Every day, stakeholders across the energy spectrum are taking steps towards deploying carbon capture on a larger scale. Recent successes and studies consistently affirm the role of clean coal innovations in powering America’s growth with a cleaner, more stable, domestic energy source.
American Electric Power’s Mountaineer Plant, working with Alstom Power, recently concluded test operations of one of the world’s largest carbon capture and storage project thus far. The results were very successful, capturing as much as 90 percent of the CO2 from the test slipstream and permanently injecting it into the rock formations below. As the Carbon Capture Journal explains, the project is now moving into a second phase:
The formal testing program for the validation project has now been successfully completed. Analysis of the operating results have validated the predictions of Alstom’s process simulation models in terms of energy penalties, CO2 capture rates and ammonia losses, providing further confidence in the robustness of the design for a large-scale demonstration project planned for Mountaineer that would have the ability to capture up to 1.5 million metric tons per year of CO2.
CCS projects like AEP’s Mountaineer plant are on the cutting edge of technology, contributing to America’s energy security while creating good paying jobs. A new report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and The University of Texas at Austin underscores the need for these projects:
According to the report, the potential for storage of carbon emissions through enhanced oil recovery is vast. Scientists believe the principal zones for combining EOR [Enhanced Oil Recovery] and CCS could accommodate 3,500 gigawatt-years-equivalent of CO2 from coal power plants… As a tool for enhanced oil recovery, CO2 injected underground could boost domestic oil production by as much as three million barrels a day by 2030, according to one estimate, an increase of more than 50 percent over current levels.
The report adds that the U.S. must “accelerate efforts to pursue carbon capture and storage… including regulatory changes,” because “such a boost to U.S. energy security would simultaneously help reduce the country’s carbon footprint.” Regulations and job creation were also a theme at the Eastern Coal Conference this year. Ross Eisenberg, environmental and energy counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, explained the problem with stalled energy projects:
If just a few of the projects instead moved forward, he said – perhaps because of new rules that could shorten the lengthy permitting process – it could bring billions of dollars of investment into the economy and create tens of thousands of jobs. If all of them were built, he said, the figure would be hundreds of billions of dollars – and hundreds of thousands of jobs. But that investment isn’t happening right now, and those jobs are not being created, according to Eisenberg. And the federal regulatory climate makes it unclear what – if anything – will be able to get a permit in even the near future.
Projects like the AEP Mountaineer plant and the SWEPCO Turk Plant in Southwest Arkansas are already creating American jobs through energy innovation. CO2 is being captured and stored in other projects around the country, and research and investment is advancing daily. Coal is one of America’s most abundant energy resource, and with projects like these, it will be a source of innovation and job creation well into the future.