SUCCESS in China: Summary from CO2 meeting in Beijing, August 2012
by SUCCESS researcher Maria Elenius, Uni Research, August 27, 2012
INTRO ABOUT THE MEETING
In August 2012, Senior Researcher Maria Elenius from Uni Research in Bergen attended “The 3rd Global Carbon Capture & Storage Summit 2012”. The meeting was hosted in Beijing by the Asian Coalition for Climate And Energy. Maria Elenius gave an introduction to the SUCCESS center and presented her research on dissolution trapping of carbon dioxide (CO2). The overall purpose of the conference was to explore collaboration possibilities and to discuss technology and project development of Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS). Key ingredients were on the status of CCUS in especially China, Norway and the US, and on challenges and their possible solutions. The focus was slightly more on the capture side than on the transport or storage sides. Below, Maria Elenius summarizes her impressions from the presentations and from the discussions that took place during the meeting.
DRIVING FORCES FOR CCUS R&D
The main driving forces for R&D on CCUS are: the industry anticipation of future requirement of CCUS with the use of fossil fuels; economical benefits for utilization of CO2 in enhanced oil recovery (EOR), especially in China; and responsibilities for future climate. Tore Amundsen from Technology Center Mongstad (TCM) in Norway pointed out that CCS is cost-competitive with renewable energy. However, both renewable energy and CCS will be needed, as well as other strategies, all at large scale, in order to combat climate change. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has calculated a scenario where CCS contributes 19 % of the emission reductions needed to obtain the 2005 level of emissions in 2050. China's large interest in CCUS is connected with the fact that the country has the world's largest CO2 emissions, with 78 % of the energy demand supplied from coal. Norway has taken on actions far above its relative use of CO2. The reasons are mainly: environmental responsibility due to contribution to emissions around the world by the export of oil and gas; an interest in making this export sustainable; a high level of technical expertise; and large financial resources.
Holger Bietz from Global CCS Institute presented statistics on planned and ongoing CCS projects around the world. The Global CCS Institute has collected a database (http://www.zeroco2.no/projects/list-projects), which presently (August 27, 2012) lists 51 CCS operating projects in the world, and many more in the planning stage. They list 12 projects in China, mostly related to coal-fired power plants. Three of these projects are now operating, according to the database. 12 projects are also listed in Norway, of which 5 are operating. In USA, 46 projects are listed, of which 11 are operating.
Norwegians at the summit; from left: Jens Hetland (SINTEF), Aage Stangeland (RCN), Kari Kveseth (Norwegian Embassy in Beijing), Tore Amundsen (Technology Centre Mongstad) with wife, and Klaus Schöffel (Gassnova). Photo by Maria Elenius (Uni Research).
Some of the planned or on-going projects in China that were presented in the meeting are:
Zhongyuan, capture from a refinery plant (A, 20 kt CO2 captured/year);
Songnan, capture from natural gas (A, 500 kt/year);
Shengli, capture from a coal-fired power plant, and utilization for flooding (A, 30 kt/year). This was the first flue-gas CCUS project for coal-fired power plants in China, and brought advances in both capture and flooding technologies. The enterprise emphasized the need to develop efficient absorbents, to integrate heat utilization in the capture process, and to develop CO2 flooding techniques that fit the characteristics of the reservoirs in China.
GreenGen, pre-combustion capture, and storage from 2014 (B and others, 60-100 kt/year);
Beijing, capture (B, 3 kt/year);
Shanghai, capture (B, 120 kt/year).
Shenhua, capture from a coal-fired power plant, and injection since 2011 (C, total 40 kt), Injection is into the low-permeability, low-porosity Shenhua formation. There are complications due to tunnels from coal-mining.
A=China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, a state-owned enterprise.
B=China Huaneng Group Clean Energy Research Institute
C=China Shenhua Coal to Liquid and Chemical Company
Swedish Vattenfall was planning to be competitive at the CCS market with no subsidies by 2020, in Germany. CO2 has been captured and transported to the Ketzin reservoir where 1.5 kt was stored for research purposes. A demonstration project in Jänschwalde was postponed due to problems with permits for transportation and storage. Another project, Buggenum, was canceled due to protests from environmental organizations that demanded no-coal energy solutions.
In Denmark, another project was canceled because Vattenfall could not prioritize it economically at that time.
In Norway, CO2 is captured in the TCM facility since May 2012. 100 kt/year is captured (post-combustion) by Aker Clean Carbon and Alstom. There will also be a second testing period where among others the Huaneng Group from China is competing to be able to test their techniques. The captured CO2 will not be stored in geological formations in the testing period due to high costs. However, captured CO2 is used for algae production for the fish industry. There is an agreement to build a full-scale storage facility at Mongstad. There are presently 5 formations in consideration for storage of this CO2.
There were also talks on other uses of CO2, for example enhanced coal bed methane production and industrial uses.
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
A brochure from TCM summarizes the major challenges for CCS operations, that were also mentioned in the meeting: "For CCS, the major obstacles to world wide deployment seem to be: High CO2 capture costs and unproven technology at scale, public concern over the safety of geological storage of large amounts of CO2 and lack of an internationally harmonized regulatory framework to incentivize and regulate CCS deployment." There may also be a conflict between vendors' intellectual property and efficient knowledge sharing. Additionally, Dr Roger Aines from LLNL pointed out that in USA, when oil is no longer produced, and the formation is used only for storage, the company must apply for a new kind of permit (class 6), which is more difficult to obtain than the permit for oil production.
Some of the actions mentioned in the meeting to overcome the challenges, are: R&D; experience from pilot-projects; improved international collaboration; educational programs such as “CarbonKids” in Australia; and improved communication with stakeholders.
Carmen Dybwad, CEO at IPAC-CO2 Research Inc. in Canada, talked about effective stakeholder communication and engagement. She emphasized that the goal should not be public acceptance but rather the public embracing this tool to fight climate change. It is important to always keep in mind the goal of CCS; to give concrete examples of what climate change has caused already; to include stakeholders at an early stage; and to understand who one is communicating with.
Dr Aage Stangeland from the Research Council of Norway pointed out that although there will be a need for an “energy revolution” in order to reach the IEA emission scenario mentioned earlier, it also gives large market opportunities. Also, there has already been great advancements, for example a 42 % annual growth in solar power and a 27 % annual growth in wind power. In 2011, global investments in renewable energy were for the first time larger than investments in fossil-fueled power plants.
Dr Maria Elenius from Uni Research/CIPR showed that dissolution of CO2 into ambient brine can be more efficient than what has been assumed before. This can enhance storage capacity and reduce leakage risk.