Squaring the Circle on Coal – Carbon Capture (CCS)
By Chris Hodrien
2008 Claverton Conference Paper Synopsis: Huge global reserves of coal remain, well-distributed among relatively stable supplier nations, and its production is increasing. With the recent rapid increases in oil and gas prices, especially in the UK, it is again becoming the minimum cost option for power generation and heavy industry. Large thermal (steam turbine) powerplant is also the global utilities’ preferred generating option because of its predictability/reliability, operational characteristics, retrofit to existing powerplant sites and “fit’ to the existing grid structure.
The IEA and others expect its market share to slightly increase to at least 2050. This “Business As Usual” strategy spells disaster for the planet unless carbon capture is used. Fortunately, CO2 capture and storage are both far nearer being proven than power utilities and governments would have us believe: there are three major capture options in advanced development, all of which are technically credible and should considerably undercut the real cost of wind power (certainly offshore). The author has considerable experience of both CO2 capture and underground gas storage in the natural gas and petrochemical industry. The current ‘con’ of “Capture-Ready” status will be discussed.
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