Nov 27, 2010

America - Some Climate Change Skeptics - Others Draft Carbon Capture CCS Rules

I've been interested in CCS for a while (see my 2007 CCS corrosion blog & accidental global walk against warming posts).
So while scrolling my CSS RSS feeds in Googlereader, I was intrigued to read of the CCS Facebook page and the New Technology Magazine article on world's first proposed standard for deep underground storage of carb
There are great hopes for CCS to solve the Climate Change debacle - refer World Energy Outlook & CCS analysis. But the corrosion challenges had seemed substantial to me a few years back in 2007.
Concurrently the IEA has developed a CCS model regulatory framework, whilst US EPA has been drafting rules on CCS to protect drinking water (see Duke Uni / NYT / more refs on leak concerns) and on Greenhouse Gas reporting requirements for CCS, arising from President Obama's Interagency Taskforce on CCS. In October 2010, the 1st ever USA Congressional Geo-Engineering CCS Report was released with a key message : "You're better off looking into managing the climate than ignoring it."
The Global Carbon Capture Storage Institute has developed a "CCS Ready policy assists policy makers to clearly define the project standards necessary for CCS deployment as part of a transition to a low carbon economy,” says Global CCS Institute CEO Nick Otter.
Alberta has also released a Bill on key CCS legal issues :
  • "clarification over ownership of the pore space into which the sequestered carbon dioxide (CO2) is injected;
  • allocation of long-term liability for the intended permanent sequestration of the CO2;
  • addressing the risk of the 'disappearing corporation'; and
  • the creation of a post-closure stewardship fund. "
The standard drafting technical committee (TC) consists of over 30 experts from Canada and the USA - seeking to create a Canadian-USA standard. Fortunately the committee has "representation from government, industry and environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs). A full list is available online at also deeply involved is the International Performance Assessment Centre for Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide (IPAC-CO2 Research Inc.)
Rick Chalaturnyk, a geotechnical engineering professor and holder of the Foundation CMG Endowed Chair in Reservoir Geomechanics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, is the chair of the TC. Sarah Forbes, who leads the CCS work at the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C., is the vice-chair of the TC."
They are aiming to have public discussions in 2011 and have the standard published in 2012 to provide guidelines on scientific and commercial industrial CCS (eg power stations, refineries, cement plants) for regulators and industry. Given that ultimately the TC hopes for it to be the basis of an ISO standard, it is important that those interested in CCS across the globe keep an eye on its progress. Current or proposed projects across the globe include :
As for how CCS will work - Air Pollution Facts has an interesting Youtube animation clip & another Youtube interview explaining how it works. There seem to be, broadly, three different types of capture technologies : post-combustion, pre-combustion, and oxyfuel combustion
There are a number of conferences being held covering CCS - the May 2011 conference in Bariproposes to look at onshore vs offshore CCS. An interesting analysis presented at Brussels November 2010 conference - see Miguel Bunuel.
In order to win environmental and community acceptance it will be essential that CCS can be unequivocally shown to be safe, reliable and that risks are identified and properly addressed. Strategies for community engagement on CCS are being developed by the World Resources Institute (Youtube / Platts). Mostly onshore CCS projects have been centred around sandstone, however the USA Wallula project is trying out basalt and will be monitored by the Batelle Institute.
Interesting in that Shell apparently canned a project in the Netherlands after Barendrecht community opposition. And there are other canned projects, including Ireland. Some are worried about its safety in a general sense, & liken it to nuclear waste stories from their childhood. Others raise concerns with the pipelines transporting the gas to the sequestration sites - although it is countered that such pipelines have existed for many years in the USA. Of course it all depends on temperatures, pressure & moisture levels in the CO2 gas). German research projects are also strongly opposed by community members. Costs worry many - although a Canadian amine capture method is supposed to be less resource & money demanding. More on the maths behind CCS.
Some cite : "In 1986 a large leakage of naturally sequestered carbon dioxide rose from Lake Nyos in Cameroon and asphyxiated 1,700 people. While the carbon had been sequestered naturally, some point to the event as evidence for the potentially catastrophic effects of sequestering carbon. "
It's not an issue being taken lightly : "If carbon capture and storage (CCS) fails as a method of providing clean coal, it will probably mean the end of coal-fired electricity generation in Western Europe, International Energy Agency (IEA) Clean Coal Centre manager Robert Davidson ... addressed the Fossil Fuel Foundation of Africa in Johannesburg, says that Western Europe is relying on CCS to transition coal from being a dirty unacceptable fuel to being a clean one that can be allowed to continue to fuel electricity generation."

More info on CCS from

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