Less clean coal

Following in the tracks of DeSmog again. So, the $1.8B carbon capture and storage commercial scale demo has fallen apart [archive] due to excess costs (or possibly other things: here is what they say; there seems to be some dispute over the siting. Since this is probably largely a boondoggle, which town gets the jobs is probably an important part of the project). This is bad news for all the people (including Hansen) who are counting on CCS to rescue us from our woes.

[Update, 2015: it hasn’t got any less dead says Brian at Eli’s.


  1. #1 John Mashey

    In the old days, there was this thing called “progressive commitment” in R&D organizations (like my old Bell Labs).

    1) Research
    2) Applied research
    3) Exploratory development
    4) Development
    5) Scale-up and deployment

    I don’t know enough about this specific project to know, or about the current state of CCS in general, but I observe that nothing guarantees that any given project is the right one, and in particular, one must be really wary of building big projects (4 & 5) prematurely, even though people love to have them in their area.

    I can think of 2 Bell Labs projects that managed to burn $1B each (back in the 1970s, when $1B was real money :-)) by disobeying progressive commitment rules.

    Put another way, I can’t tell whether this is:
    a) An unfortunate cancellation of a project in 2) or 3), which would have been of great value in moving forward.
    b) A fortunate avoidance of a premature 4) or 5) that would have wasted a lot of money.

    Can anyone comment?

  2. #2 Sam-Hec

    any idea how much CO2 could have been offset with $1.8 billion CO2 offsets?

  3. #3 Brian Schmidt

    Isn’t the IPCC itself counting on CCS for something like 25-30% of total emission reductions to get us all out of hot water?

    It’s bad news, I think, much worse than some geo-engineering scheme falling apart.

    [I only read WGI, who don’t have to care about CCS. At the moment, in the US, CCS is obviously non-economic, because releasing CO2 is free. I wonder what price CO2 permits in the EU would have to be to simply make up the extra fuel costs for CCS? -W]

  4. #4 Dave Briggs

    From your link: projected cost overruns require a reassessment of FutureGen’s design.

    Just to look for hope and the bright side: maybe they will revaluate and end finishing the project after that? It is a very important project!
    Dave Briggs :~)

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