Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology roadmap 2013 IEA

Notes from 63 page: IEA. 2013. Technology Roadmap Carbon capture and storage (CCS). International Energy Agency.

A total cumulative mass of approximately 120 Gt CO2 would need to be captured and stored between 2015 and 2050, across all regions of the globe.

Large-scale networks that transport billions of ton of CO2 annually between capture facilities and storage sites, within the same region and further afield, will need to be available to facilitate this rate of storage.

The total undiscounted investment in CCS technology from now until 2050 in the 2DS would amount to USD $3.6 trillion.

Demonstration is therefore an essential intermediate technical step with reduced risk exposure that facilitates learning-by-doing and culminates in a technology that can be sold in the marketplace with performance guarantees bankable for investors. Individual demonstration projects need be only at a scale that is sufficiently large to be representative of commercial operation. This provides the marketplace and the engineering community with new information on equipment performance,

Progress, although insufficient, has been made on a variety of fronts between 2009 and 2013 towards meeting some of the short-term milestones set in the IEA 2009 CCS roadmap,

Despite significant activity in some industrial areas, notably gas processing, CCS action in a number of key industrial sectors is almost totally absent (IEA/UNIDO, 2011). There is a dearth of projects in the iron and steel, cement, oil refining, biofuels and pulp and paper sectors. Only 2 possible demonstration projects at iron and steel plants, and one at coal-to-chemicals/liquids plants, are at advanced stages of planning (Global CCS Institute, 2013).

Save for use of CO2 in EOR, efforts in this area have not achieved meaningful results (Box 3). In addition to the challenge of achieving sufficient scale of CO2 use, quantifying any claimed reductions in net emissions – either through the long-term isolation of CO2 from the atmosphere or the displacement of additional fossil fuel use – is not always straightforward. This creates a substantial challenge to the business case for such applications. If it cannot be verified that the use of the captured CO2 permanently isolates it from the atmosphere, it is unlikely that the party capturing the CO2 would receive an economic benefit within a climate policy framework. The user of the CO2 would thus have to pay a price that covered the cost of capturing the CO2, and may furthermore need to agree to long-term contracts to provide sufficient certainty for the other party to invest in CO2 capture4.

In this same case, but when a carbon price is present and it is higher than the cost of CO2 capture and transport, the user of the CO2 would have to pay a price for the CO2 to cover the total penalty paid by the capturing facility, as the CO2 would be considered to be emitted. In another possible case, if a captured CO2 stream could be split between available geologic storage and utilization, the user may need to pay above the carbon price in order to make the sale of CO2 for utilization more attractive than its permanent storage.

Utilization of CO2has been proposed as a possible alternative or complement to geologic storage of CO2 that could enhance an economic value for captured CO2. Many uses of CO2 are known, although most of them remain at a small scale. Between 80 Mt and 120 Mt of CO2 are sold commercially each year for a wide variety of applications (Global CCS Institute, 2011; IPCC, 2005). These include use as chemical solvents, for decaffeination of coffee, carbonation of soft drinks and manufacture of fertilizer. Some of these applications, such as refrigerants and solvents, demand small quantities of much less than 1 MtCO2 per year (MtCO2/yr) while the beverage industry utilizes 8 Mt/yr. The largest single use is for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) which consumes upwards of 60 MtCO2/yr, mostly from natural sources (Box 5). Other emerging uses, such as plastics production or enhanced algae cultivation for chemicals and fuels, are still small scale or require years of development ahead before they reach technical maturity.

The main challenge is scale. Given today’s uses for CO2, the future potential of CO2 demand is immaterial when compared to the total potential of CO2 supply from large point sources (Global CCS Institute, 2011). Mineral carbonation and CO2 concrete curing have the potential to provide long-term storage in building materials. However, the mass of calcium carbonate that would result if the captured CO2 in the 2DS were used for carbonation would equate to nearly double the total projected world demand for cement between today and 2050.

Another challenge is what happens to the CO2 when it is used. In most existing commercial uses the CO2 is not permanently isolated from the atmosphere and does not assist climate change mitigation. Carbon used in urea fertilizers returns to the atmosphere during a plant’s lifecycle and fuels manufactured from CO2 release the carbon when combusted.

Status of capture, transport, storage and integrated projects today: CCS is ready for scale-up CCS involves the implementation of the following processes in an integrated manner: separation of CO2 from mixtures of gases e.g. the flue gases from a power station or a stream of CO2-rich natural gas) and compression of this CO2 to a liquid-like state; transport of the CO2 to a suitable storage site; and injection of the CO2 into a geologic formation where it is retained by a natural (or engineered) trapping mechanism and monitored as necessary

Capture technologies: well understood but expensive. The way in which CO2 can be captured depends fundamentally on the way that CO2 is produced at an industrial facility. In power generation and some other industrial processes (e.g. cement manufacture and fluid catalytic cracking in refining), CO2 is the product of combustion and is present in the mixture of flue gases leaving the plant. The separation of this CO2 requires modification of the traditional processes, often by adding an extra process step. In some other industrial processes, CO2separation is an integral part of the process. In both cases, additional steps will almost always need to be taken to remove some unwanted components from the separated CO2 (e.g. water) and to compress it for transport — all of which are commercially practiced today.

Beyond these general but very useful assessments, the current level of efforts around the world to identify specific storage sites will be insufficient for the rapid deployment of CCS (IEAGHG, 2011a). Exploring for suitable CO2 storage resources is an activity with an associated risk that a site will be found to be unsuitable (i.e. the risk of “drilling dry wells” in oil industry jargon). Today, the rewards for finding suitable pore space to store CO2 are small. There are no incentives for industry to carry out comprehensive and costly exploration works, and governments have generally not been proactive in commissioning such investigations. Yet the availability of specific storage sites that can accept CO2 injection at rates comparable to those of capture from large emission sources could limit CCS deployment.

Suitable geologic formation for CO2 storage must have sufficient capacity and injectivity to allow the desired quantity of CO2 to be injected at acceptable rates through a reasonable number of wells. It must also be able to prevent this CO2 (and any brine originally present in the formation) from reaching the atmosphere, sources of potable groundwater, or other sensitive regions in the subsurface (Bachu, 2008). In addition, the potential for interaction with other uses of the subsurface must be considered, such as other CO2 storage sites, oil and gas operations, or geothermal heat mining. One of the major technical challenges for CO2 storage is to ensure that geological formations can accept the injection of CO2 at a rate comparable to that of oil and gas extraction from the subsurface today.

Availability and characteristics of storage will have a strong influence on the cost and spatial patterns of deployment of capture and transport infrastructure (Middleton et al., 2012). It is expected that storage will be the part of the CCS value chain that will determine the pace of CCS deployment in some regions. Experience indicates that it typically takes five to ten years from the initial site identification to qualify a new saline formation for CO2 storage, and in some cases even longer. For projects using depleted oil and gas reservoirs or storing through EOR, this lead time may become shorter, but the storage capacities are usually more limited (CSLF, 2013). While the cost of storage is considered to be much lower than the capture cost, lessons from existing projects show that many years and often several hundred million dollars of at-risk funds must be made available for the development of a storage site (Chevron, 2012).

Assembling the parts still presents significant challenges. While many of the component technologies work at scale and are ready for deployment, there is limited experience in integrating the components into full-chain projects, as shown above. While technical challenges obviously remain in integrating the parts of the chain, the major impediment is the lack of policy and economic drivers. Lack of public support and poor understanding of the technology exacerbate the situation.

CO2 storage and EOR. Injection of CO2 to improve recovery of oil has been practiced commercially since the early 1970s in the United States. In 2010, there were nearly 140 projects under development or in operation globally. The majority of the projects operate in the United States, where they produce nearly 280,000 barrels of oil per day (Moritis, 2010). Projects in the Unites States inject over 60 MtCO2/yr, the majority of which should remain stored at the end of the project life. However, most of these projects use CO2 from natural geologic accumulations, and of those using anthropogenic CO2, few engage in sufficient monitoring, measurement and verification (MMV) to qualify as CCS.

Historically, CO2 is the largest expense associated with EOR projects, so most projects in operation today are designed to minimize the amount of CO2 used to recover a barrel of oil and, hence, the amount stored. While some CO2 storage projects can afford to purchase anthropogenic CO2, particularly from high purity sources (IEA/UNIDO, 2011), there are numerous commercial challenges and open questions surrounding storage in CO2-EOR projects (Dooley et al., 2010; MIT, 2010; IEA and OPEC, 2012). For example, as noted above, conventional CO2-EOR projects do not undertake MMV activities sufficient to assess whether storage is likely to be permanent; they also do not select and operate sites with the intent of permanent CO2 storage. Furthermore, because CO2-EOR consumes additional energy in the recycling of produced CO2 and results in production of additional oil that, when combusted, generates additional CO2 emissions, a CCS project involving CO2 -EOR (known as CCS-EOR) will deliver a smaller net emissions reduction than a comparable project storing CO2 in a saline aquifer (Jaramillo et al., 2009).

The lack of CO2 emissions constraints and financial incentives that could make CCS a competitive emissions reduction option is not the only barrier to private sector investment. As the previous chapter noted, the technical risks associated with installing or scaling up CO2 capture in some applications must be adeptly managed.

There are also significant commercial risks introduced by the storage component of the system, as not all storage reservoirs examined will be found to be suitable for storage. Some may be found to be unsuitable only after considerable sums have been spent on characterization, and some may perform more poorly than anticipated during operations (the case in the Snøhvit project in Norway). Furthermore, the involvement of many different parties in constructing and operating each part of the CCS chain will require that all these risks be managed through complex commercial arrangements.

Public attitudes towards CCS also play an important role. Some projects that envisaged onshore storage have faced prohibitive public opposition. Current research also indicates a varying degree of understanding and acceptance of CCS by the public in different countries and low awareness in general everywhere.

Identifying suitable storage capacity that can safely accept CO2 at desired injection rates and retain this injected CO2 is perhaps the largest challenge associated with CCS. This challenge is also exacerbated by the large amount of CO2 to be stored unless solutions are found to significantly reduce the amount of fossil fuels used globally in power generation and industrial processes.


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