Double boost for carbon capture and storage

Carbon capture and storage may be set for a resurgence following two positive announcements about the technology this week.

The Norwegian government is to spend approximately $163m (NOK 1,314m) on building their CCS portfolio. Meanwhile the Petra Nova carbon capture system, what will be the world’s biggest CCS facility, is under development in Heuston, Texas.

Part of the Norwegian funding will go towards developing a project to realise full-scale CCS.
Petra Nova CCS system
The three industrial emitters involved in the project are Yara (ammonia production), Norcem (cement production) and Klemetsrud (waste management and energy recovery). If all three were to successfully reach a final investment decision, the project would reduce Norway’s carbon dioxide emissions by 5 per cent and significantly help to achieve the country’s contribution to meeting the global 1.5°C target agreed at the Paris COP21 conference.

The Norwegian Government also announced a three-year extension to the Technology Center Mongstad (TCM), a CCS test facility jointly owned by Gassnova, Statoil, Sasol and Shell. A new agreement on the ownership and operation of the Center will be agreed by the end of 2016.

Dr. Luke Warren, Chief Executive of the CCSA, commented: “This is a hugely encouraging announcement by the Norwegian Government and could once again place Europe amongst the leading regions developing CCS around the world.

“The fact that Norway has chosen to develop CCS on three very different industrial sites demonstrates the massive importance of CCS to sectors such as steel, cement, chemicals and refining. Industrial CCS projects such as these are important not only in terms of their contribution to emissions reductions, but also to ensuring a long-term sustainable future for these vital industries – retaining their tremendous contribution to job creation and GVA.”

“For too long people have only considered CCS in the context of the power sector. Other countries need to follow Norway’s example and broaden their approach to CCS by encompassing industry, heat and power. In the UK we are now looking to the Government to follow Norway’s lead and develop a new approach to CCS that recognises its tremendous value right across the UK economy”.

Meanwhile the Petra Nova carbon capture system under construction at the W.A. Parish Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant southwest of Houston, is slated to go online before the end of the year. Climate Wire reports that the billion-dollar facility will become the largest post-combustion carbon capture system installed on an existing power plant in the world.

“We believe that coal plants are an important part of the energy mix of the United States,” said David Greeson, vice president for development at NRG Energy Inc.. “Our challenge, then, is to mitigate the environmental impacts.”

NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp., Japan’s largest oil producer, are running the Petra Nova project as a 50-50 joint venture under the umbrella of Petra Nova Parish Holdings LLC.

The project received $300m each from NRG and JX Nippon. NRG also received $167m from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Coal Power Initiative, plus another $23m from DOE under Section 313 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 for the carbon capture system.

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation and Mizuho Bank Ltd. are also providing loans totaling $250m.

At the plant, a 240 MW slipstream of exhaust flue gas flows into the capture system, which will filter out 90 per cent of the carbon dioxide, along with particulates, sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides.

The captured carbon dioxide is pumped 82 miles to the West Ranch oil field in Jackson County, Texas, where drillers inject it into depleted wells, squeezing out the stubborn bits of crude oil that remain after the reservoir is tapped, in a process called enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Drillers estimate that the field holds 60 million barrels that could be recovered with EOR.

The EOR operations will generate the revenue that pays for the CCS system.

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