UK cancels pioneering £1bn carbon capture and storage competition

12238366_1001627256568874_147377248518629344_o UK cancels pioneering £1bn carbon capture and storage competition says the Graun: Two projects had been in the running to build plants demonstrating CCS at commercial scale. One was backed by Shell and SSE at Peterhead. The White Rose consortium was based at Drax, the UK’s largest power plant, but was in trouble after Drax halted its investment in September. I commented on the White Rose (Drax) thing before.

If you'd prefer to read something more hopeful about CCS, try David Hone: Shell officially open its first major carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility, the Quest project. It is in Alberta, Canada and will capture and store about one million tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum.

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After you capture it, about all the stuff is good for is pushing more oil and gas out of wells. Which is why canceling was a good thing

By Eli Rabett (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

The Quest project is to be used as Eli indicates just above.

By David B. Benson (not verified) on 25 Nov 2015 #permalink

I always thought CCS was an exceptionally dumb idea.

By Raymond Arritt (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

And as Kevin Anderson wrote, 2C was already pretty much a pipedream. "IAs it stands, the expedient and ubiquitous use of speculative negative emissions to expand the available 2°C carbon budgets, implies a deeply entrenched and systemic bias in favour of delivering politically palatable rather than scientifically balanced emission scenarios. Nowhere is this more evident than in the IPCC’s scenario database11. Of the 113 scenarios with a “likely” chance (66% or better) of 2°C (with 3 removed due to incomplete data), 107 (95%) assume the successful and large-scale uptake of negative emission technologies. The remaining 6 scenarios all adopt a global emissions peak of around 2010. Extending the probability to a 50% chance of 2°C paints a similar picture. Of the additional 287 scenarios, 237 (83%) include negative emissions, with all the remaining scenarios assuming the successful implementation of a stringent and global mitigation regime in 2010.

In plain language, the complete set of 400 IPCC scenarios for a 50% or better chance of 2°C assume either an ability to travel back in time or the successful and large-scale uptake of speculative negative emission technologies. A significant proportion of the scenarios are dependent on both ‘time travel and geo-engineering’."

By Kevin ONeill (not verified) on 26 Nov 2015 #permalink

There don't seem to have been any plans at either White Rose or Peterhead to use the captured CO2 for enhanced oil/gas recovery, at least not to any major degree.

Why is it not perfectly sensible to at least try CCS at scale? Especially if the UK is keen to carry on using gas for a while, as the current government seems to be. And more generally it's clearly needed in some shape or form if the world is going to get anywhere close to zero emissions.

The dumb thing is to spend four years building up a competitive process, only to cancel it with zero notice only weeks before the conclusion...

[CCS is fairly obviously not commercially viable now. Trying demo plants makes some sense, but its going to cost money; its a kind-of throwaway in a good cause. When the govt feels tight that kind of funding gets cut -W]

Steve, CCS technology is obvious. What is needed is a use for the CO2 that is captured and that is where research is needed although a bunny can be quite pessimistic about whether anything will come of it.

The basic approach is to take throw away energy (e.g. excess wind/solar/hydro) and use it to convert the CO2 into organics, either light (fuel) or heavy (plastics)

By Eli Rabett (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

I thought the idea was to put the CO2 underground, into depleted reservoirs, and leave it there. Capture and dispose.

By Russell the Stout (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink


Use it.

Load up a barge with concrete construction material and tanks of highly compressed CO2 in a big strong plastic bag. Sink it in the ocean deep enough that it's under sufficient pressure that the CO2 can be released and remain a supercritical liquid, so it permeates the construction material. Drop ballast or blow ballast tanks with some warmed gas. Raise barge. Build something with the newly strengthened concrete material.

Far better to tie it up chemically that way, rather than pumping CO2 down into hot wells where (same search results) the heat and pressure make it dissolve the well casing and plugs eventually.

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

by the way, that's also a way of using up some of those huge pits of fly ash waste around coal mines.
And, economically, putting all those train cars to use, freed up once they quit hauling coal to furnaces, too. Put solar panels over the trackways to power those formerly-diesel electric engines, of course.

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

"CO2 is liquid at about 73 atmospheres (30°C), that is, at about 700 meters ocean depth...."


By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 27 Nov 2015 #permalink

>"What is needed is a use for the CO2 that is captured and that is where research is needed although a bunny can be quite pessimistic about whether anything will come of it."

Would it make some bunnies even more pessimistic if a project were to announce they were changing from underground storage to pumping the CO2 into greenhouses?

(Something I heard - can't find it being announced yet but maybe it has been or maybe it is a more like a look around for some alternatives before deciding whether to scrap project.)

Reservoirs extend far into geological formations, no need to corrode casing. As far as cement manufacture goes, it's somewhere around 8-15% of CO2 and can't possibly reabsorb more than that.
Basalt seems to be the best host for CO2 but might not be necessary, which is good because I don't expect it's easy to frac.
It's very hot 5000 meters deep. CO2 is not liquid, it's fluid, but under those conditions it doesn't make much difference.

By Russell the Stout (not verified) on 28 Nov 2015 #permalink

CO2 is added to greenhouses already as a fertiliser. "Review: CO2 enrichment in greenhouses. Crop responses" Leiv M. Mortensen (1987)

However, 1000 ppm seems to be the max. that can be used. OTOH if the greenhouses were used to produce biofuel that might be a useful idea.

By Alastair Bain … (not verified) on 28 Nov 2015 #permalink

Any mafic rock will do although ultramafic rock such as olivine is best. No fraking is required as the rock has shrunk as it cooled leaving a goodly collection of starter cracks. As CO2 is pumped in under pressure it undergoes an exothermic reaction which results in a swelled material. The swelling causes more cracks.

There would be at least one insertion well and at least one extraction well. To simplify when CO2 starts coming out the extraction well the site is full. This takes a long time.

The major cost is providing suffienctly pure CO2. The usual conclusion is this is too expensive. If one can make quite pure CO2 there are ways to make transportation fuels.

By David B. Benson (not verified) on 28 Nov 2015 #permalink

I was under the impression, which could easily be wrong, that scrubbed stack emissions, cement byproduct gas or CO2 from natural gas processing could be pumped directly into depleted reservoirs, via pipeline perhaps.

By Russell the Stout (not verified) on 29 Nov 2015 #permalink

Straight out pumped storage without a use is mega expensive. Same issue as proposing to rebury coal ash and burden.

By Eli Rabett (not verified) on 30 Nov 2015 #permalink