November 4, 2014 / 11:04 PM / 4 years ago

Carbon capture projects rise to 22, pass coal milestone -study

OSLO, Nov 5 (Reuters) - The number of big industrial projects for carbon capture and storage (CCS) rose to 22 in 2014 and the technology passed a milestone with the start of the world’s first coal-fired power plant equipped with CCS, the Global CCS Institute said.

The Australian-based Institute, whose members include governments and companies interested in CCS to slow global warming, said on Wednesday the number of major projects, in operation or under construction, had doubled from 11 in 2010.

High costs of CCS — such as to capture carbon dioxide from the exhaust gases of power plants or to strip carbon from natural gas — have discouraged far wider CCS investments despite worries about climate change.

Canada’s Saskatchewan Power started the first major CCS project at a coal-fired plant in October, aiming to capture 90 percent of the emissions from its Boundary Dam plant after a C$1.35 billion ($1.18 billion) retrofit.

Most of the carbon will be sold to Canada’s Cenovus Energy for enhanced oil recovery.

“With large-scale CCS power projects now a reality, an important milestone in deployment of the technology has been achieved,” the Institute said in an annual review.

Among other coal plant projects, the Institute said the Kemper County Energy Facility in Mississippi would start in 2015 and the Petra Nova Carbon Capture Project in Texas in 2016.

“Construction is also under way on the world’s first large-scale CCS project in the iron and steel sector, the Abu Dhabi CCS Project,” it said.

The U.N.’s panel of climate scientists said in a report on Sunday that CCS was likely to be a key technology to enable fossil fuel power plants to keep operating this century while slashing emissions of greenhouse gases.

“Power generation without CCS is phased out almost entirely by 2100,” it said, referring to most scenarios for achieving a U.N. goal for limiting a rise in average temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

Brad Page, CEO of the Global CCS Institute, said in a statement: “We simply can’t have an effective response to tackling climate change without CCS.” He urged a “year of action” to develop the technology.

Reporting By Alister Doyle, editing by David Evans

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