“CCS is not a silver bullet. But it is a key technology in the transition to a low-carbon future and in the fight against climate change,” said Ben van Beurden, chief executive officer, Shell, while opening the company’s Quest CCS facility next to its Scotford refinery and chemicals plants in Canada.1
Quest can capture more than 1 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) CO2 for permanent storage deep underground. Shell has stressed how the technology can be applied to other industries to significantly reduce their CO2 emissions.
Similarly, utility SaskPower’s 1mtpa capacity Boundary Dam CCS project in Canada could be replicated elsewhere in the world for up to 30% less capital expenditure, the company said after the opening in 2014 of the world’s first such plant on such a scale.2
Examples of sources supplying captured CO2 for EOR include the giant Petra Nova CCS project at the WA Parish power plant, Houston, US; an Emirates Steel Industries factory in Abu Dhabi; and Yanchang Integrated CCS, China’s first large-scale project, where preparations for construction are underway.
Norwegian state-owned enterprise Gassnova has awarded contracts to ammonia, cement, and waste-to-energy plants for detailed studies of full-scale CO2 capture. If built, they would include the first examples of full-scale capture from cement and waste-to-energy plants.
The contracts are part of a large-scale CCS project, with DNV GL involvement, in which Norway aims to demonstrate a full chain of capture in existing industries, transport and flexible storage. “CCS must be applied on a large scale globally if we are to achieve the climate change targets set in the Paris Agreement,” said Trude Sundset, CEO, Gassnova. “The Norwegian full-scale project paves the way for future projects through reducing cost and risk.”
Large-scale deployments are slow
While increasing in number, deployment of large-scale CCS remains rare. By summer 2017, the Global CCS Institute (GCCSI) was tracking only 40 large-scale projects
at various stages of development.3
It defines ‘large-scale’ as the capture, transport, and storage of at least 0.8mtpa CO2
for a coal-based power plant, or a minimum 0.4mtpa for other industrial facilities including natural gas-based electricity generation.
Of large-scale projects in May 2017, seven were operational with a combined capacity of 31mtpa: a further five, with 9mtpa capacity in total, were under construction. More than 100 small-scale plants were operating.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) describes the pace of CCS deployment as being “out of step with Paris [Agreement] ambitions” and “not consistent with a 2°C pathway, let alone one well below 2°C”.4
The agency concludes that even if all projects under consideration by late 2016 were to become reality, CCS would still capture less than a sixth of the CO2
required in 2025 under the 2°C scenario.
Barriers and solutions
Shell highlighted how supportive government policy was essential in getting Quest up and running and how backing from policymakers will continue to play a vital role in developing large-scale CCS projects globally.
The cost of carbon capture relative to the cost of emitting CO2
is the critical drag on deployment.5
“Per tonne, it takes EUR60-90 to capture CO2
today compared with around EUR5 to emit it in the European Union, for example” observed Kaare Helle, CCS service leader, DNV GL – Oil & Gas. “In many countries around the world, the cost of emission is zero.”
DNV GL has more than 25 years’ experience advising customers on CCUS projects
, acting as an independent and trusted partner for assessing and communicating risks throughout the value chain offshore and onshore. The company captures knowledge into its recommended practices and standards, and advises on creating and implementing international standards such as ISO for CCS.