Carbon capture and storage: The devil lies in the details

2013-02-01 11:19 by Anja Reitz

That is not to say that current expectations are not strong. On the contrary they are still substantial. Energy related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2011 reached “a record high of 31.2 gega ton (Gt)” according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2012. If the world is to avoid a long term average temperature rise of 2 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial level, CO2 concentration in the atmosphere must be limited to 450 parts per million and emissions must be reduced to about 22 Gt by 2035. For this to happen, some drastic changes in energy consumption must take place such as improving end use efficiency, saving electricity, increasing renewable energy supply and CCS. Thus CCS is supposed to contribute 4 per cent by 2020 and 17 per cent by 2035 or about 2.5 Gt.

CCS has been practised for decades by injecting CO2 in mature oil fields to increase oil production. About 30 to 50 million tonnes a year of CO2 are injected in the US oil fields. But this looks like laboratory scale compared to the size demanded for climate change abatement. The process to be meaningful must be directed at capturing CO2 from power stations where the emissions are large. The flue gas is first treated to remove sulphur oxide then CO2 is absorbed by amine solvent and then released when the amine is recovered. The CO2 is then dried and compressed to some 100 bar ready for pipeline transport and injection in saline aquifers or depleted oil fields where supposedly it will not enter the atmosphere again.


Source: By Saadallah Al Fathi, Special to Gulf News, Published: 12:39 January 27, 2013

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