CCS news

I’ve been sniffy about CCS before (its just not economic) but as about the only way to get CO2 out of the atmosphere whilst letting us continue burning fossil fuels in our merry thoughtless way it inevitably appeals to the BAU crowd. David Hone reports on a A CCS project for Canada which is at base dependent on a $15/t (t CO2? t C? Not sure. The report he cites actually just says “$15″ but that makes no sense; from context, I think they mean t CO2) tax on CO2 emissions. Interestingly, the threshold for being taxed isn’t absolute, just Approximately 100 entities with annual emissions exceeding 100,000 tCO2e (ktCO2e), are required by the legislation to reduce their emission intensity by 12% from average 2003-2005 levels but if you fall into that category (and it looks like tar sands do) then maybe CCS looks attractive.

I don’t have figures to hand, so I’ll ask Mr Google. He says that the Global CCS Institute says The cost of mitigating, or avoiding, CO2 emissions for a coal power plant fitted with current CCS technology ranges from US$23-92 per tonne of CO2. That’s a massive range (and given this is the CCS inst, I’d be tempted to think their numbers are low if anything), but the range exceeds $15, so, err, why are Shell bothering? At that price, they should just pay up. Unless… the entire thing is just PR? They know full well this isn’t economic, but tar sands have such a bad env image they’re willing to cough up a bit to make it look better?

Refs

* New Study Reiterates Affordability of Stratospheric Aerosol Systems – of course, that’s just affordability

Comments

  1. #1 Paul S
    2012/09/11

    Relevant to your ref, I found a video recently which links the old chemtrails conspiracy theory to geoengineering proposals for mitigating global warming. David Keith features a number of times.

    It’s a fun watch in some ways (and contains some genuinely interesting reflections from Keith, Ken Caldeira and others) but also seems to be quite popular, as these things go on Youtube, and seems to tap into a real uneasiness about efforts to deliberately manipulate climate (whether benevolently or malevolently). It does make me question whether geoengineering could be a politically feasible solution in, say, 50 years time. Even if understanding and technology developed to a level where experts felt geoengineering was a reasonable option, I question whether any democratically-elected government would feel able to use it to any useful extent.

  2. #2 Steve L
    Vancouver
    2012/09/11

    Sorry, I’ve got my head stuck thinking in terms of understanding paranoia (thanks Eli). Global CCS Institute? It’s global! Geoengineering? That’s one-world gov’t stuff! Let’s just remember who is pushing these solutions. If they ever got over the technological/economic hurdles, they’d still have a hell of a time with the biggest hurdle facing better solutions today — political.

  3. #3 Hank Roberts
    2012/09/11

    Geoengineering is clearly a plot to muck up the sky to dim the sunlight, so your Chinese-made off-grid solar photovoltaic panels’ efficiency drops into the single digits, and you go back to buying electricity generated by steam engines as God intended.

  4. #4 John Mashey
    2012/09/11

    It would be easier to cover Frenkand, Canada, etc with aluminum foil, or even better, cover more lakes and even ocean with solar cells or at least higher albedo materials :-) (well only part :-)) one really wants maximal solar where the solar cells are, and less in places where the albedo is like.

    There is actually a modest research project on this: ice911.

  5. #5 Brian Cartwright
    United States
    2012/09/11

    My main worry re:CCS is that demonstration projects financed by the fossil fuel industry will be used to buy more time and tolerance of that industry’s pollution. I think if the proposed cure sounds cumbersome and risky, it probably is.
    Meanwhile, though, I hear about carbon reduction happening in more sensible and useful ways, and my favorite is biochar: by burning biomass with pyrolysis much of the carbon that would have gone into the atmosphere can become a valuable charcoal product that can improve soil characteristics. Here are some of the projects demonstrating it worldwide:
    http://pinterest.com/nnumeric/what-is-biochar/

  6. #6 AA
    USA
    2012/09/11

    I think that the immediate justification of the Shell project is PR.

    That said, Shell may view it as a worthwhile R&D effort. If CCS is ever widely adopted, oil companies will be the primary practitioners, not only for their own emissions, but also for the emissions of others. Oil companies are the logical choice to build and run CCS infrastructure; maybe shell figures it’s worth a few C$ to be ahead of everyone else.

  7. #7 TheGoodLocust
    2012/09/11


    Hank Roberts
    3:58 pm

    Geoengineering is clearly a plot to muck up the sky to dim the sunlight, so your Chinese-made off-grid solar photovoltaic panels’ efficiency drops into the single digits, and you go back to buying electricity generated by steam engines as God intended.”

    Actually you would be quite incorrect. Geoengineering is a plot to reduce sunlight to acceptable levels for our reptilian alien overlords.

    That’s how I know how global warming is a scam – the reptilians invented it in order to get us to alter the planet to their biology.

  8. #8 David B. Benson
    2012/09/12

    Been through this over on Eli’s recently.

  9. #9 Marlowe Johnson
    2012/09/12

    if anyone thinks that CCS can be done for less than $100/tCO2 I have some nice property in florida for you…

    brian cartright has it right. ccs , in canada at least, is merely a PR tactic used by alberta and sask industry to deflect public concern. of course not everyone on the industry side appears willing to foot their part of the bill.

    thttp://business.financialpost.com/2012/04/26/transalta-abandons-albertas-1-4b-carbon-capture-plant/

  10. #10 Brian Schmidt
    United States
    2012/09/12

    1. Motivations for doing this may include governmental subsidies, say the comments for a post I wrote. John also has a post with good comments at Rabett.

    2. I agree with the other Brian guy above, but that’s why I’d like to see the research on CCS accelerate – let’s see whether this thing is a real option or not.

  11. [...] 2012/09/11: Stoat: CCS news [...]

  12. #12 Deep Climate
    Canada
    2012/09/19

    That CCS project is for an upgrader (bitumen -> synthetic crude oil). It would not be viable without fairly massive government subsidy, the actual cost being $72 per tonne CO2.

    http://investdb2.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/GAM.20120906.RBCARBONCAPTUREVANDERKLIPPEATL/GIStory/

    There was a proposed CCS electrical gen project (yes Alberta is *still* building coal-fired plants) but I think it got cancelled.

  13. #13 kai
    2012/09/19

    i am against government subsidies for climate research and hope the next us government will stop funding the ipcc completely