Design funding has come through for a carbon capture project that will be happening at the top of Scotland. In this project, greenhouse gas emissions are going to be caught by the project and sent to a gas field that is owned by Shell Oil. The carbon capture and storage can then help to produce more energy than the gas field could produce on its own.
The goal is to help with climate change in the region and ensure that there is enough ready energy in the UK. While these plants are expensive, the government is pitching funds to ensure that projects are able to go ahead so that there will be no delays.
The faster these projects are completed, the faster that carbon capture can be shown to be a viable energy source for large power companies that have long relied on coal and natural gas.
A coal capture project that the DOE has gone ahead with designed to help show how viable coal capture projects can be. The overall investment of about $1 billion is going to a Meredosia, Illinois project that will capture greenhouses gases at the coal-fired plant and store them underground.
FutureGen 2.0, as the project is being called, will be able to produce clean coal by reusing the greenhouse gases that are produced during the coal firing process. However, detractors say that this is just a way to get around using alternative energy. Proponents of the project simply say that the “war on coal” has gone on too long and this is a way to keep coal viable into the future.
Regardless of which side of the debate you are on, a reduction in greenhouse gases is a good thing, but one must wonder if this is a stroke of bad luck for alternative energy.
Recently the EPA proposed to place limits on the carbon pollution from new fossil fuel power plants, which would be required not only to capture some of the carbon dioxide produced, but also to produce a smaller amount in the first place.
The regulations include:
• Coal plants having a 500 kg per megawatt hour of producing power limit on carbon dioxide pollution.
• Natural gas plants limitations of just over 450 kg per megawatt hour of pollution of carbon dioxide.
Opposition to this was expected to be strong, with companies stating that implementation of these regulations would not be commercially feasible. The first version of the rules alone received a staggering 2.5 million comments before removal to address procedural issues.
Some experts believe that these new rules could help the U.S. economy progress to a low carbon future, and with the slow integration over 7 years of these standards that this was very do-able.
An additional flexibility that the EPA stated would be that plants would have to collect a portion of their carbon pollution. While advocates in the industry have argued that this change will be necessary for fighting climate change, the research and development is still in a very early stage.
On top of this, the power industry is shifting towards natural gas to generate electricity, which could mean that the market for plants with included carbon-capture equipment could be as far as decades away.
The EPA on recently announced new regulations that would see a limitation on the amount of carbon produced by new power plants in the U.S. These rules would allow sustainability for the coal industry by implementing the expensive, albeit early-stage carbon capture technology as a means of a cleaner future. The innovation of this technology isn’t the only hurdle though, with market demand potentially posing a problem.
While many think this is a positive move by the EPA, coal industry companies argue that this will only stifle innovation into clean-coal technology. Further statements argue that this expensive and energy-intensive technology could reduce the total power generation of their plants by a staggering 30%.
Despite these regulations and the hopes of the EPA, the future for this technology looks grim. The cheap and bountiful resources of natural gas alone threaten to make coal obsolete, and without a market for coal there would be a similar effect on the technology for carbon capture and storage. This doesn’t stop the motivation of some natural gas companies however, who anticipate the integration of these rules in future and have started to begin innovation with CCS.
For more information, read here: http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2013/0920/New-EPA-rules-Coal-s-future-depends-on-cheap-carbon-capture