Carbon Capture: key green technology shackled by costs

November 21, 2015 by Joshua Melvin
World leaders have vowed to seek a comprehensive climate deal at an upcoming UN conference in Paris
World leaders have vowed to seek a comprehensive climate deal at an upcoming UN conference in Paris

Every credible plan to save humanity from global warming reserves a key role for a green energy technology called carbon capture and storage.

But there's a problem: no one has figured out a viable way to pay for it.

Usually just called CCS, the technology can take carbon dioxide—the dominant greenhouse gas—from major pollution sources such as power plants or steel mills and pump it deep underground, out of harm's way.

CCS is crucial to many scenarios—including from the United Nation's climate science panel—for keeping under 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), considered the red line for catastrophic climate impacts.

But despite decades of testing, only a handful of the projects are actually in service.

One of the main reasons, experts say, is a very hefty price tag that has kept nervous investors at bay.

"There are 22 large-scale (CCS) operations in the world," said Isabelle Czernichowski-Lauriol, president emeritus of CO2GeoNet, a European research network.

"We need to have over 1,000," she told AFP.

"There has been a delay in regards to what was expected, but it has mostly been due to the lack of an economic model."

Catching, transporting and storing just a fraction of the world's carbon emissions would require the construction of a massive new industry.

'Cost is main barrier'

CCS works by compressing a gas, CO2, into a liquid form and pumping it into the ground.

Carbon capture and storage
How carbon capture and storage works. 135 x 104 mm

Scientist and analyst Vaclav Smil, a respected voice on environmental and energy matters, has calculated that a CCS infrastructure—to capture and store 20 percent of the world's CO2 from burning fossil fuels—would need a capacity 70 percent larger than the petroleum flow handled by the global crude oil industry.

The scale of effort needed for any substantial reduction of emissions and the operating costs "combine to guarantee very slow progress," he wrote.

At the moment, Canada's Boundary Dam power station in Saskatchewan is the world's only commercial-scale coal-fired power plant that uses to keep its emissions out of the air.

It is designed to grab 90 percent of the plant's CO2 gases—the equivalent of the pollution from 250,000 cars—which are then sold and pumped to nearby facilities for use in squeezing oil out of the ground.

Sale of the gas provides extra revenue for the station, which cost 1.5 billion Canadian dollars (one billion euros) to build. About a sixth came from government subsidies.

"Cost is one of the main barriers to CCS," said Samuela Bassi, a policy analyst at the London School of Economics and Political Science. "Building these plants is expensive."

Adding carbon capture technology to pushes up their cost by 40-80 percent, and by up to 50 percent for natural gas-burning stations.

Dearth of projects

One reason carbon capture is so expensive is the technology is relatively new as a climate change solution—about a decade old—and some of the projects are one-of-a-kind.

A developing technology without a proven, viable business model is also seen as risky by investors, driving up the cost of borrowing money, analysts said.

Last month was the hottest October in modern history, US government scientists say
Last month was the hottest October in modern history, US government scientists say

Further handicapping CCS, a lot of government subsidies—and regulatory support—are going to competing technologies such as wind and solar.

"For CCS you don't yet have this type of system in place, except in the UK," said Bassi. "But in the rest of the world you don't have that kind of economic support."

Analysts say the cost of CCS-equipped power plants will come down significantly as more projects get built and the technology is refined.

However, just two carbon capture-equipped, industrial-scale power plants—both in the United States—are due to come online next year, and there are a dearth of big projects on the drawing board.

There are 22 large-scale CCS projects that are either in operation or are slated to be up and running by 2017.

CCS technology pumps carbon dioxide deep underground, out of harm's way
CCS technology pumps carbon dioxide deep underground, out of harm's way

Another 23 big projects currently in various stages of development are "maybes", according to a spokesman for the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, an industry group.

That total number of industrial-scale projects—45—is an 18-percent decrease over the 55 listed in the institute's 2014 report.

EU targets have called for the equivalent of 11 large-scale, CCS-equipped by 2030, which would cost up to 35 billion euros ($40 billion), according to the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

So far 1.3 billion euros in public funds have been, or are being, spent on developing these projects.

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37 comments

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gkam
1 / 5 (9) Nov 21, 2015
Who believes this nonsense? The CO2 from this facility will be used to force out more CO2-producing oil. What's the benefit?

Pumping it into the ground just sets it up for others to "discover" it, or for it to leak. Who are we trying to fool? Ourselves?

Instead, let's develop fewer fossil-fuel stopgap saves and just go with renewables.
russg
4 / 5 (4) Nov 21, 2015
Capturing billions of tons of CO2 each year on restored ocean pastures will also deliver billions of additional fish to feed the world's hungry. The cost of this CO2 capture is only a few million dollars per year! Read more at russgeorge.net about this practical, low cost, and immediate CO2 solution.
Roderick
4.1 / 5 (9) Nov 21, 2015
Gkam, Renewables are a third rate solution. Solar and wind power are poorly synchronized with demand, cannot be economically stored, and are expensive due to low capacity utilization rates. Get rid of the renewable energy subsidy and simply place a CO2 tax on emissions and investment would sharply increases in carbon capture.
gkam
1.9 / 5 (9) Nov 21, 2015
"Solar and wind power are poorly synchronized with demand"
-------------------------------

My experience is the opposite. When we needed additional power in the late 1970's but were restrained by clean air laws, we put up the wind turbines at Altamont. They run exactly when we need them most, and are free of fuel and waste costs.

Look up the peak period where you live and tell me it is not during the mid-day and afternoon, when sunshine is highest. PV more than pays its way.

Parroting old tales based on fossil-fuel lore will not change the truth. Nor will it stop the continued change-over from dirty to clean power.
Estevan57
4.2 / 5 (10) Nov 21, 2015
As usual, George, you are wrong about your own field.
Peak demand is greatest in the evenings, and with an additional demand in the morning in the winter months. Especially winter on the East coast.This has been common knowledge for decades but you choose to ignore it just to play Mr. Expert.

https://www.pacif...ooh.html
https://www.portl...ing.aspx
http://www.eia.go...m?id=830
http://www.greenc...ic-bill/
http://www.caiso....tus.html

These sources provide peak power needs from the West to East coasts.

It shows renewable power at peak from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. PST.
It also shows peak demand being from 6:30 pm. to 9:45 pm PST.

Available power from renewables at 7:45 in the evening - 200 Megawatts. Demand = 27,752 Megawatts.
Always the Dumbass, huh George?
Estevan57
4.2 / 5 (10) Nov 21, 2015
@gkam, by the way the peaks are from yesterday, in the state of California.

Sunset time in San Fransisco yesterday was at 4:54 pm. Peak demand at 7:45 pm.
Available PV power = none. The renewables are almost totally supplied by geothermal at peak demand.

Next time look something up instead of "my experience". Your experience has proven to be consistently bogus or just plain wrong.

http://www.caiso....tus.html

Bogus is vernacular for "a fake, or a liar".
gkam
1 / 5 (10) Nov 22, 2015
I love the way my comments bring out the real character of folk.

Did any of you have parents?
Estevan57
4.6 / 5 (9) Nov 22, 2015
I can see that real facts can be disturbing to you, George. Is that why you avoid them so well?

"Look up the peak period where you live and tell me it is not during the mid-day and afternoon, when sunshine is highest. PV more than pays its way." - gkam

Oops, it looks like someone did. Did you have any teachers? Apparently not.

PV more than pays its way in the dark? Nope.
Kenb1
3.3 / 5 (7) Nov 22, 2015
If we remove Fossil Fuels today, do you think that we suddenly wouldn't have enough resources on this planet to feed, water, clothe and keep the world warm. Of course we would, there is enough resources on this planet to do this 100's of times over. Money, Money, Money! Society is brain washed by the big energy industrialist who are terrified of losing their iron grip on the world's energy, which in reality should be free to everyone.
Kenb1
2 / 5 (4) Nov 22, 2015
Pumping CO2 into the ground!'. It actually scares me that such an obviously insane idea is being considered (and carried out) by supposedly rational people, it is a disaster waiting to happen.
The CO2 we have released over the last few hundred years wasn't originally trapped in the ground, it was chemically trapped in the fossil fuels that we have removed from the ground and burnt, very different from trying to 'force' a gaseous substance somewhere out of sight. It is akin to sweeping your trash under the carpet and hoping that no-one notices.
Kenb1
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 22, 2015
I love to review Physorg and see what the latest developments are, and I have such a passion for new technology invented to utilise renewable energy so I am naturally drawn to those articles. After I have read them I then try my hardest not to scroll down and read the comments, however curiosity often gets the better of me, and predictably I end up feeling disappointed and angry.
I am so tired of reading narrow minded responses to these articles, where 'Intelligent' people want to 'Rubbish all of these new technologies because they are not as cost effective as the current 'Planet Destroying' fossil fuels. These people have the farsightedness of a 'geriatric mole'
Kenb1
3 / 5 (4) Nov 22, 2015
OF COURSE MOST RENEWABLE ENERGIES ARE MORE EXPENSIVE!!! They are a new emerging technology and ALL emerging technologies are expensive to start with. When they are developed and integrated more and more into society they become cheaper and cheaper, this is the same with EVERTHING! But why wait until we have destroyed the planet just because the price has to come down?
I'll tell you all this, if we as a Global society were suddenly unable to access fossil fuels, I can assure you that the powers that be in industry and government would quickly find that renewable energies are not too expensive to use.
Kenb1
3 / 5 (4) Nov 22, 2015
Take money out of the equation and all of these energies; Solar, Tidal, Wave, Wind, and Geothermal could power the whole world today, this minute. They have all been proven to work, Period! Why does the cost even matter, also once they are being used on a daily basis, do you not think the cost would come down dramatically, as continuous 'production improvements are made? This is always much faster than R&D because 'Profits' are involved.
People who harp on about Fossil Fuels are just caught in the trap of the big dollar sign, everything has to be 'Cost Effective'…… NO IT DOESN'T!
MR166
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 22, 2015
"Take money out of the equation and all of these energies; Solar, Tidal, Wave, Wind, and Geothermal could power the whole world today, this minute."

Yet another "Brilliant" statement from the green community. Denying economics is equivalent to denying relativity or gravity.
gkam
1 / 5 (9) Nov 22, 2015
I suggest the detractors such as DumbEstavan go look up the Ringlemann Chart https://search.ya...=yhs-004
and read what the law really says, . . that the 20% is the rate at which the pollutants are visible, so that is where the limit is - no visible emissions.

And his silly little look into the yesterday's power peak means little. We put the wind turbines up because we had no ability to power the air conditioning in the Summer when capacity is strained, not to provide power we do not need in the Winter. Summer and Winter peaks are very different.

What we really saw in this exchange is the character of Estavan, and his malicious need to offend others, those to whom he feels inferior.
greenonions
4 / 5 (8) Nov 22, 2015
Estevan
Peak demand is greatest in the evenings

That depends a little on your definition of evenings. Here in Oklahoma - peak hours in the summer are from 2 - 7 - with the peak load around 4:00 to 5:00. This matches the output of solar panels very well. Here is a generalized demand curve for the U.S. http://www.eia.go...m?id=130
Sorry about your negativity to renewables Estevan - history is probably going to leave you in the dust. You might like to read a report like this http://www.techno...-crisis/ Which talks about how critical the shift to low carbon is. In your facts about renewables - you forgot to mention that they are cleanand cheap - and getting cheaper http://cleantechn...lobally/ We are solving the problem of intermittency one step at a time - http://www.cnbc.c...nct.html Hold on to your hat.
gkam
1.4 / 5 (9) Nov 22, 2015
Greenie, my solar PV system (4.5kW), has been contracted for and will be in before the end of the year, and we shop for the electric vehicle starting today. I expect to have battery storage in a year or so.

Being in earthquake country makes me want to be able to have power off the grid for water (high water table here), heat, light, car power, and other necessities.

My power provider is working on a contract with BMW to have its electric vehicles serve as battery storage for the utility, if needed, with decent renumeration. It looks like a good way to get my house battery subsidized, and give the power system value as well. I mainly want it for emergencies, even though I can buy nine cent power at night, with an electric vehicle.
Kenb1
3.9 / 5 (7) Nov 22, 2015

'Yet another "Brilliant" statement from the green community. Denying economics is equivalent to denying relativity or gravity.'

MR166 - I think you will find that relativity and gravity are fundamental laws of physics, whereas monetary economics is a man made concept, hardly 'equivelant'
MR166
2.1 / 5 (7) Nov 22, 2015
"....whereas monetary economics is a man made concept, hardly 'equivalent."

You illustrate the problem very well. Progressives think that the laws of economics are fictional and whimsical whereas conservatives know that there are real consequences when capital is allocated in a foolish manner.
Kenb1
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 23, 2015
Hi MR166, I can only assume that you are classing yourself as a 'conservative', and me as a 'progressive'. You then go on to say 'Progressives' only think something 'is' but 'Conservatives' know that something 'is', These concepts of know and think are subjective, and it is a very egotistical standpoint to take, i.e. 'I am obviously right, because I am me'.
In my opionion, Capital / Money would not even need to exist in a resource based economy, there is a very good basis for this assumption. I would ask you to watch Peter Joseph 'history of economic thought' on you tube, you may gain another perspective. We have come a long way 'off topic' so in fairness to everyone else on here I am no longer going to debate this with you, all the best to you though :).
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 23, 2015
I suggest the detractors such as DumbEstavan go look up the Ringlemann Chart
and read what the law really says, . . that the 20% is the rate at which the pollutants are visible, so that is where the limit is - no visible emissions
Ahahahaha george lies in 2 threads at once.

"40 CFR 60.42 - Standard for particulate matter (PM)
"...no owner or operator subject to the provisions of this subpart shall cause to be discharged into the atmosphere from any affected facility any gases that... Exhibit greater than 20 percent opacity except for one six-minute period per hour of not more than 27 percent opacity..."

"Definition and Visual Determination of Opacity
" At an opacity of 5%, smoke blocks enough of the background to be just VISIBLE. At 20%, the legal limit, smoke blocks enough of the background that the smoke is very visible with distinct edges."
http://phys.org/n...tes.html
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 23, 2015
Ringlemann Chart... and read what the law really says
George references a chart devised in 1888. He is apparently ignorant of modern CFR regs which use more reliable definitions.

The EPA stopped using ringelmann numbers in 1974.

If you had actually read any of the selections in your idiot yahoo search link, you would have learned this.
Greenie, my solar PV system (4.5kW), has been contracted for and will be in before the end of the year, and we shop for the electric vehicle starting today. I expect to have battery storage in a year or so
Well all I can say is its a good thing your wife was able to hold a steady job all these years, yes?

Have I said this before?
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 23, 2015
BTW we should at some point check out georges PV install on google earth streetview.

533 Westover Ln. - Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
voice/fax 925-256-1444 email: george@kamburoff.com
http://www.kamburoff.com/

Google Earth displays the best available imagery, most of which is one to three years old.

We'll be watching george.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (5) Nov 23, 2015
BTW we should at some point check out georges PV install on google earth streetview.

Google Earth displays the best available imagery, most of which is one to three years old
@otto
i think this really depends on the area

Google still doesn't show my house, cabin, barn, PV's, windmills, antenna or other stuff on Google Earth (even less on streetview)
... and it just (within the past year) updated to show my old location changed when i moved, which was 7yrs ago SEP

gkam
1.6 / 5 (7) Nov 23, 2015
"check out georges PV install on google earth streetview"
---------------------------------

Hilarious. These are the silly ideas of The Ignorati, the same folk who thought all engineers took the same courses, had the same titles, did the same things, and got paid the same.
SuperThunder
3.3 / 5 (7) Nov 23, 2015
conservatives know that there are real consequences when capital is allocated in a foolish manner.

Yes, no consequences for them and extinction for most of the rest of us. Damned right they know that.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 23, 2015
i think this really depends on the area
Ive seen georges house from the street on google maps. Look for yourself. Copy/paste his address. Its easy.
silly ideas of The Ignorati
How come you lied about the Ringlemann Chart and CFR? Lie from ignorance or deceit? Didnt think anyone would check? Didnt check yourself?

Or just plain stupid?
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (5) Nov 23, 2015
i think this really depends on the area
Ive seen georges house from the street on google maps. Look for yourself. Copy/paste his address.
@otto
yeah, i did
but is that recent? within the past 3 years? or 7+ years old like my data?

that was my point, really

heck, google still lists my physical address more than 18 miles from it's actual location (not a big deal to me... but makes it hard for folk seeking directions)

but then again, we didn't get 911 until last year... so...
(and my IP isn't even in my state either... not relevant, but funny to me)
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.5 / 5 (8) Nov 23, 2015
@otto
yeah, i did
but is that recent? within the past 3 years? or 7+ years old like my data?
Well why dont you research and get back to us?

I would think densely-populated areas would be updated more frequently.
heck, google still lists my physical address more than 18 miles from it's actual location (not a big deal to me... but makes it hard for folk seeking directions)
What - old cave not big enough? hukhuk
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (5) Nov 23, 2015
Well why dont you research and get back to us?
i did... it says apr 2015, but is that legit?
my map search of my house now as well as my prior address also said APR 2015, but neither are correct
In fact, the prior address is about 7 years old, and the new address is still at least 5 years out of date
therefore, as i said and you reiterated
I would think densely-populated areas would be updated more frequently.


...

old cave

LMFAO

gkam
1 / 5 (9) Nov 24, 2015
Wow, otto is going to devote his life to "watching" me. I am not impressed that I could dominate the life of such a pathetic creature.

But the issue here is carbon capture, an idea whose technological time has not yet arrived.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.9 / 5 (7) Nov 24, 2015
otto is going to devote his life to "watching" me
Not 'you' per se georgie. Any lying cheating psychopath who happens to show up here will do.

Youre really desperate to prove youre something special arent you? Then WHY are your lies so clumsy and careless and easy to expose?

"[Psychopaths]... manipulators, liars, and fabricators of truth. They do so... because they believe their own lies. After all their life is nothing but a lie, a sham, how can we possibly assume they know anything different."

-Why all the extra effort to demonstrate this to the people here?

"One very interesting aspect of the psychopath is his "hidden life" that is sometimes not too well hidden. It seems that the psychopath has a regular need to take a "vacation into filth and degradation... a need that seems to be evidence that "acting human" is very stressful to the psychopath"

-Here you can trash and denigrate yourself without worrying about real consequences.

Maybe thats why.
Roderick
1 / 5 (3) Nov 26, 2015
Gkam,

In Europe electricity demand peaks in the winter. How is that synchronized with solar power, which peaks in the summer and is virtually nonexistent in the winter? For example, German electricity demand is 20% lower in the summer than the winter peak.

In the US where air conditioning is far more important, solar power could be well synchronized with demand in July and August. But generally speaking, economic activity has strong seasonality, which is why GDP figures are seasonally adjusted. GDP peaks in the winter so solar power is not well positioned to serve it.
gkam
1.6 / 5 (7) Nov 27, 2015
Yes, our peaks are in the Summer, which are much greater peaks than in Winter here. But wind power seems to peak in the winter in Europe, so alternative energy is a boon there. It seems they are taking decent advantage of that.

Our Winter peaks do not strain the system, but the Summer peaks do. Peaks are specific to populations and industry and climate. But the advantages of alternative renewables is that one can fit somewhere, and the integration of them can round out the supply for much of the need of Humans.
gkam
1.7 / 5 (6) Nov 27, 2015
Roderick, I gave you a one instead of a five by mistake. Thanks for the post.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (6) Nov 27, 2015
Roderick, I gave you a one instead of a five by mistake. Thanks for the post.
George, being under onslaught, feels a heightened need to encourage those who would treat him civilly.

Those are only the people left who do not know you yet georgie.
n the US where air conditioning is far more important
And just what do you mean by 'important'? More energy per capita as it relates to mean temperature and humidity differences across the 2 continents?

You have any data you wish to share?
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (5) Nov 27, 2015
For instance, noobs need to be warned that you make up your own facts, such as this one;
But wind power seems to peak in the winter in Europe
-which the available data just doesnt seem to support.

"... the peak demand is expected to grow at least as fast as the electricity consumption (an
increase of about 1.8% per year for EU-27 by 2020), with a summer peak similar to the one in North America..."

-And heres a chart which shows seasonal numbers essentially flat.
http://www.eia.go...id=13151

-So what gives george? More intrinsic know-how from being 'in the business'? Or just your typical brainless psycho bullshit?

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