Emerging Tech: Carbon Capture Storage takes center stage

I sat in on a webinar held by The Energy Collective this week. A climate change specialist with Shell spoke, as well as an energy analyst. Among other things, they stressed the importance of the energy community as a whole to develop a successful Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) program -- for power generation, as well as downstream initiatives.

CCS helps to reduce emissions of CO2 and greenhouse gases by trapping them and injecting them into the earth. An improved and functioning CCS technology will allow the US and other countries to meet their greenhouse gas emission targets -- while still producing enough energy to meet a growing demand.

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu this week described the success of clean energy in China and other countries a "Sputnik Moment" for the US.

"When it comes to innovation, Americans don't take a back seat to anyone - and we certainly won't start now," said Secretary Chu. "From wind power to nuclear reactors to high speed rail, China and other countries are moving aggressively to capture the lead. Given that challenge, and given the enormous economic opportunities in clean energy, it's time for America to do what we do best: innovate. As President Obama has said, we should not, cannot, and will not play for second place."

CCS Programs in North America

There are a number of CCS programs currently under way, and the industry's best and brightest are certainly on the case. Its truly becoming an energy industry-wide effort.

The US Department of Energy has committed $1 billion to support the FutureGen 2.0 CCS project, using the oxy-coal combustion technology developed by Babcok and Wilcox and Air Liquide. The project will test the CCS technology at a power plant in Illinois.

While many think of coal-fired power and its efforts to become clean coal through developing CCS, the petroleum industry is also involved.

Shell just filed for regulatory approval for its Quest Carbon Capture and Storage project in Alberta, Canada, to serve its Athabasca Oil Sands Project there. Quest will be the first application of CCS in the oil sands, and the technology will likely serve as a catalyst for future applications in the petroleum realm.

In the future, CCS will likely help to reduce emissions from all downstream efforts, including refineries, in addition to natural gas-fired power plants and clean coal power generation installations.


Phaedra Friend Troy is the content director for PennEnergy.com, an all-energy website that provides oil and gas, power and infrastructure news, analysis, reports and more. Sign up for a free daily enewsletter today.

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