With the UK the latest country to signal its intent to phase out petrol and diesel cars, it seems we can see the end of the much-loved internal combustion engine (ICE). First invented back in the early 1800’s the ICE has certainly made its mark on society and we remain hooked on our cars. I am not sure myself that an electric car appeals to me more than my 3.0 litre jaguar as a vehicle I want to drive.
However, the reality is petrol and diesel cars are contributors to air pollution that globally leads to millions of premature deaths a year. In addition, cars are the most significant factor to the growth in transport emissions that globally have doubled since 1970 and now represent 24% of all GHG emissions. The introduction of electric vehicles could curtail further increases in road transport sector emissions and then significantly cut emissions from the road transport sector, potentially by as much as 5-6 GT/CO2 per year.
It has to be understood that he electricity supplied for electric vehicles must come from low carbon or carbon neutral sources (renewables, nuclear and CCS). Building new unabated fossil fuel plants to meet the growth in electricity demand resulting from electric vehicle deployment will merely transfer emissions from the transport to the power sector and will not allow the Paris target of below 2C to be achieved.
There was much news coverage of the G20 meeting and the positions that the US President was likely to take. The end result was a media focus on climate change differences, noting the G20 Declaration allowed the US to state its leaving of the Paris Agreement but also emphasised the robust support by the 19 other countries for the Paris Agreement and its aims, and the role of clean energy development and deployment, which implicitly includes CCUS.
A supporting and more detailed document is in an annex to the Communique, called “G20 Hamburg Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth”. This reinforces the need for sustainable and clean energy as a means of achieving climate ambitions, and emphasises energy efficiency, renewable energy up-scaling, access to energy security, and reduction of fossil fuel subsidies.
However it does not say much on CCS or CCUS. With no G20 actions covering CCUS, it merely states that “We encourage countries that opt to use CCUS to continue to undertake R,D&D and to collaborate on large-scale demonstration projects”. Obviously this doesn’t recognise that CCS technologies are ready for deployment and the focus should be on encouraging policies for deployment.
For nuclear power it was a little better, noting their GHG benefits, “In those countries that opt to use nuclear energy, it contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and to baseload. We call upon those countries to uphold the highest standards of nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation.”
As a German hosted G20, these texts would have been developed by Germany but agreed with all. It seems that no other countries wanted to emphasise CCUS, and were not informed on IEA or IPCC conclusions. Does the US Presidency stepping away from climate change mean that a main advocate of CCUS is now silent and this was the result?
The documents can be seen at:
The latest news that the authority that governs the Kemper county CCS project will not support any more activities on the lignite fired gasification and CCS plant is extremely disappointing. Unlike projects like ROAD, Kemper has been built and so calling a halt at this stage is a shame. The Kemper project has had its problems mostly with new components and integrating all the new pieces as any engineer knows is always the biggest challenge but step by step the problems faced at Kemper have been resolved one by one.
The new US administration wants to create jobs in the coal sector maybe it can start by saving jobs and put some money into ironing out the last problems at Kemper and get the project going, it has the potential to be a world beater.
Over recent decades, it has become apparent that there is no one single technological solution to solve the problem of reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions; a portfolio of low-carbon energy technologies needs to be deployed in parallel. Most climate scenarios targeting 2°C or well below 2°C confirm that carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an essential element in this portfolio as it significantly increases the probability of reaching the emission reductions required and at least cost. Roadmaps have established that widespread deployment of CCS is needed to deliver this contribution.
The urgency of accelerating the deployment of CCS increases with time. While ambitions have been growing firmer, through developments such as the Paris Agreement, the pace of deployment of CCS has been slow, with only some fifteen large-scale facilities in operation today. The slow pace, however, has not been due to technical or physical limitations of building out the industry; a major barrier has been the absence of market incentives, compounded by the fact that capture projects need access to transport and storage infrastructures, the development of which takes time. With CCS roadmaps show a steep curve for CCS industry build-out, the question has been raised “Can the CCS industry build out at the rates projected in CCS roadmaps?” To address this question, the study compares the anticipated CCS build-out rates with those achieved in other sectors, where comparable technologies in those sectors have been used as analogues.
The study finds that the rate of build-out in industry analogues has been comparable to the rates now being anticipated for CCS. Considering these analogies, it is shown that, if sufficiently strong incentives for a technology are established, industry can achieve the rapid build-out rates required for the projected scale of deployment. This suggests that CCS development, while requiring substantial growth, may not be constrained by physical limitations in supply chain and industry build-out. However, substantial efforts would be required from both the public and the private sectors to deliver and maintain the anticipated build-out rates over the coming decades. These would include strong market incentives, stable policy commitment, government leadership and public support. While it is recognised that analogies have limitations, this study has shown it to be tenable technically that the anticipated CCS build-out rates can be realised in a supporting environment.
Christine Figueres, who must be given great credit for delivering the Paris Agreement has launched a new initiative – Mission 2020. Mission 2020 is not a new NASA moon shot, but is a new initiative to bring “new urgency” to the “global climate conversation”. Inherent in Mission 2020 is a call to begin “rapidly declining” global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. In a letter in the journal, Nature Mrs Figueres and 61 co-signatories (which include climate scientists as well as a range of NGO, religious, political and business leaders) set out their stall that the next three years will be crucial. They argue that if emissions can be brought permanently lower by 2020(not just held static as they have for the last three years) then the temperature thresholds leading to runaway irreversible climate change will not be breached.
An admirable goal let’s hope that all Governments around the world listen and more importantly take urgent action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
It seems the ROAD project in the Netherlands has come to the end of its road. It is a shame that any CCS project does not proceed and particularly one in Europe, but ROAD has had the feeling of a dead man walking for a long time now. Its latest restructuring meant it only had a small offshore injection lifetime of some 3 years. When I first heard that I admit to thinking is it worth it? So perhaps it is time to say au revoir it was good while it lasted but move on to pastures new. The Port of Rotterdam offers opportunities as a cluster centre for industry CCS as does Teeside in the UK. EU money might be better invested on these centres to develop CCS in Europe. Industrial CCS seems more consistent with EU thinking on the application of CCS than in the power sector. Norway is again leading the charge on industrial CCS in Europe and no one expects CCS projects to fall by the wayside there, so there are still some rays of sunshine through the clouds.
I went to Portland Harbour to see the results of the harbour trials of the UK Energy Technologies Institute funded marine Monitoring Measurement and Verification (MMV) system which has been developed for CO2 storage site surveillance. This has a strong emphasis on the utilisation of AUVs (autonomous underwater vehicles – now famous from “Boaty McBoatface”).
The purpose of this project is to develop and demonstrate a cost-effective integrated MMV system for CO2 and environmental assessments in the marine environment. The project is led by Fugro in collaboration with Sonardyne, with input from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), the British Geological Survey (BGS), Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the University of Southampton. As well as adapting an AUV to mount the required sensors and equipment, Sonardyne have developed and tested two Landers with this project.
The detection performance in these shallow harbour trials is very impressive. The next stage is sea trials in the greater depths of the North Sea.
These developments will enable more optimised and cost-effective environmental monitoring at CO2 storage sites offshore.
And yes, if you were wondering, this AUV is a sister vessel to the now famous “Boaty McBoatface” AUV which is now on deployment in the Antarctic (see http://noc.ac.uk/education/educational-resources/boaty-mcboatface ).
Many thanks to Rob Hines of Fugro, Graham Brown and Rob Crook of Sonardyne, and the rest of their team at Portland Harbour for an interesting and informative visit. We look forward to hearing more on these world-leading developments at our Monitoring Network meeting and the Offshore CCS Workshop in June in the USA.
For more information see IEAGHG Information Paper 2017-IP18 and http://www.eti.co.uk/programmes/carbon-capture-storage/measurment-modelling-and-verrfication-of-CO2-storage-mmv .
Globally, the pulp and paper (P&P) industry is the fifth largest industrial source of CO2 emissions. Recently, the Paris Agreement has highlighted the target of achieving below 1.5oC temperature rise. In order to achieve this goal, bio-CCS has an important role to play to achieve this target.
In a pulp mill, the CO2 emissions arise mainly from its recovery boiler, multi-fuel boiler and lime kiln. The majority of this CO2 originates from the combustion of biomass, which renders it as carbon neutral if the biomass used as raw materials of the pulp production is grown and harvested in a sustainable manner. If the CO2 emission from pulp and paper industry is captured and permanently stored, then this could be considered as a potential carbon sink. As such, the pulp and paper industry could be regarded as an industry with potential for the early demonstration of both bio-CCS and industrial CCS.
This study provides an assessment of the performance and costs of retrofitting CCS in a Nordic Kraft Pulp Mill (Base Case 1A) and an Integrated Pulp and Board Mill (Base Case 1B). Different configurations of capturing CO2 (90%) from the flue gases of the recovery boiler, multi-fuel boiler and lime kiln were examined.
- This study has established the baseline information in evaluating the techno-economics of retrofitting post-combustion CO2 capture plant using MEA as solvent to (a) an existing Kraft pulp mill producing 800,000 adt pulp annually and (b) an existing integrated pulp and board mill producing 740,000 adt pulp and 400,000 adt 3-ply folding boxboard annually.
- It should be highlighted that performance of retrofitting CCS in an existing industrial complex is very site specific. This is also true if CCS is deployed to an existing pulp mill.
- For the market pulp mill, the excess steam produced by the mill is sufficient to cover the additional demand from the CCS plant. For an integrated pulp and board mill, there is less excess steam available for the CCS plant, therefore the addition an auxiliary boiler is required.
- The retrofit of CCS increases the levelised cost of pulp (LCOP) produced by the market (standalone) pulp mill in the range of 20 to 154 €/adt (4 – 30%), and increases the LCOP produced by the integrated pulp and board mill in the range of 22 to 191 €/adt (4 – 37%). This translates to a CO2 avoided cost (CAC) between 62 and 92 €/t CO2 for the pulp mill and between 82 and 92 €/t CO2 for the integrated pulp and board mill.
- This study assessed the sensitivity of the cost if incentives to the renewable electricity credit, CO2 taxes, and negative emissions credit are provided. It can be concluded that the most favourable route to encourage the pulp industry to deploy bio-CCS is by providing sufficient incentives for their negative emissions.
It is pleasing to see that Ladybird Books (which publishes mass-market children's books) has published a title on Climate Change which has been co-authored by HRH the Prince of Wales.
The book, Climate Change, provides a short-format guide to the key scientific facts central to climate change. It explains the history, dangers and challenges of global warming and explores possible solutions to limit future changes to the climate. The book discusses the causes of climate disruption, such as heatwaves, floods and other extreme weather, and the consequences for people, wildlife and businesses.
This book should provide an educational reference point for young children on the issue of climate change and should be widely welcomed. And of course purchased by all those who want to see Climate Change education started from the grass roots level, for their children and grand children
Review of CO2 storage in basalts – new technical review from IEAGHG on the potential of using basalts and other magnesium rich rocks to store CO2.
Conventional CO2 storage relies on injection into a reservoir in sedimentary rock which has an impermeable caprock. It is also possible to trap CO2 in igneous rock formations with high magnesium, iron and calcium contents. Minerals with these metal cations react with CO2 especially if water is present. New carbonate minerals then form permanently locking the CO2 in the subsurface. Because this process is relatively rapid potential leakage is minimised.
Basalts are volcanic in origin and consequently they form rocks with a fine grained mineral matrix when they solidify often with vesicles that can form layers with high porosity and permeability. CO2 injected into these layers is then trapped by carbonation reactions. Two high profile sites, CarbFix in Iceland and the Wallula project in Washington State have both injected and monitored CO2 storage in basalts since 2012. Evidence from both sites shows that injected CO2 reacts relatively rapidly to form carbonate minerals. One potential limitation of this form of carbon sequestration is the large quantity of water required. Further tests are required to demonstrate the process at larger scale.
Some other igneous rocks with high magnesium (>12% by weight) contents are also known to react with atmospheric CO2. Naturally occurring carbonate minerals can be observed where these ultramafic rocks outcrop, for example in Oman. Such rock formations are comparatively rare compared to basalts and do not form layers with permeable zones which limits their carbon sequestration potential. However, ultramafic rocks are mined where they contain valuable metals particularly platinum and chromium. After extraction the crushed rock tailings are dumped in large quantities. One of the largest producers of platinum from ultramafic rocks is South Africa, a country which has evaluated the potential of using mine tailings for CO2 sequestration.
Further details about CO2 storage in basalts, and the potential that ultramafic rocks could offer, are explain in this latest technical review from IEAGHG.