Thursday, March 15, 2007

Report of the Week: The Future of Coal (MIT)

Coal is cheap--if we exclude the cost of carbon emmissions. We therefore need a cost of carbon emissions. We also need to develop the technology that can be applied on a large scale to capture this carbon.

In the developed world energy efficiency and renewables may well be able to provide all the required energy, many reports have shown this as feasible but where energy systems are growing as rapidly as in India and China this is simply not feasible.

CCS is therefore a key technology. This report looks at the current technological and economic situation and looks at the sort of policies that could ensure widespread implementation of CCS.

MIT Report: The Future of Coal
IPCC: Special Report on CCS
Previous Climate Change Action Article

One interesting point about CC is that several large scale CCS plants already exist. This is in stark contrast to the fools at TXU who have claimed that the technology is years off. One example is the Sleipner Field where gas from the North Sea is burned and captured using amines before being pumped under ground to help recover oil. Around one million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year are stored in this way.

A much larger development is currently under way in the UK:

"One such technology is available for implementation now. This is clean coal incorporating carbon capture and storage (CCS). A number of specific projects, including an 800MWe project by Progressive Energy, are already under development. A policy commitment by government is required for this, and similar projects, to proceed. The effect of delay would be for the UK to emit greenhouse gases unnecessarily for the delay period and given the UK’s leadership position in
promoting low carbon strategies worldwide the compounded effect could be very
substantial. The Progressive 800MWe project alone will capture and dispose of 5Mte carbon dioxide per year"

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At 11:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said... to emerging technologies to replace current power sources...

Canadian Prime Minister Harper announced (03/13/07) that the federal government will be funding nearly $200 million into greenhouse gas reduction measures in British Columbia (including new “green” technologies). The cornerstone to this announcement was to continue advancing the development of a ‘Hydrogen Highway’ along the Sea-to-Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler and have it functioning by the 2010 Winter Games. The Hydrogen Highway is a measure to showcase the emerging hydrogen market i.e. refueling stations placed at designated locations along the highway. The PM made a great point by suggesting that this funding is intended to decrease the gap between car manufactures and hydrogen producers in lowering the barrier to this emerging market and make it a viable consumer choice in the near future.



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