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Carbon Capture & Storage/Sequestration

CCS Bills In the Senate

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) is trying to gain support from her colleagues for S. 2152, legislation that would increase the commercial availability of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology. The “Advanced Clean Coal Technology Investment in our Nation Act of 2014” (AACTION Act) would expand the Department of Energy’s (DOEs) research and loan guarantee programs for CCS. Heitkamp believes the future of coal relies heavily on CCS technology. She doesn’t see her bill moving in this Congress, but is hopeful that her efforts to gain support from her colleagues that she will be able to push it forward next Congress.

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CRS Releases Report on Carbon Capture and Storage

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report entitled “Carbon Capture: A Technology Assessment.” The 100 page report was completed by Pete Folger, a Specialist in Energy and Natural Resources Policy for CRS. The report focuses on the first component of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), the capture portion of the technology. The report “assesses prospects for improved, lower-cost technologies for each of the three current approaches to CO₂ capture: post-combustion capture; pre-combustion capture; and oxy-combustion capture.” The report indicates all three technologies have success with a capture rate above 90 percent, but the drawback remains the expensive price tag. The issue also remains that the technologies have yet to be demonstrated on a full-scale coal-fired or gas-fired power plant. Current R&D efforts are being focused on how to reduce the cost of the technology. Government and private-sector roadmaps predict that capture technologies will be ready for widespread commercial availability by 2020.

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House Energy and Commerce to Hold Hearings on Blocking EPA Rule

The House Energy and Power Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on September 20, 2012 to discuss H.R. 6172. The bill would prohibit the EPA Administrator from finalizing any rule that would put a performance standard for CO2 emissions on an existing or new source that is a fossil fuel-fired electric generating unit until carbon capture and storage is deemed technologically and economically feasible. The hearing will begin at 9:45 a.m. at 2123 Rayburn.

First Large-Scale CCS Project Destined for North America

May 31, 2012 8:54 PM | Posted by | Topic(s): International Policy/Programs, Carbon Capture & Storage/Sequestration

Carbon capture and sequestration has been seen as a key technology in the battle against climate change. The International Energy Agency has estimated that in order to meet carbon emission goals, 100 CCS projects would need to be up and running by 2020 and over 3000 projects would be needed by 2050. As a result, countries have been seeking funding and the best available method to implement these commercial scale projects. At one time, Europe seemed like it had the ability to meet the demand first but according to a new report from Bloomberg, it appears that North America is now likely to get the first projects up and running.

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Deal Reached in Final Hours at UNFCCC Talks in Durban

December 12, 2011 11:57 AM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): International Policy/Programs, Carbon Capture & Storage/Sequestration

As the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) went into its final weekend of talks in Durban, South Africa, many doubted whether an agreement could be reached. However as the final hours approached there was an agreement reached that promised a “universal legal agreement on climate change as soon as possible, but not later than 2015.” A new group, the Ad Hock Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, was formed to begin work immediately on an agreement. The key to the agreement was getting both developed and developing countries to agree to it. Some of the other key parts of the agreement include:

  • Green Climate Fund: It should be operational in 2012 as countries have already begin pledging to it. A 20 member Standing Committee was formed to oversee it. And a program to guarantee long-term finance was agreed to.
  • Technology: the Technology Mechanism will become fully operational in 2012.
  • CCS: under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism governments agreed to allow carbon capture and storage projects as part of the CDM. Guidelines reviewed every 5 years.

CARB Approves Cap and Trade

Today, the California Air Resources Board(CARB) met to consider final adoption of a proposed cap and trade program that is part of the state’s implementation of AB 32. CARB approved the cap and trade program by a unanimous vote. At a public hearing in August, CARB reviewed and heard testimony on the Functional Equivalent Document(FED). CARB has now posted its response to the comments of the FED on its website, and reviewed them during today’s hearing. The cap and trade plan will cover 85% percent of California’s emissions. Beginning in 2013 the plan places emission allowances on California’s power plants, refineries, cement plants and other high polluting facilities in the state. Other facilities won’t be part of the program until 2015.

The cap and trade program will require polluters to buy allowances from the state. The allowances represent a specific amount of greenhouse gases per year. The allowances can be bought or sold in the marketplace. If a company has extra allowances, because they were able to reduce emissions, they are able to sell their allowances to companies that failed to cut emissions or in fact increased their emission levels. In order to allow companies to gradually get used to the program, 90 percent of the allowances will be free in the first years of the program. Companies may also purchase carbon offsets, which are investments projects that reduce greenhouse gases. Companies can use these offsets to account for 8% of their emissions reductions.

DOE Hopes to Improve IGCC Technology

September 14, 2011 11:47 AM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, Carbon Capture & Storage/Sequestration

The Department of Energy announced late last week plans to distribute $14 million in funding to six different projects in an effort to improve technology at integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants where carbon capture is used.  Secretary Chu said, “These new technologies will not only help reduce carbon pollution, they will keep America competitive, create the high-tech jobs of the future and drive down electricity costs for consumers.”  The goal of funding these projects is to promote the commercialization of IGCC with carbon capture by advancing the technologies, so they become more economical.  The six projects chosen, which will be managed by the DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), are Electric Power Research Institute, Inc (Palo Alto, CA), TDA Research, Inc (Wheat Ridge, CO), General Electric Company (Houston, TX), Air Products and Chemicals, Inc (Allentown, PA), Reaction Engineering International (Salt Lake City, UT) and General Electric Company(Houston, TX). 

Clean Coal Grants Issued

August 17, 2011 2:03 PM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, Carbon Capture & Storage/Sequestration, Clean Tech

On Monday, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued more than $51 million in clean coal grants to  university, state and industry partners. One of the beneficiaries of the grant is the University of Kentucky, who will receive $14.5 million. The university will use its funding to test its clean coal technology at the 700MW E.W. Brown plant. The project’s main goal is to capture 90 percent of the CO2 emissions from the plant without increasing the cost of electricity by more than 35 percent. Other beneficiaries of the grants include Linde LLC (NJ), Neumann Systems Group (CO) and Southern Co.

Full-Scale CCS Project Put on Hold by AEP

July 15, 2011 11:28 AM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Business Initiatives, Carbon Capture & Storage/Sequestration

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been deemed a technology that can help fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; however, it has had trouble getting off the ground. The cost of CCS, legal issues, lack of state and federal policy and lack of knowledge among the general public about the technology has prevented corporations from moving forward with it. Now a major corporation has pulled the plug, at least temporarily, on a full-scale project.

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Senate Committee to Hold Hearing on CCS Bills

May 11, 2011 12:37 PM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, Energy Policy, Carbon Capture & Storage/Sequestration

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will a hold a hearing tomorrow on two carbon capture and storage (CCS) measures.

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