Page 42 - European Energy Innovation - Winter 2014
P. 42
Winter 2014 European Energy Innovation


Carbon Capture and Storage:

The Train is Moving

By Didier Houssin , Director of Sustainable Energy Policy and Technology, IEA

On 2 October 2014, such as the US and China. Going than half in the past 25 years. We
the SaskPower forward the wish list for CCS is have also observed an increasing
Boundary Dam CCS short: better technology with number of patent applications
project was officially lower costs and more ambitious and granted patents. And it’s not
inaugurated in Saskatchewan, policy. only about capture technology.
Canada. The launch was a Characterising, engineering and
momentous point, not only for Capturing and storing carbon operating underground CO2
the project itself, but for CCS as dioxide is no longer science- storage sites have also greatly
a whole. The Boundary Dam unit fiction. Actually 2014 and 2015 improved in recent years.
3 is the world’s first large-scale are developing into good years
power unit equipped with CO2 for CCS. Large-scale CCS projects But more is obviously needed, as
capture. It operates on continuous are entering construction and technology development cannot
mode, producing 115MW of operation. For example, Southern stand still. We need better and
power to the grid, and capturing Company’s Kemper gasifier and more cost-effective technology
95% of the CO2 emissions (and capture unit will come online to ensure significant deployment
100% of the SO2) of the lignite- during the first half of 2015 in of CCS in the future. Adding CO2
fired power unit. Mississippi, US. The NRG Petra capture on a power plant would
Nova project has also recently today still be prohibitively costly
The launch of Boundary Dam entered construction in Texas. The without some form of public
underscores the importance large LNG-related Gorgon project incentive. For example, no one
to act. The world’s appetite for in Australia is under construction, can state that Boundary Dam 3
fossil fuels is expanding: the driven by Chevron, Shell, came cheap. At 1.2 billion USD
use of fossil fuels has increased ExxonMobil and their partners; it is certainly an expensive piece
significantly more than renewable the world’s largest CCS project, of kit, even if a large share of this
energy in the past 10-15 years. it should begin injecting CO2 in a cost was to modernise the plant
As fossil fuel consumption deep saline formation next year. itself, not only to build a capture
is expected to continue for And of course we hope that a unit. But the good news is that the
decades, deployment of carbon number of further projects will project owners now believe that
capture and storage (CCS) is take final investment decisions they could build a second plant
essential. CCS is the only known during 2015. 25-30% cheaper. Going forward,
technology that will enable us to cutting cost and improving
continue to use fossil fuels and But the progress of CCS technology needs to accelerate.
also decarbonise the energy is not only measured with This can be done by research,
sector. large projects. We also know by duplication and by exploiting
technology better than we did economies of scale.
While CCS progress in Europe before. There has been significant
has had its ups and downs, it is progress in R&D and pilot We must also put to the forefront
encouraging to note that CCS is installations across the world, the versatility of CCS. Most often
moving forward on global scale. in various sectors: power, steel, we tend to think of coal-fired
There are now more projects cement, bio-CCS and so forth. power when we talk about CCS.
than there were five or ten years Just as an example of progress: But this is only one part of the
ago. We know the technology the energy requirements to story: CCS can be adapted to
better. And we are starting to see separate and compress a tonne both gas and biomass-fired
important moves by key players of CO2 have been cut in less power. Another key advantage
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