Jeff Erikson, the Institute’s General Manager based in Washington, DC, was joined by an impressive line-up of other thought leaders providing Keynote addresses at the Carbon Management Technology Conference held in Houston, Texas July 17 - 19. Erikson noted that carbon capture is currently at a crossroads. Global bodies such as the International Energy Agency and others increasingly point out that it is an essential element in meeting greenhouse gas emissions goals. However, the pipeline for deployment of large-scale facilities is waning. In order to meet the climate ambitions established in Paris, it is essential that the pipeline of new efforts is expanded and acted-upon.
This sentiment was echoed in other Keynote addresses by Chuck McConnell of Rice University and Juan Anguiano of BP/Oil and Gas Climate Initiative. They emphasized the importance of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in catalysing wide-scale deployment, driving down costs through learning-by-doing, and policy/regulatory certainty.
The Keynote addresses also included contributions from both of the capture facilities operating globally in the power sector. David Greeson described the Petra Nova facility that started operation near Houston, Texas earlier this year, which incorporates a fully integrated carbon capture, transport, and EOR business model - all components of the system are fully funded by revenues from oil extraction. Even with oil prices at their currently low levels, revenues will completely cover capital and operating costs within ten years, but will have no impact on electricity prices or production at the host power plant. Greeson’s view was that incentives proposed in a measure currently under consideration in the U.S. Congress ($35/tonne for CO2-EOR) will encourage further deployment of carbon capture facilities.
Mike Monea from the International CCS Knowledge Centre in Saskatchewan, Canada (and formerly of SaskPower, owner of the Boundary Dam carbon capture facility) discussed some of the decision-making that led to CCS deployment at Boundary Dam, and how operational challenges during early phases of operation have been overcome. He stressed the importance of information sharing in accelerating deployment of subsequent facilities and the role that the Knowledge Centre can play in that process.
Finally, a Keynote presentation by Bill Brown of NET Power provided a very optimistic view of the potential of technology advancements to transform deployment of carbon capture. Their Allam Cycle/oxy-combustion power production technology could generate power at costs similar to current gas-fired systems while producing pipeline-ready CO2 at minimal incremental cost. Cost reductions on this order could significantly enhance the business case of carbon capture for new power production.