The second session of a series of webinars organized jointly by the Energy Delta Institute (EDI) and the St. Petersburg International Gas Forum was devoted to the topic of CCUS. The online webinar was held on July 16, 2020.
Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage technology has been known for decades. Interest for CCUS grew steadily with the increase of climate mitigation and green power production.
Carbon capture and storage technologies are an effective method of decarbonization by which carbon from combustion at power plants and other industrial sources that would otherwise have entered the atmosphere is captured, compressed, and pumped underground for reliable storage. In any case, this technology did not reach its peak, and over time, interest in it began to fade. However, at the moment, interest in CCUS technology is reviving again, not only from the energy sector, but also from such industries as steel production, cement, and the chemical industry.
Leon Stille, General Manager of EDI, touched on all these points in his presentation “CCUS Renaissance; will it finally come?” and shared his professional vision of the technology’s prospects.
The meeting was moderated by Ekaterina Kravetskaya, a Marketing Director Russia at Energy Delta Institute and Senior Business Development Advisor at N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie Representation office in Russia.
There are different ways of carbon capture. As Leon Stille says, the most commonly used method is after combustion, the same can be done at the stage before combustion, or use fuel saturated with oxygen and emit CO2 in this process. There is a system of reforming, when you can get hydrogen from methane.
Another important point that the expert drew attention to is industrial installations. Previously, CCUS was relevant for power plants, but now it can also be used in the industrial sector – steel, cement or chemical enterprises, for oil recovery and in the process of fertilizer production. “This technology has been around for a long time; the first experiments were conducted in the 1970s. CCUS could become a kind of Supplement to existing technologies. An interesting point is that CO2 is a valuable raw material – for the chemical industry, it is sold at a high price for the production of beverages,” explained Leon Stille.
What is the current stage of carbon capture, utilization and storage? According to the speaker, they began to develop in the gas processing sector, hydrogen production and the chemical industry. As for energy sector, the use of CCUS began to be developed in order to reduce the impact on the environment, but in this sector the pilot projects “did not take off”.
Continuing the topic of implementing business cases, the General Manager of EDI cited several projects using CCUS as an example. The Canadian Boundary Dam 3 project is the largest thermal power plant, which is located near the village and is engaged in coal mining: “the company has 4 units, but the system captures CO2 from only one. The project was expensive, and the company spent more than 1 billion of Canadian dollars on it. They capture 1.2-1.4 tons CO2 per year. Next to this station is an oil field, where captured CO2 and pumped into the reservoirs to increase oil recovery”.
“Another project, Northern Lights CCS, which is practically implemented. It will capture co2 from a waste to energy plant and from cement plant. The technology of capturing CO2 from waste to energy plants already exists in The Netherlands, but with the cement plant it will be the first project”.
Leon Stille explained the reason why some projects still “did not take off”. The first reason is the cost, it remained very high for years with a very insignificant decrease. That is why CO2 capture has not been successful, it must be stable in terms of investment. Another problem is public opposition. There were situations when people organized strikes. “They are afraid that CCUS will cause harm to health. Until now, there are active discussions around it,” explained the General Manager of EDI.
Moreover, a hydrogen economy that uses capture and storage technology (CCS) in the production of “blue” hydrogen can be seen as a serious potential for the flourishing of CCUS technology. “Now many people are talking about hydrogen. If you want to switch your economy to hydrogen, why not start with blue hydrogen instead of green? This is the road to decarbonisation,” says Leon Stille.
The speaker is sure that in many areas, from the point of view of the economy, such processes make sense and they have potential for development.
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This was the second webinar of the series with the St. Petersburg International Gas Forum.