Carbon Capturing | Explained

Industrial processes that demonstrate large-scale carbon capture in commercial operations include coal gasification, ethanol production, fertilizer production, natural gas production in refineries, hydrogen production and coal-fired electricity generation. CCUS facilities have been in operation since the 1970s and 1980s, when a natural gas processing plant in South Texas began to capture carbon dioxide to provide emissions to local oil producers to improve oil production. The plant currently supplies ExxonMobil, Chevron and Anadarko Petroleum by a carbon dioxide pipeline system in the Wyoming and Colorado oil fields and is the largest commercial carbon capture facility in the world with a capacity of 7 million tons.

Company workers in a CO2 compressor plant at the natural gas recovery facility Hawiyah operated by Saudi Aramco in Hawiyah, Saudi Arabia, on June 28th, 2021. The plant is designed to process 40 billion cubic feet of sweet gas a day and is a pilot project in CO2 capture technology (CCUS) to demonstrate the possibility of capturing C02 and reducing emissions from such plants.

Norwegian energy company Equinor has announced a project to generate zero-emission hydrogen from natural gas in combination with carbon capture and storage technologies to provide clean energy in the Humber Region, the largest industrial cluster in the UK. The $2.7 billion CCS project will capture and store carbon emissions from the Norcem cement plant in Brevik. The Gorgon CCS study will capture less emissions than is needed to make CCS profitable for carbon injection projects, at an estimated cost of $2 billion.

The government says it will phase out coal and coal-fired power plants not equipped with CCS by 2025. CCS is an indispensable technology to combat global climate change. At present, it is the only technology that can help reduce emissions from large industrial installations.

Advocates of carbon capture and storage (CCS) claim that it can be used to reduce the impact of emission-intensive industries such as cement, steel, and chemicals. However, CCS will never be an emissions-free solution unless it is linked to highly polluting coal and gas projects.

Carbon capture can reduce the efficiency of installations and increase their water consumption, and the additional costs incurred by these and other factors can render CCS projects unprofitable.

Many industrial processes — such as primary steel production, cement production, and oil refining — operate within the limits of energy efficiency and carbon capture is the only technology capable of significantly reducing emissions. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) can capture 85–95% of the CO2 produced (IPCC, 2005), with net emission reductions in the order of 72–90% for the energy it costs to separate CO 2 from the upstream emissions (Viebahn et al., 2007). However, CCS is not economically feasible for most applications.

The CO2 source must be connected to a suitable storage site or pipeline, which makes CCS implementation difficult and expensive in areas where geological formations are suitable for storage.

CC technology is supposed to consume between 10 and 40 percent of a power plant’s energy. The IPCC estimates that a power plant with CCS and using mineral storage would consume 60 to 180 percent more energy than power plants without CCS. A CCS project for a single 1,000 MW coal power plant could capture 30,000 tonnes per day.

Carbon capture can be used to extract hydrogen from fossil fuels, but carbon emissions are still released into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide can be captured on chimneys and transported, for example, via pipelines to where it is to be stored, but in order to create a market for carbon dioxide, people and companies are needed to buy it so that the company can capture it.

In processes such as the natural gas reform, carbon capture technologies produce blue hydrogen (reformed natural gas carbon) and carbon dioxide (carbon dioxide) whose products can be captured, transported and stored in deep geological formations. Capture technologies separate the CO 2 produced by conventional power generation and industrial production processes from the emissions process, compress it, transport it to a suitable geological storage place and inject it. Post-combustion capture in research is popular and fossil-fuel power plants can be retrofitted to incorporate CCS technology into this configuration.

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Originally published at on September 20, 2021.



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