Tag Archives: Carbon capture and storage

There is space for carbon storage underground

Capturing it remains a challenge. But there should be no lack of  permanent safe carbon storage underground.

LONDON, 27 May, 2020 – There is plenty of room for more of the main greenhouse gas on this planet – as long as it’s caught and trapped in carbon storage underground. New research confirms that when it comes to storage space, there should be no problem about carbon capture and sequestration, known to climate engineers as simply CCS.

Carbon capture is written into intergovernmental plans to combat climate change: the theory is that in addition to stepping up investment in renewable energy such as solar and wind power, existing power plants that run on coal, oil and gas could trap the waste carbon dioxide and literally take it out of atmospheric circulation.

How and on what scale this could be done is still a matter for global debate. But at least there is no problem about whether there is safe storage for the compressed and liquefied greenhouse gas.

New analysis from two scientists at Imperial College London in the journal Energy & Environmental Science suggests that if capture and storage accelerates now and continues at a growing rate, along with other recommended action, then no more than about 2,700 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide would need to be pumped back down abandoned oil shafts and other reservoirs, to keep global warming to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100. This is an international target agreed in Paris in 2015.

Differences persist

Since most calculations conclude that there could be available subterranean storage space for around 10,000 billion tonnes of the gas, this suggests that storage itself is not the problem.

CCS sounds like a good idea: the prosecution of that idea has been contentious. Some climate scientists have worried that it is a distraction from the real challenge: to stop burning coal, oil and gas.

Others have been concerned with the lack of public investment; yet others have been troubled by the bigger question of whether a potentially volatile greenhouse gas can be kept in the ground safely for many thousands of years.

So CCS is at most only part of the answer to the problem: nations still have to make the switch to renewable sources, use all energy more efficiently, adjust global dietary demand and take steps to restore the world’s great forests to prevent climate catastrophe: one in which planetary average temperatures surpass 3°C, and sea levels rise by up to a metre before the end of the century.

“Our study shows that if climate change targets are not met by 2100, it won’t be for lack of carbon capture and storage space”

The first attempts to store industrial carbon dioxide exhaust began in Norway in 1996 and although progress has been faltering, over the past 20 years capacity has grown by 8.6% to about 40 million tonnes a year: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) now incorporates CCS as part of the mix of actions needed to contain runaway climate change.

The gap is colossal: right now the world emits 37 billion tonnes, or 37 Gt, of the greenhouse gas every year into the atmosphere to drive ever-faster planetary warning. The technology has a long way to go.

“Nearly all IPCC pathways to limit warming to 2°C require tens of gigatonnes of CO2 stored per year by mid-century. However, until now we didn’t know if these targets were achievable, given historic data, or how these targets related to subsurface storage requirements,” said Christopher Zahasky, who did the study at Imperial College but who has now moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“We found that even the most ambitious scenarios are unlikely to need more than 2700 Gt of CO2 storage resource globally, much less than the 10,000 Gt of storage resource that leading reports suggest is possible. Our study shows that if climate change targets are not met by 2100, it won’t be for lack of carbon capture and storage space.”

Who will pay?

The researchers considered not the space available but the pace of CCS advance: the faster carbon dioxide is safely stowed away, the less the overall need for subterranean hideaway space. But finally, the answer depends on all the other challenges presented by climate change.

“Our analysis shows good news for CCS if we keep up with this trajectory,” said Samuel Krevor of Imperial College, a co-author. “But there are many other factors in mitigating climate change and its catastrophic effects, like using cleaner energy and transport as well as significantly increasing the efficiency of energy use.”

Commenting on the study, Myles Allen, a geoscientist at the University of Oxford, said: “The good news, from this paper, is that there is a solution.

“The bad news is that CO2 capture and disposal is still completely dependent on public money, which will be in short supply over the coming decade. We have to work out other ways of scaling it up.” – Climate News Network

Capturing it remains a challenge. But there should be no lack of  permanent safe carbon storage underground.

LONDON, 27 May, 2020 – There is plenty of room for more of the main greenhouse gas on this planet – as long as it’s caught and trapped in carbon storage underground. New research confirms that when it comes to storage space, there should be no problem about carbon capture and sequestration, known to climate engineers as simply CCS.

Carbon capture is written into intergovernmental plans to combat climate change: the theory is that in addition to stepping up investment in renewable energy such as solar and wind power, existing power plants that run on coal, oil and gas could trap the waste carbon dioxide and literally take it out of atmospheric circulation.

How and on what scale this could be done is still a matter for global debate. But at least there is no problem about whether there is safe storage for the compressed and liquefied greenhouse gas.

New analysis from two scientists at Imperial College London in the journal Energy & Environmental Science suggests that if capture and storage accelerates now and continues at a growing rate, along with other recommended action, then no more than about 2,700 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide would need to be pumped back down abandoned oil shafts and other reservoirs, to keep global warming to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100. This is an international target agreed in Paris in 2015.

Differences persist

Since most calculations conclude that there could be available subterranean storage space for around 10,000 billion tonnes of the gas, this suggests that storage itself is not the problem.

CCS sounds like a good idea: the prosecution of that idea has been contentious. Some climate scientists have worried that it is a distraction from the real challenge: to stop burning coal, oil and gas.

Others have been concerned with the lack of public investment; yet others have been troubled by the bigger question of whether a potentially volatile greenhouse gas can be kept in the ground safely for many thousands of years.

So CCS is at most only part of the answer to the problem: nations still have to make the switch to renewable sources, use all energy more efficiently, adjust global dietary demand and take steps to restore the world’s great forests to prevent climate catastrophe: one in which planetary average temperatures surpass 3°C, and sea levels rise by up to a metre before the end of the century.

“Our study shows that if climate change targets are not met by 2100, it won’t be for lack of carbon capture and storage space”

The first attempts to store industrial carbon dioxide exhaust began in Norway in 1996 and although progress has been faltering, over the past 20 years capacity has grown by 8.6% to about 40 million tonnes a year: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) now incorporates CCS as part of the mix of actions needed to contain runaway climate change.

The gap is colossal: right now the world emits 37 billion tonnes, or 37 Gt, of the greenhouse gas every year into the atmosphere to drive ever-faster planetary warning. The technology has a long way to go.

“Nearly all IPCC pathways to limit warming to 2°C require tens of gigatonnes of CO2 stored per year by mid-century. However, until now we didn’t know if these targets were achievable, given historic data, or how these targets related to subsurface storage requirements,” said Christopher Zahasky, who did the study at Imperial College but who has now moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“We found that even the most ambitious scenarios are unlikely to need more than 2700 Gt of CO2 storage resource globally, much less than the 10,000 Gt of storage resource that leading reports suggest is possible. Our study shows that if climate change targets are not met by 2100, it won’t be for lack of carbon capture and storage space.”

Who will pay?

The researchers considered not the space available but the pace of CCS advance: the faster carbon dioxide is safely stowed away, the less the overall need for subterranean hideaway space. But finally, the answer depends on all the other challenges presented by climate change.

“Our analysis shows good news for CCS if we keep up with this trajectory,” said Samuel Krevor of Imperial College, a co-author. “But there are many other factors in mitigating climate change and its catastrophic effects, like using cleaner energy and transport as well as significantly increasing the efficiency of energy use.”

Commenting on the study, Myles Allen, a geoscientist at the University of Oxford, said: “The good news, from this paper, is that there is a solution.

“The bad news is that CO2 capture and disposal is still completely dependent on public money, which will be in short supply over the coming decade. We have to work out other ways of scaling it up.” – Climate News Network

Oil giant says profits are assured

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Investors are being told by Shell, the biggest oil company in the world, that the world will go on burning more and more oil − despite the threat of climate change LONDON, 27 May − Shell, the world’s largest oil company, believes that governments will not damage its business by taking rapid action on climate change, and says all its oil reserves will be needed and sold at a profit. In a robust reply to a recent report by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, Shell explains the company reasoning for investing in tar sands and other high cost and difficult-to-extract oil reserves. It says that an ever-expanding global economy, fuelled by population growth and great prosperity, will need more and more oil and gas at least until 2050. This will support high prices. The Carbon Tracker Initiative report, and subsequent research by Friends of the Earth Netherlands, says that many of Shell’s long-term, high-carbon projects in the pipeline will become highly vulnerable to losses or will simply be left in the ground when international law starts to constrain the burning of fossil fuels to limit temperature rises. But Shell says this will not happen because they do not believe politicians will take action quickly enough to avert global warming. In a long letter to investors, they say they can be assured that the company will continue to make substantial profits out of burning fossil fuels for the foreseeable future.

Growing demand

Shell does acknowledge that the renewables market will expand dramatically, and that gas will become an ever more important fuel, but says that will still not be enough to satisfy the growing demand for energy. The company accepts that climate change is a serious threat that must be tackled, and believes − along with scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change − that the temperature of the planet will rise above the 2°C danger threshold by the end of this century. But it believes that it will take many decades to alter the world’s energy infrastructure to tackle it effectively. Meanwhile the world economy will go on demanding to burn oil and so safeguard the company’s current investments. The open letter from Dr J.J. Traynor, executive vice president, investor relations, at Royal Dutch Shell, reveals that the company is placing great faith in carbon capture and storage, and is developing projects in Australia, Canada and Scotland. Many critics believe that carbon capture, while theoretically possible, has limited potential because old oil wells or other potential storage facilities where the carbon dioxide might be pumped are distant from where the fossil fuels are burned. It therefore makes the technology expensive and unlikely to be a major factor in reducing emissions. Dr Traynor says: “Shell believes that without carbon capture and storage, emission reduction will be more difficult, disruptive to the world economy, standard of living, and cause more economic hardship.” The company does believe that the technology can be made to work, and that is why it is investing in it. The letter says: “A fundamental transition of the energy system will be needed, but that will take considerably longer than some alarmist interpretations of the unburnable carbon issue would have the public believe. “Shell is focused on finding real solutions, based on current energy realities, to the widely acknowledged and real threat of climate change. “The sheer size and scale of the energy system mean that demand for hydrocarbons is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, and hydrocarbons still make up half the total energy demand in 2050, down from more than 80% today but from a larger energy system overall. “We do not believe that any of our proven reserves will become stranded.” Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands) claims that Shell’s investments will become highly vulnerable when international law starts to constrain the burning of fossil fuels to limit temperature rises.

“Shell may not decide to take the 2°C limit seriously, but the rest of the world does.”

“Shell’s investments in tar sands are five times more carbon-intense than normal gas, and 80% of their fossil fuel reserves are unburnable,” said Geert Ritsema, head of the energy campaign. “Shell may not decide to take the 2°C limit seriously, but the rest of the world does. The Netherlands, the EU, the G8 and the UN have all set this as an official climate objective. And because global reserves of fossil fuels are five times too large, Shell will have to write off the most expensive and most CO2 intensive reserves first.”

Contradiction

Carbon Tracker commented on the oil company’s statement: “Shell does not explain how it is solving the contradiction between the predictions of high oil demand and its acceptance of the need to address climate change. Carbon Tracker argues that high-cost production and growing oil demand assumptions are inconsistent with a more resilient global economy and stable global climate. “We invite companies and investors to stress-test oil demand scenarios, taking into account expected slowing economic growth in countries like China, more efficient use of oil − particularly in transport − and the substitution effect due to the introduction of cleaner fuels and technologies such as natural gas, biofuels, and electric vehicles.” − Climate News Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Investors are being told by Shell, the biggest oil company in the world, that the world will go on burning more and more oil − despite the threat of climate change LONDON, 27 May − Shell, the world’s largest oil company, believes that governments will not damage its business by taking rapid action on climate change, and says all its oil reserves will be needed and sold at a profit. In a robust reply to a recent report by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, Shell explains the company reasoning for investing in tar sands and other high cost and difficult-to-extract oil reserves. It says that an ever-expanding global economy, fuelled by population growth and great prosperity, will need more and more oil and gas at least until 2050. This will support high prices. The Carbon Tracker Initiative report, and subsequent research by Friends of the Earth Netherlands, says that many of Shell’s long-term, high-carbon projects in the pipeline will become highly vulnerable to losses or will simply be left in the ground when international law starts to constrain the burning of fossil fuels to limit temperature rises. But Shell says this will not happen because they do not believe politicians will take action quickly enough to avert global warming. In a long letter to investors, they say they can be assured that the company will continue to make substantial profits out of burning fossil fuels for the foreseeable future.

Growing demand

Shell does acknowledge that the renewables market will expand dramatically, and that gas will become an ever more important fuel, but says that will still not be enough to satisfy the growing demand for energy. The company accepts that climate change is a serious threat that must be tackled, and believes − along with scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change − that the temperature of the planet will rise above the 2°C danger threshold by the end of this century. But it believes that it will take many decades to alter the world’s energy infrastructure to tackle it effectively. Meanwhile the world economy will go on demanding to burn oil and so safeguard the company’s current investments. The open letter from Dr J.J. Traynor, executive vice president, investor relations, at Royal Dutch Shell, reveals that the company is placing great faith in carbon capture and storage, and is developing projects in Australia, Canada and Scotland. Many critics believe that carbon capture, while theoretically possible, has limited potential because old oil wells or other potential storage facilities where the carbon dioxide might be pumped are distant from where the fossil fuels are burned. It therefore makes the technology expensive and unlikely to be a major factor in reducing emissions. Dr Traynor says: “Shell believes that without carbon capture and storage, emission reduction will be more difficult, disruptive to the world economy, standard of living, and cause more economic hardship.” The company does believe that the technology can be made to work, and that is why it is investing in it. The letter says: “A fundamental transition of the energy system will be needed, but that will take considerably longer than some alarmist interpretations of the unburnable carbon issue would have the public believe. “Shell is focused on finding real solutions, based on current energy realities, to the widely acknowledged and real threat of climate change. “The sheer size and scale of the energy system mean that demand for hydrocarbons is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, and hydrocarbons still make up half the total energy demand in 2050, down from more than 80% today but from a larger energy system overall. “We do not believe that any of our proven reserves will become stranded.” Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands) claims that Shell’s investments will become highly vulnerable when international law starts to constrain the burning of fossil fuels to limit temperature rises.

“Shell may not decide to take the 2°C limit seriously, but the rest of the world does.”

“Shell’s investments in tar sands are five times more carbon-intense than normal gas, and 80% of their fossil fuel reserves are unburnable,” said Geert Ritsema, head of the energy campaign. “Shell may not decide to take the 2°C limit seriously, but the rest of the world does. The Netherlands, the EU, the G8 and the UN have all set this as an official climate objective. And because global reserves of fossil fuels are five times too large, Shell will have to write off the most expensive and most CO2 intensive reserves first.”

Contradiction

Carbon Tracker commented on the oil company’s statement: “Shell does not explain how it is solving the contradiction between the predictions of high oil demand and its acceptance of the need to address climate change. Carbon Tracker argues that high-cost production and growing oil demand assumptions are inconsistent with a more resilient global economy and stable global climate. “We invite companies and investors to stress-test oil demand scenarios, taking into account expected slowing economic growth in countries like China, more efficient use of oil − particularly in transport − and the substitution effect due to the introduction of cleaner fuels and technologies such as natural gas, biofuels, and electric vehicles.” − Climate News Network