Technology Tomorrow: The Chemistry of Carbon Capture and Storage
- Richard Pike (Royal Soc. of Chemistry)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- June 2006
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 36 - 38
- 2006. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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Editor’s note: This is the third installment of a yearlong series designed to stimulate discussion in research and development. The oil and gas industry faces the prospect of progressively increasing CO2 production because of the presence of CO2 in produced natural gas and the fact that petroleum production is becoming heavier. However, the industry is uniquely positioned to sequester CO2, no matter the source. This article features the perspective of an expert outside the oil and gas industry regarding the challenges associated with CO2 capture and storage. Comments on articles in the Technology Tomorrow series are welcome. Please send any questions, comments, or ideas to email@example.com.
Evidence linking anthropogenic carbon emissions with climate change is accepted by many experts, and the key challenge now is to act to avert disaster. Countries signed on to the Kyoto Protocol and those that have set more stringent domestic targets are now defining energy policies that balance energy efficiency and energy technologies alongside measures for energy security. In the U.K., the government is currently reviewing its energy policy and is examining a range of policy and technological measures that will secure clean and affordable energy for the long term while meeting the U.K. target of reducing carbon emissions 60% by 2050 (based on 1990 levels). It is widely expected that the U.K. will continue to rely upon fossil fuels for electricity, transportation, and heating for the foreseeable future, and, therefore, it is important that carbon-abatement technologies are employed when feasible.
The chemical sciences have played a crucial role in optimizing energy output from fossil fuels through developments in areas such as combustion chemistry and fuel additives. The chemical sciences will be critical in providing future energy technologies such as batteries, fuel cells, solar power, microgeneration, energy-efficient lighting, new nuclear power and nuclear waste management, and carbon capture and storage (CCS).CCS is not a new technology. In fact, there are a number of examples of its application around the globe (e.g., in ammonia production). It has been predicted that CCS technologies could reduce carbon dioxide (CO 2) emissions from power plants (and other energy-intensive processes such as oil refining and steel and cement manufacturing) by up to 85%. However, the technology will reduce the energy efficiency of power plants significantly and increase the cost of energy production, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Table 1).
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