Schaper Energy Consulting

The Carbon Corner - Issue #52

Published 8 months ago • 5 min read

Welcome to the 52nd issue of The Carbon Corner! In this edition, we will explore the key highlights of Engine Carbon Clear's research and the environmentally friendly and economically viable approach they're taking in capturing carbon. We will discuss a well-known CCS plants that has resumed operations and another plant that is now in question.

Join us as we embark on a journey through these relevant topics, shedding light on the most recent happenings.

Petra Nova Carbon Capture Project Resumes Operations

Petra Nova, one of the world's two carbon capture and storage (CCS) retrofits at a commercial power plant, has resumed operations, according to an announcement by JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration Corp. The project, situated at the W.A. Parish generating station in Texas, aims to remove over 90% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from a coal-fired unit. It had been offline since May 2020 but restarted on September 5, marking a significant milestone in the $1 billion endeavor. Petra Nova, named POWER's Plant of the Year in 2017, utilizes the Kansai Mitsubishi Carbon Dioxide Recovery Process to recover CO2 from flue gas and transport it for enhanced oil recovery.

During a three-year demonstration period, Petra Nova captured nearly 92.4% of the CO2 processed from the flue gas. However, economic challenges during the COVID pandemic led to its shutdown in 2020. JX Nippon acquired the project in 2022 and announced plans to bring it back online in June 2023. The facility is crucial for expanding knowledge of carbon capture, capable of capturing about 1.4 million metric tons of greenhouse gases annually. Petra Nova remains one of the few operational commercial CCUS facilities globally, with SaskPower's Boundary Dam 3 being the other. The momentum for CCS has increased in recent years, with over 30 power generation CCS projects under construction or development, driven by incentives in the U.S. and expanding to Europe and Asia, including various applications beyond coal power.

UK Grants Licenses for Carbon Storage Under North Sea

Fourteen high-volume storage operators have been granted a total of 21 licenses to inject carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas pollutants into depleted fossil fuel reservoirs and saline aquifers beneath the North Sea bed. This development could potentially accommodate 30 million tonnes of polluting gas annually by 2030, equivalent to 10% of the UK's 2021 national emissions. The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), formerly known as the Oil & Gas Authority, announced these storage licenses, marking a significant step in the UK's efforts to achieve Net Zero emissions. Notably, Bacton on the North Norfolk coast will serve as a hub for storage and energy activities, including hydrogen and electricity processing generated by offshore turbines and sub-seabed greenhouse gas and CO2 reservoir management.

Other regions like Aberdeen, Teesside, and Merseyside are also set to play a similar role. These licenses represent the first of an estimated 100 storage licenses required to meet Net Zero targets. NSTA and Whitehall officials are encouraged by the industry's interest in expanding UK storage sites. Six licenses have already been granted by NSTA, and the government has allocated £20 billion for these existing projects. Among the licensees, Acorn received grants for the Acorn East and East Mey CO2 storage projects off Aberdeenshire, operated by a partnership between Shell, Storegga, Harbour Energy, and North Sea Midstream Partners. These projects aim to store around 240 megatons (Mt) of CO2 beneath the North Sea, supporting the Scottish Cluster's efforts to store CO2 emissions offshore. This development is seen as a crucial step towards achieving a cleaner and more sustainable future, with plans for a carbon capture deployment plan to maximize future CO2 storage capacity.

Controversy Surrounds Project Tundra: Coal Carbon Capture Initiative Under Scrutiny for Emission Concerns and Cost Overruns

An environmental assessment conducted by the Department of Energy has revealed that Project Tundra, a coal carbon capture initiative proposed in North Dakota, would result in more greenhouse gas emissions than it would store. The assessment has also been criticized for numerous errors and a failure to meet basic life cycle assessment standards. Despite these concerns, the Department of Energy is considering funding the project, even though cost estimates have nearly doubled, engineering studies have taken three times as long as originally planned, and emissions reduction claims have been scaled back. The environmental assessment found that Project Tundra would likely not be built without federal funding.

The assessment includes a life cycle analysis that estimates the project would emit more than three tonnes of CO2 equivalent per tonne of CO2 stored. The errors in the assessment are numerous and often structural, raising questions about the competence of the analysis. The DOE has not provided a satisfactory response to the issues raised in the assessment. The project's engineering study, originally expected to take 15 months, has faced numerous delays and extensions, with the cost estimates increasing significantly.

Project Tundra's cost estimates have nearly doubled from approximately $1 billion to $1.94 billion. Additionally, claims of a "95% CO2 reduction" have been revised to a "90% capture rate" and further to "4 million metric tons of CO2 captured annually." Despite these concerns, Minnkota Power, the operator of the coal plant, is aiming for a 74% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from the Milton R. Young coal plant, and this figure does not account for upstream emissions. The project's future remains uncertain, with a decision on construction expected in early 2024.

Engine Carbon Clear's Innovative Research Harnesses Sargassum Algae for Carbon Capture and Climate Change Mitigation

Engine Carbon Clear Ltd, a prominent player in environmental solutions, has initiated groundbreaking research to revolutionize carbon capture technology and combat climate change. Their pioneering work centers around harnessing the potential of Sargassum algae in innovative Marine Permaculture Array projects located in the Caribbean and South America. Climate change, driven by carbon emissions, is a pressing global issue, and Engine Carbon Clear is dedicated to finding innovative solutions.

Sargassum algae, a natural marine organism, has emerged as a potential hero in the fight against climate change. Engine Carbon Clear's meticulous research and development efforts are focused on utilizing this abundant seaweed as a potent tool for carbon capture. The research explores methods to optimize the carbon sequestration capabilities of Sargassum algae. The company's visionary project involves creating state-of-the-art Marine Permaculture Arrays strategically positioned in the Caribbean and South America to facilitate controlled growth and management of Sargassum algae for maximum carbon capture.

Schaper Energy Consulting is a professional engineering firm offering carbon strategy services to CCS site developers. Check out some examples of our projects here:

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