AS (waste-to-energy-recovery plant) for detailed studies of full-scale carbon capture at their respective plants. Total CO2 injection capacity if all three plants proceed to operation is approximately 1.3 Mtpa. The progress made by Norway is especially significant as it includes CO2 captured from cement and waste-to-energy plants, which are new areas for the application of CCS at large-scale. It is also noteworthy that a combined pipeline and shipping system is being examined for CO2 storage in the Smeaheia area, approximately 50 kilometres / 30 miles offshore. A final investment decision is targeted for 2019 with ambitions to begin operation in 2022.
- In Louisiana (US), the proposed new Lake Charles Methanol gasification facility would convert petroleum coke sourced from oil refineries in the Gulf Coast region into synthetic gas, which would then be further processed to produce methanol and other products. Carbon dioxide capture capacity would be designed at over 4 Mtpa, with the captured CO2 to be used for EOR purposes. In December 2016, the US DOE offered a conditional commitment to guarantee loans of up to US$2 billion to Lake Charles Methanol.
With these developments, the Institute now carries 40 large-scale CCS facility listings at various stages of development. Of these, 17 are in operation (with a CO2 capture capacity of 31 Mtpa) with a further five in construction (with a CO2 capture capacity of 9 Mtpa).
CCS facilities of varying scales covering a wide range of industries and technologies are operating successfully across the world. In some cases, facilities have been operating for decades.
More information about these facilities can be found on the Institute’s webpage: https://www.globalccsinstitute.com/projects
While it is very encouraging that more CCS facilities are becoming operational, the current level of CCS deployment does not go anywhere near what is required from CCS to meet the Paris ‘well below’ 2ﹾC climate target. The uptake of CCS must be accelerated. This is a point stressed by many climate and energy experts and leading global authorities, including the International Energy Agency (IEA).
What is often forgotten is the historical perspective of how much man-made (or anthropogenic) CO2 has been injected into the sub-surface since large-scale CCS facilities began operations back in the 1970s.
According to Institute research, the cumulative amount of CO2 securely injected into the sub-surface since the early 1970s can be put at or over 200 million tonnes. This must put paid to assertions by those who argue that CCS is an experimental or untried technology.
An Institute Update on this research is forthcoming.
 Large-scale CCS facilities are defined as facilities involving the capture, transport, and storage of CO2 at a scale of at least 800,000 tonnes of CO2 annually for a coal–based power plant, or at least 400,000 tonnes of CO2 annually for other emissions–intensive industrial facilities (including natural gas–based power generation).
 The Illinois Basin Decatur Project (IBDP), which is part of the US DOE’s Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership program, is a precursor to this larger program at the same location and injected nearly one million tonnes of CO2 at the Illinois site between November 2011 and November 2014.