CCS - Carbon Capture and storage is supposed to be a measure aginst climate change, by storing CO2 emissions from power plants.
We think it is a technology that is unproven, carries high risks, offers no permanent storage and is only apart "solution" to the greenhouse gas emissions problem.
We see CCS as a part of the Business As Usuall scenario, i.e. a trial to maintain present exuberant and highly destructive lifestyles, without dealing with the key issues of overshoot: too many people consuming too much resources.
We all know that econoomic growth is good for us and can be endlessly continued by the relentless efforts of economists and their ilk to render economic and population growth immaterial. We can do more with less, factor 4, 5 or even factor 10, in line with the theories of brilliant people like Ernst-Ulrich von Weizsäcker (now retired in Emmendingen, Switzerland.) UNEP has "proven" that economic growth can enhance the environment and does not hinder environmental protection. Finally we have Hope, HÔptimism and Technology that will deal with all challenegs, if not now than certainly in the future, since humans have always found a way out.
US breaks ground on first industrial-scale carbon capture project
Construction begins at Illinois plant as Department of Energy pledges $41m for research projects
By staff of Business Green [http://www.businessgreen.com/], part of the Guardian Environment Network [http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/series/guardian-environment-network] Friday August 26 2011 guardian.co.uk
The US government's carbon capture and storage (CCS) efforts stepped up a gear this week, with the start of construction on the government's first industrial-scale scheme and funds worth $41m set aside for another 16 research projects.
Work on the plant in Decatur, Illinois, which received $141m of public money and another $66.5m from private sector sources, started just a few weeks after American Electric Power abandoned plans to build its $668m CCS facility [http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2094430/aep-lack-climate-regulation-killed-usd668m-ccs-project].
When operational in 2013, the Decatur plant will capture and store 1m tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year generated by ethanol production at the nearby Archer Daniels Midland biofuels plant.
Since the captured CO2 will be produced from biologic fermentation, the plant claims to have a negative carbon footprint, meaning that the storage results in a net reduction of carbon in the atmosphere.
The gas will be held 7,000 feet beneath the surface in the saline Mount Simon Sandstone formation, which the Department of Energy (DoE) estimates has the capacity to sequester all of the 250 million tonnes of CO2 produced each year by industry in the Illinois Basin.
The Obama administration intends to deploy carbon capture, utilisation and storage technologies within 10 years and wants to bring five to 10 commercial demonstration projects online by 2016.
The DoE said its selection yesterday of 16 projects across 13 states to share $41m funding over three years would further the aim.
Each project will focus on developing technologies capable of capturing at least 90% of CO2 produced, as well as reducing the added costs at power plants to no more than a 35% increase in the cost of electricity produced.
"Charting a path toward clean coal is essential to achieving our goals of providing clean energy, creating American jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions," US energy secretary Steven Chu said in a statement [http://energy.gov/articles/department-energy-announces-41-million-investment-carbon-capture-development]. "It will also help position the United States as a leader in the global clean energy race."
[Source: The Guardian, reproduced for not-for-profit scientific reasons only.
carbon reduction technologies
carbon reduction technologies
Whenever coal or gas is burned, carbon dioxide (CO2) is produced. Depending on the type of power plant, a large quantity of the gas will dissipate into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. A hard coal power plant discharges roughly 720 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour, a modern gas-fired plant about 370g CO2/kWh. To ensure that no CO2 emerges from the power plant chimney, the gas must first be removed, and then stored somewhere. Both carbon capture and storage (CCS) have limitations. Even after employing proposed capture technologies, a residual amount of carbon dioxide - between 60 and 150g CO2/kWh - will continue to be emitted.
carbon dioxide storage
CO2 captured at the point of incineration has to be stored somewhere. Current thinking is that it can be trapped in the oceans or under the Earth’s surface at a depth of over 3,000 feet. As with nuclear waste, however, the question is whether this will just displace the problem elsewhere.
Ocean storage could result in greatly accelerated acidification of large sea areas and would be detrimental to a great many organisms, if not entire ecosystems, in the vicinity of injection sites. CO2 disposed of in this way is likely to get back into the atmosphere in a relatively short time. The oceans are both productive resources and a common natural endowment for this and future generations. Given the diversity of other options available for dealing with CO2 emissions, direct disposal to the ocean, sea floor, lakes and other open reservoir structures must be ruled out.
Among the options available for underground storage, empty oil and gas fields are riddled with holes drilled during their exploration and production phases. These holes have to be sealed over. Normally special cement is used, but carbon dioxide is relatively reactive with water and attacks metals or cement, so that even sealed drilling holes present a safety hazard. To many experts the question is not if but when leakages will occur.
Because of the lack of experience with CO2 storage, its safety is often compared to the storage of natural gas. This technology has been tried and tested for decades and is considered by industry to be low risk. Greenpeace does not share this assessment. A number of serious leaks from gas storage installations have occurred around the world, sometimes requiring evacuation of nearby residents.
Sudden leakage of CO2 can be fatal. Carbon dioxide is not itself poisonous, and is contained (approx. 0.04 per cent) in the air we breathe. But as concentrations increase it displaces the vital oxygen in the air. Air with concentrations of 7 to 8% CO2 by volume causes death by suffocation after 30 to 60 minutes.
There are also health hazards when large amounts of CO2 are explosively released. Although the gas normally disperses quickly after leaking, it can accumulate in depressions in the landscape or closed buildings, since carbon dioxide is heavier than air. It is equally dangerous when it escapes more slowly and without being noticed in residential areas, for example in cellars below houses. The dangers from such leaks are known from natural volcanic CO2 degassing. Gas escaping at the Lake Nyos crater lake in Cameroon, Africa in 1986 killed over 1,700 people. At least ten people have died in the Lazio region of Italy in the last 20 years as a result of CO2 being released.
carbon storage and climate change targets
Can carbon storage contribute to climate change reduction targets? In order to avoid dangerous climate change, we need to reduce CO2 globally by 50% in 2050. Power plants that store CO2 are still being developed, however, and could only become reality in 15 years at the earliest. This means they will not make any substantial contribution towards protecting the climate until the year 2020 at the earliest. They are thus irrelevant to the goals of the Kyoto Protocol.
Nor is CO2 storage of any great help in attaining the goal of an 80% reduction by 2050 in OECD countries. If it does become available in 2020, most of the world’s new power plants will have just finished being modernised. All that could then be done would be for existing power plants to be retrofitted and CO2 captured from the waste gas flow. As retrofitting existing power plants is highly expensive, a high carbon price would be needed.
Employing CO2 capture will also increase the price of electricity from fossil fuels. Although the costs of storage depend on many factors, including the technology used for separation, transport and the storage installation, experts from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change calculate the additional costs at between 3.5 and 5.0 €cents/kWh of power. Since modern wind turbines in good wind locations are already cost competitive with new build coal-fired power plants today, the costs will probably be at the top end. This means the technology would more than double the cost of electricity. The conclusion reached in the Energy [R]evolution Scenario is that renewable energy sources are already available, in many cases cheaper, and without the negative environmental impacts that are associated with fossil fuel exploitation, transport and processing. It is renewable energy together with energy efficiency and energy conservation – and not carbon capture and storage – that has to increase worldwide so that the primary cause of climate change – the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas – is stopped.
Greenpeace opposes any CCS efforts which lead to:
•The undermining or threats to undermine existing global and regional regulations governing the disposal of wastes at sea (in the water column, at or beneath the seabed).
• Continued or increasing finance to the fossil fuel sector at the expense of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
• The stagnation of renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy conservation improvements.
• The promotion of this possible future technology as the only major solution to climate change, thereby leading to new fossil fuel developments – especially lignite and black coal-fired power plants, and an increase in emissions in the short to medium term.
IEA 2010 World Energy Outlook The production peak was reached in 2003