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CCP - FAQs - About CCS: General

In summary, what are the main elements of CCS?

In essence, CO₂ Capture and Storage (CCS) is the term used to describe a set of technologies aimed at capturing carbon dioxide emitted from industrial and energy-related sources like power plants, refineries and other industrial processes like cement manufacture before it enters the atmosphere, compressing it, and injecting it deep underground in secure geological formations, and ensuring it remains stored there indefinitely.

As CO₂ is pumped deep underground into the chosen formation it is initially trapped by impermeable cap-rock. It is compressed by the higher pressures and becomes essentially a liquid (a supercritical fluid which has the viscosity of a gas and the density of a liquid), which then becomes trapped in the pore spaces between the grains of rock.

Depending on the physical and chemical characteristics of the rocks and fluids, a variety of trapping mechanisms take place. Some take immediate effect, others take time, but provide increased storage security.

The longer the CO₂ remains underground, the more securely it is stored.

What CCS demonstrations or pilots are up and running at the moment? Are these successful?

There are a number of CCS demonstration plants up and running, including, for example: Sleipner, Schwarzepumpe and In Salah, most of which involve the CCP member companies in some form.

Each of these projects has proven to be a successful deployment of CCS technology and the CO₂ that is currently being processed is transported and stored safely and efficiently. As the industry trials bigger and more sophisticated pilots, we expect to build upon this record of success.

What does “bridge technology” mean when referring to CCS?

“Bridge technology” means that CCS technology has the ability to enable us to transition from today’s carbon-intensive economy and way of life, to a much lower carbon future without massively impacting on current levels of economic development and living standards. It means that CCS provides a short and medium-term solution to meeting pressing emissions goals, particularly while renewables are scaled up to replace fossil fuels as a source of energy in the longer-term.

Do the participant companies believe that deploying CCS while burning fossil fuels will contravene efforts to make renewable energy capacity more affordable?

CCS is a bridge to a more secure, less carbon-intensive energy future. CCS is not a replacement for renewable energy build but instead aims to more quickly address carbon dioxide emissions while renewable energy capacity can be built and optimized.

What would convince your members or a utility company that it is worth investing a sum like this?

The cost of ignoring the world’s pressing challenge of vigorously cutting carbon dioxide emissions is far higher than the cost of investing now in proven technology. On a more immediate cost/return perspective, the prospect of a functional emissions cap and trade program will necessitate companies like utilities and companies working in the energy industry to reduce emissions significantly or find production to become increasingly expensive and unprofitable.

How supportive have your government partners been? Can you outline the level of sponsorship and the types of funding that the project has received from the public sector?

Our government partners were indispensable in providing resources both through financial support and human capital. The research that took place at a government level worked in concert with member company work as a collaborative partnership. More explicitly, the Project was funded mainly by the participant companies (70%) but with significant support from government participants (30%).


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