Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Some CCS and STE Statistics, and Liquid Fuels from CO2

Some Carbon Capture & Sequestration (CCS) Project Statistics.  A 2014 Global CCS Institute report (click here to read the report – PDF file) indicates 22 large-scale CCS projects are currently in operation or construction, globally, and, these 22 projects have the capacity to capture approximately 40 Mtpa (million tonnes per annum) of CO2.  This 22 number is double the number from 2010.  Included in the 22 are 3 large-scale power plants and 1 steel plant.   Although 40 Mtpa represents a very small percentage of the total 2014 globally-generated CO2 atmospheric emissions (estimated at around 26,000 Mtpa), I suspect that what is learned from these hopefully successful projects will lead to an ever increasing number of CCS projects and a significant increasing percentage of captured CO2, sooner rather than later.

Some Solar Thermal Electricity (STE) Generating Project Statistics.   A 2014 International Energy Agency report (click here to read this report – PDF file) indicates that since 2010 the amount of cumulative capacity of STE facilities have gone from slightly less than 1 gigawatt (GW) to close to 4 GW.   In 2014, 5 countries had STE facilities (Spain, the highest number; United States; UAE; Morocco; and South Africa), generating about 5.5 TWh (terawatt hours)/year.  The STE-generating growth rate, along with details provided in the report, suggest that STE technology is making good progress.

Liquid Fuels from CO2.   I learned while searching for CCS and STE statistics of what seems like a monumentally important connection between CCS and STE technologies – using STE as a source of renewable energy to make liquid fuels from captured CO2.

Using STE technology as a renewable energy source to convert the captured CO2 to liquid fuels makes a lot of sense to me.  For one thing, a key problem with CCS seems to be its expense.  Using the captured CO2 as feedstock for liquid fuels (liquid fuels obviously are in great demand) allows for a large revenue stream to offset the CCS expense.  Then also, the liquid fuels can be used in ways such that the CO2 from the burnt fuel can again be recaptured (not emitted to the atmosphere) so that the process becomes the recycling of CO2 over and over again.  A result of this is the elimination of a lot of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere from power and other industrial plants, where the fuel will be used and the CO2 recaptured.  Using a renewable energy source (solar energy) and productively using an large supply of CO2, which is going to be saved, whether reused or not, seems to me to be potentially a game changer in our climate-changing world.

A 2010 article, by Jiang, Xiao, Kuznetsov, and Edwards, provides a review of the opportunities and challenges of turning carbon dioxide into fuel.  (Click here to read this article – PDF file)

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