Archive for August, 2010

The Coal Wire: CCS Technologies From Development To Deployment

 

TheCoalWire Last
week, carbon capture and storage became one of the many new
entries to the Oxford English Dictionary
. But some may wonder how
long it’s going to take
until we have mastered CCS technology.

 

The
fact is that we’re continually making great progress on bringing these new
technologies to the marketplace. Just last week, the Department
of Energy
blogged about its continued partnership with the private sector
in developing viable CCS technologies to deploy:

 

The Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program
realizes that developing economically competitive CCS technologies is critical
to enabling the use of our vast domestic coal resources without emitting CO2
into the atmosphere. To this end, ARPA-E has funded 16 projects through the Innovative
Materials and Process for Advanced Carbon Capture Technologies (IMPACCT)
program
, which focuses on technologies that capture CO2 from
existing coal-fired power plants. This program has been designed to accelerate
the most promising ideas in basic research toward large-scale
demonstrations. 

 

In
this edition of The Coal Wire, we showcase some of the investments being made
by the public and private sectors into the research, development and deployment
of carbon capture and storage:

 

The
Associated Press
Basin Electric Project Still Seeking CO2 Customers
(8/19)
: “Basin
Electric Power Cooperative is searching for customers to buy the carbon dioxide
it plans to retain in an experiment to reduce emissions of the gas from its
Antelope Valley power plant, a company official said … One crucial element is
whether Basin can find customers for the carbon dioxide that would be captured
from one of Antelope Valley’s two 450-megawatt generating units, he said. A
potential buyer is the oil industry, which uses carbon dioxide to increase
production in some geologic formations … Great Plains processes lignite coal to
make synthetic natural gas and retains much of the carbon dioxide in the
process. It ships the gas by pipeline to southern Saskatchewan, where oil
producers pump it underground to increase oil production. The plant retains
about 3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually … Carbon dioxide that
cannot be sold could be pumped underground into saltwater aquifers in western
North Dakota for permanent storage. One large aquifer is beneath the Freedom
lignite coal mine, eight miles northwest of Beulah, which supplies coal to the
synfuels plant and Antelope Valley station.”

 

Steamboat
Today
of Steamboat Springs, Colo. – Carbon Sequestration Project Wraps
First Phase Near Craig (8/20)
: “After three months of scouring the area
surrounding Craig, a team of nine geologists have finished preliminary data
gathering to determine if the area would be suitable for carbon sequestration.
Carbon sequestration is the process by which carbon dioxide emissions from
power plants and other sources are captured and injected into the ground … The
three-year research project is being done to see if sandstone reservoir rock
formations thousands of feet underground would be able to hold captured carbon
dioxide.”

 

R&D
Magazine
New Approaches To Meet The Carbon-Capture Challenge (8/17): “Researchers at the
Georgia Institute of Technology are using funding from the Advanced Research
Projects Agency – Energy – also known as ARPA-E – to pursue two different, but
related, approaches for removing carbon dioxide from the flue gases of
coal-burning power plants. Power plants produce approximately one-third of all
carbon dioxide emitted in the United States each year.  The researchers
will attempt to use the unique high-density properties of hollow fibers to
develop cost-effective techniques for removing large volumes of the greenhouse
gas from the emissions. In one project, awarded directly to Georgia Tech,
researchers are developing hollow-fiber composite membranes that will use
nanoporous metal-organic framework materials to separate carbon dioxide from
the flue gases.  In the other project, Georgia Tech researchers are
assisting colleagues at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in developing hollow-fiber
sorbents that will soak up carbon dioxide like a sponge – then release it when
heated.”

 

The
Associated Press
Grant Helps Fund Wyo. Univ. CO2 Storage Research (8/18):
“University
of Wyoming researchers have received a $1.5 million federal grant to study how
much carbon dioxide can be permanently stored underground. UW’s project was one
of 15 nationwide to receive money from the U.S. Energy Department for studying
various facets of carbon capture and migration in different types of geologic
formations … The hope is that the research will help the U.S. reduce emissions
of greenhouse gas as well as develop and deploy near-zero-emission coal
technologies.”

 


Small Businesses Rely On Affordable Coal-Based Electricity

 

Vice
President Joe Biden is talking about the economy as he visits a Chrysler
supplier park in Toledo, Ohio today. Strengthening Ohio’s economy, as well as
the nation’s, depends on having a reliable supply of affordable, domestic
energy that allows businesses to grow and create jobs.  

 

The
Buckeye State gets nearly all its power from coal, taking up 85.8 percent of the electric
power capacity
in the state as of June 2009. But coal-based electricity
isn’t only providing energy for large businesses like Chrysler.  

 

In
this video, Olivia Albright, a small business owner in Toledo, talks about how
coal provides the low-cost electricity she needs to keep her company
competitive: 

 

 


CCS Among New Entries Into The Oxford English Dictionary

 

It
was only two
weeks ago
when President Obama called clean coal technology integral in
“jump-starting a new American clean-energy industry.” And it was only one
week ago
when the White House Task Force on Clean Coal Technology released
its report recognizing the essential roles that the coal-based electricity
industry, as well as carbon capture and storage technology, have to play in our
nation’s clean energy future.

 

Now,
because of the worldwide discussion on clean energy, Oxford English Dictionary
has added carbon capture and storage to its list of new word entries, as
reported by USA Today’s Greenhouse blog
:

 

Do you know what carbon capture and storage
is? By definition it means the process of trapping and storing carbon dioxide
produced by burning fossil fuels.

 

It is one of two terms related to climate
change featured in the new edition of the Oxford Dictionary of English
published Thursday, the Guardian
reports.

 

Within
this discussion on clean coal technologies, many of you have asked when one
sequesters carbon, where do we put it
. The fact is that the CO2 that was in
the ground (in the form of coal) is released when the coal is combusted. With
advanced technology, we can capture that CO2 before it goes into the atmosphere
and put it back into the ground.

 

This
is not a new concept, as the oil and gas industry has been injecting CO2 into
existing oil and gas wells for decades in order to increase production. In
fact, some of the captured CO2 from coal-based power plants can be used to help
increase domestic oil and gas production (thus also helping reduce our reliance
on foreign oil). There will also be other beneficial uses for captured CO2, and
while there will need to be a clear and specific set of regulatory policies to
ensure that we’re safely storing CO2 and monitoring it, there is no reason to
believe that this cannot be done.


CCT On Campus: Developing The Next Generation Of Clean Energy Technologies

 

CCTonCampus With
the recent release of a report from the
White House Task Force on Clean Coal Technology
showing coal’s important
role in America’s clean energy future, the Department of Energy announced $21.3
million worth of carbon capture and storage research funding
over the next
three years. These grants not only show the cooperation
between government and the private sector
when it comes to producing
cleaner energy, they
also showcase strong partnerships between government and universities to keep
developing and deploying these next
generation technologies.

 

In
this CCT on Campus update, we want to showcase what some of these universities
will be developing when it comes to CCS technology:

 

The
Department of Energy
Geological Carbon Sequestration, Spelunking and You
(8/11)
: “Today,
Secretary Chu announced the selection of 15 projects aimed at developing and testing
technologies to store CO2 in oil and gas reservoirs, deep saline formations,
and basalts (just to name a few). Funded with $21.3 million over three years,
these CCS projects will help us gain a deeper understanding of the many factors
impacting the advancement of safe and commercial scale CO2 storage. The
Carbon Sequestration Atlas
, created by DOE’s National Energy Technology
Laboratory, estimates there are more than 3,500 billion metric tons and 1,100+
years of CO2 storage potential in the U.S. and Canada. The 15 university teams
and companies selected today will tackle the critical challenges to tapping
this vast storage potential, including capacity, leakage risk, injection rates,
plume migration and containment.”

 

The
Associated Press
Colorado School of Mines Gets Federal Grant To Research
Carbon Sequestration (8/11)
: “The Colorado School of Mines in Golden will
receive a $510,000 federal grant to help develop technologies to store carbon
dioxide in geologic formations as part of efforts to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas
emissions … The School of Mines says its project’s aim is to improve the
understanding of the geology’s effect on the mechanism of trapping carbon
dioxide. The research is expected to lead to more realistic predictions of
storage capacity and the risk of leaking.”

 

The
Billings Gazette
Montana, Wyoming Get Funds For Carbon Research (8/11): “Montana State
University received $1.6 million for researching ways to seal injection wells
using a liquid-like mixture of carbon dioxide … Researchers believe they can
use a CO2 solution to coat the small openings. A microbial interaction should
then create a bond with the rock producing a tight seal. MSU is collaborating
on the project with the University of Alabama-Birmingham … The University of
Wyoming received $1.5 million to determine ways of storing carbon dioxide in
the Rock Springs Uplift, a geological formation capable of holding 750 million
tons of CO2, according to the Wyoming State Geological Survey. WSGS estimates
that uplift storage would allow two large coal-fired power plants to meet
clean-coal standards.”

 

The
Associated Press
Yale Receives $1.5M US Carbon Capture Project (8/11): “The U.S. Department
of Energy says it has picked Yale University for a $1.5 million project to
develop technologies to store carbon dioxide … Yale will study questions about
the chemical and mechanical processes for carbonation to be practical on a
large scale.”

 

The
Houston Chronicle
Texas Research Institutes To Receive $2.2 Million Grant
From The Department of Energy (8/12)
: “The University of Texas at Austin and Fusion
Petroleum Technologies, Inc. in The Woodlands will receive $2.2 million in
funding to research new ways to store CO2 — a greenhouse gas that scientists
say leads to climate change — in underground wells. Texas research institutes
received three of the 15 grants awarded across the country, the most of any
state. Roughly $1.4 million will go towards two projects at UT Austin, and
$780,000 will go to Fusion Petroleum Technologies.”

 

The Associated Press
DOE Giving SC School $450K To Study Carbon Dioxide (8/12): “Assistant Energy
Secretary James Markowsky said Wednesday that Clemson University will receive
$450,000 from the agency over three years. Clemson says its research will focus
on developing ways to safely store carbon dioxide in formations like depleted
oil reservoirs and unmineable coal seams.”

 


Four Decades Of Producing Cleaner Energy

Last Thursday, the White House released a report from its Task Force on Clean Coal Technology showing that carbon capture and storage is an  essential way to meet the our goals of reducing CO2 emissions while acknowledging the important role coal will play in diversifying our nation’s energy portfolio and economic growth. As President Obama visits Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin today to speak to employees of a energy storage and battery technology company, it’s important to note that CCT not only makes the coal-based electricity industry a part of our clean energy future. In fact, the industry has a four-decade history of producing cleaner energy.

Many of you have asked the simple question of just how clean the industry’s clean coal technology is.

Thanks to over $90 billion invested in advanced technologies, the environmental footprint of coal-based generation has been significantly reduced. Since 1970, emissions of sulfur dioxide have been reduced overall by 37%, nitrogen oxides by 12.9%, and particulate matter by 88.5% even as the use of coal to generate electricity to meet growing energy demand nearly tripled.
Continued development of clean energy technology will only enhance our ability to harness emissions. The next frontier of research and development stands to lower even further the footprint of coal-generated electricity.

What is that next frontier? It’s carbon capture and storage, technology that both government and the private sector have made significant
investments
in already. As ACCCE President and CEO Steve Miller said last Thursday:

CCS represents the next wave of clean coal technology, allowing us to safely capture and store carbon dioxide. Investments in this technology are critical, and we look forward to a continued partnership between the private sector and the federal government to ensure its development.


ACCCE Statement On Finding From The White House Task Force On Clean Coal Technology

The following
statement was released today by the American Coalition for Clean Coal
Electricity (ACCCE) President and CEO Steve Miller after the Obama
Administration’s Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage released
their comprehensive strategy. 

 

“We are gratified
that President Obama and his Administration have recognized that carbon capture
and storage (CCS) technology is an essential way to meet the nation’s goals to
reduce global concentrations of CO2.  Their report also acknowledges the
important role that coal has played and must continue to play in order to help
satisfy our nation’s energy needs and support economic growth.

 

“It is crucial that
there is broad agreement on the importance of the U.S. playing a dominant role
in developing these technologies, so that we can continue to tap our domestic
energy resources and create good, American jobs.

 

“We look forward to
carefully reviewing the task force’s work, and we will continue to work toward
an economically-sound path forward for the development of carbon capture and
storage (CCS) technology. 

 

“Coal generates
nearly half of our nation’s electricity, and continues to keep electricity
affordable and reliable for American families and businesses.  Thanks to clean
coal technology, new coal-fueled power plants will have the capacity to safely
capture and store carbon dioxide emissions.

 

“CCS represents the
next wave of clean coal technology, allowing us to safely capture and store
carbon dioxide.  Investments in this technology are critical, and we look
forward to a continued partnership between the private sector and the federal
government to ensure its development.”

 


Baseload Power vs. Peaking Power: Why Coal Must Be The Foundation Of Our Energy Portfolio

 

During the summer
months, we know that electricity demand historically is at its peak. And with
energy demand continuing to go up, we’re going to need all of our available
domestic energy resources to help meet that demand, including more coal.
Why?

Electricity is
produced in base-load power and peaking power
. Baseload power is the
energy necessary to keep the electricity grid energized and meet a constant
demand. Peaking power is energy that comes on and off throughout the day, when
electricity usage and energy demand goes up. Peaking power uses intermittent
power resources like solar and wind that produce electricity only when there’s
sufficient direct sunlight or sufficient sustained wind speed. For baseload
power, you must use hard-path fuels such as coal, which can provide power 24
hours per day.

Personal income
levels are decreasing across America according to the Commerce Department, yet our need for electricity continues to grow.
Coal is a domestically abundant and affordable source of base-load
power. Investing in coal as the foundation of our energy portfolio is the key to
keeping America running.

 


The Coal Wire: CCT a Great Investment for the Country and the Environment

 

TheCoalWire On Wednesday,
President Obama and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) found
something they could agree on: the
need for clean coal technology
. Public-private partnership is going to be
needed to ramp up CCT, and the President and Senate Minority Leader understand
that clean
coal technology investments show great returns for American taxpayers
.  

 

In this week’s Coal
Wire, we feature stories that show clean coal technology to be a smart
investment for the country and for the environment: 

 

Department
Of Energy
Seven Universities Selected To Conduct Advanced Turbine Technology Studies (8/4):
“Seven universities
have been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct advanced
turbine technology studies under the Office of Fossil Energy’s (FE) University
Turbine Systems Research (UTSR) Program. The universities – located in Georgia,
Texas, North Dakota, Louisiana, California, and New York – will investigate the
technology needed for the clean and efficient operation of turbines using
coal-derived systhesis gas (syngas) and high hydrogen content (HHC) fuels. This
technology is crucial to developing advanced coal-based power generation
processes, such as integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), and eventually
deploying IGCC power plants that capture and sequester carbon dioxide, a major
greenhouse gas.” 

 

Environmental
Leader
CCS Technologies to Capture 65% and 90% of CO2 Emissions at Coal
Power Plants (7/28)
: “A proposed clean
coal power plant in Illinois is expected to capture at least 65 percent of its
carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions with carbon capture and storage (CCS), while a
pilot CCS project at a conventional coal power plant will capture about 90
percent of CO2 emissions.”

 

ClimateBiz
Tampa Electric and Siemens Join Forces to Capture Carbon (8/2):
“Siemens will help a
Florida power generator capture the carbon dioxide emissions from a coal-fired
power plant on Tampa Bay. … Tampa Electric also said last week it would pursue a
second project aimed at bringing down the cost of CCS technology at an
integrated gasification combined cycle plant. The unit will be tested at the
Polk Power Station, one of the country’s most efficient power generation
units.”

Bloomberg
Carbon Capture Closer to Profit as Brent Rally Continues: Energy Markets
(8/4)
: “Capturing pollution
from European power plants and using it to force oil from underground reservoirs
may turn a profit for the first time as crude prices rise toward $100 a barrel.
… E.ON AG, Germany’s biggest utility, and Sweden’s Vattenfall AB are among
companies seeking about 4.3 billion euros ($5.7 billion) in European Union
subsidies for carbon capture and storage. Regulators want to introduce the
technology to help curb the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
‘Projects are not far from becoming profitable,’ Greenwood said from London.”

 

ReCharge
– US and Canada Give $5.2M to Landmark CO2 Storage Project
(7/30)
: “This project is an
example of what we can accomplish when we leverage the technical expertise in
both countries to deploy clean energy technologies,” says US energy secretary
Steven Chu. “Working together, we have not only reduced carbon pollution, we
have demonstrated that carbon capture and storage technology can play an
important role in a clean energy future.” Canada’s minister of natural
resources, Christian Paradis, adds: “These investments by Canada and the US
demonstrate our leadership and expertise in carbon capture and storage
technology.”