Understanding Carbon Capture and Storage
We’ll admit that that carbon capture and storage (CCS) may not be the sexiest topic, and it may not win you any favors at your next cocktail party (do people still have those?). With that said, CCS is immensely beneficial for businesses who utilize it correctly, and it’s also good for the planet. Win-win, right?
Carbon capture is the process of trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) and preventing large amounts of it from entering the atmosphere. CCS involves the following steps.
The process of separating CO2 from other gases produced at large industrial facilities including coal and natural gas power planst, steel mills, cement plants, and oil and gas plants.
After the CO2 has been separated, it gets compressed and transported through pipelines, ships, or trucks to a site for geological storage.
The CO2 is then stored in deep underground rock formations.
The goal of doing so is to prevent large releases of CO2 into the atmosphere, in a bid to reduce fossil fuel emissions and ocean acidification. When stored deep underground, under porous areas of rock (such as a depleted oil or gas field), the CO2 is held in place by immense pressure, effectively trapping the CO2 in a way that mimics natural storage of hydrocarbons like oil and natural gas.
Carbon capturing is expensive, and historically has offered little economic benefit to companies - together, those two factors have largely inhibited CCS from more widespread use. However, Carbon Clean Solutions is working to change that. Our technology allows you to reuse or sell captured carbon emissions. Yes, you read that correctly.
Carbon Capture Technology Without The High Cost: Carbon Clean Solutions
Our technology has three main advantages:
- Significantly cheaper than other methods
- Allows your business to sell captured CO2
- Helps your business to get a certified green product
Who are we? Carbon Clean Solutions is a company dedicated to revolutionizing the way carbon dioxide (CO2) is captured. We provide proprietary technology to power plants and other industrial utilities, enabling them to capture over 90 percent of their current CO2 emissions. We are today’s leader in developing carbon capture for power, steam, cement, petrochemicals, and chemical plants.
In short, capturing carbon dioxide is a process that happens after the gas is created as a byproduct of energy production and related industrial processes. is then transported and stored in a location that ensures the gas will not come into contact with Earth's atmosphere, which helps combat CO2's effect on the environment and ocean acidification.
Why does any of this matter to you and your business?
“A company’s value decreases, on average, by $212,000 for every additional thousand metric tons of carbon emissions”
- KPMG's carbon footprint study
Remember when we said carbon capture and storage was immensely beneficial for businesses who choose to utilize it? Well, hopefully now you see what we meant. Carbon Clean Solutions is dedicated to not only providing those benefits to businesses but also pioneering technology to do so at a lower cost than others in the market. Our groundbreaking method has already proved its value.
Carbon capture is good. Carbon capture using our innovative technology is better.
The cost of carbon capture & storage
The primary limitation on carbon capture - and also the reason it has not yet been more widely implemented - is due to its relatively high cost. Now, before you close the page and say "figures," there's good news: Carbon Clean Solutions has pioneered new methods and technologies in our field - our proprietary technology has allowed us to begin revolutionizing the process of capturing carbon.
One of our proudest success stories is Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals & Fertilizer Limited, a 35-year-old plant that was staring at a shutdown after they no longer had access to an affordable source of CO2. The plant is now zero emissions and a source for raw material. It also captures the carbon dioxide produced by the burning fuel and uses that to produce soda ash (used in detergents, soaps, glass, etc.), which they sell.
Existing technologies, in contrast, have struggled to gain support because of their high cost. The typical cost of those competing technologies usually ranges between $60 and $90 per ton (though some have estimated costs to be much higher). Our technology, in comparison, can capture CO2 at $30 per metric ton, though we foresee that cost dropping even lower. Our goal is to bring that cost down to $10 per ton, which would be close to the European carbon credit scheme.
What Makes Carbon Clean Solutions Different?
The commercial-scale plant we set up in parternship with Tuticorn Alkali Chemicals & Fertilizer, is set to capture 60,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually - so cheaply that it will do so without any government subsidies. Now, instead of wasting carbon dioxide that burning coal produced, the plant is capturing it and saving the money on buying any more carbon dioxide. As a plus, the CO2 supply is also more reliable than before.
Carbon Capture & Storage: Further Reading
If you still have questions or simply want to know more, you've come to the right place. Carbon capture and storage is one of the most promising technologies for cleaner, more responsible energy production and usage. There's a lot to know about CCS, and we'll try to cover most of it below.
CO2 is captured, compressed into a liquid, transported to a storage site, then stored thousands of feet underground. In more technical terms, the separation of CO2 from gases produced in electricity generation occurs by one of three methods: pre-combustion capture, post-combustion capture, and oxyfuel combustion.
Pre-combustion: this process involves removing CO2 from fossil fuels before combustion is completed. In it, coal is combined with oxygen to create a gas made up of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Water is then added to that mixture, which causes a reaction and converts carbon monoxide (CO) into carbon dioxide (CO2). The hydrogen is burned off to power a turbine and generate electricity.
- Post-combustion: fossil fuel burned as normal, but before the resulting flue gas passes out of the chimney, it passes through an absorber column filled with liquid solvents called imines. These imines absorb the co2 before it can enter the atmosphere, allowing the CO2 to be safely captured.
- Oxyfuel: In this process, nitrogen is separated from oxygen before combustion, creating an oxygen-rich, nitrogen-free atmosphere (purer air than that which we breathe). When the oxygen is combusted with a fossil fuel, it produces a more concentrated CO2 stream for easier capture and purification.
After one of these three methods has taken place, the captured CO2 is then transported by pipeline, tanker truck, or ship for safe storage. Millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide are already transported annually for commercial purposes by road tanker, ship and pipelines.
What Makes Carbon Dioxide So Dangerous?
By itself, carbon dioxide is not dangerous for the planet. It's part of the planet's natural cycle. It enters the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil), solid waste, trees and wood products, and also as a result of certain chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of cement). Carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere (or "sequestered") when it is absorbed by plants as part of the biological carbon cycle.
However, humans have altered that balance as our use of technology has increased. Historically, the planet's natural regulatory systems kept the production of greenhouse gases in check. Those gases would be absorbed and emitted at a fairly steady rate. Temperatures, meanwhile, were maintained at a level that supported life around the world.
As our use of technology has increased, the amount of CO2 we release into the atmosphere has steadily increased, thereby outpacing the planet's natural CO2 removal capabilities. This contributes to higher proportions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These gases linger in the atmosphere for a number of years and trap additional heat emitted by the sun.
This issue, of course, has prompted those in the field to find a solution. Carbon capture and sequestration has been around for a number of years, but its cost has been largely prohibitive.
Why Is Carbon Capture expensive?
As of now, existing carbon capture processes are expensive, which is part of what makes our technology so unique. In fairness, however, there are reasons that carbon capture and storage is expensive, though we like to think that the benefits outweigh that cost.
Since a considerable amount of energy is required to extract, pump, and compress CO2, a plant with CCS must also purchase and burn more fuel to produce the same amount of electricity as a plant without CCS. Additional costs come from building pipelines to transport the CO2, injecting it underground, and monitoring the injection site.
As you now know, CO2 when captured, is a gas. However, it must be compressed or liquified before it can be stored. Doing so is a costly, energy-consuming process.
It was these cost considerations that inspired Carbon Clean Solutions to pursue a method that was more economical and less expensive. Our goal is to continue improving our technology so that we can push costs even lower.
Enhanced oil and natural gas recovery
Carbon dioxide not designated for permanent storage can also be used for enhanced hydrocarbon recovery, which also includes Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), Enhanced Gas Recovery (EGR) and Enhanced Coalbed Methane Recovery (ECBM). In other words, CO2 can be used to recover hard-to-reach fossil fuels. Captured CO2 can be injected into underground oil formations to help oil flow freely and to drive out extra (secondary) methane.
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) using CO2 is done one of two ways - one method uses only CO2, while the other involves alternate injection of CO2 and water. The goal behind both methods is to move the oil through the reservoir and toward production wells.
Enhanced Gas Recovery (EGR) involves injecting CO2 into the base of a depleted gas reservoir, which causes natural gas (lighter than liquid carbon dioxide) to float on top and move toward production wells.
Lastly, coal beds (aka: coal seams) are known to be reservoirs for gases, due to fractures and micropores in their surface which allow for aborption of natural gas. When CO2 is pumped into a coal seam, it displaces remaining methane at absorption sites. This has the dual purpose of enabling methane recovery and storing the injected CO2.
Those more familiar with green technology and environmental concerns may have heard some about geoengineering, which is the deliberate manipulation of process that affect our planet's climate in an attempt to ward off the effects of increased greenhouse gas concentrations. While Carbon Clean Solutions does not engage in geoengineering or offer it as a service, we figured it would be useful to address some of the common questions.
Geoengineering falls into two classes: one attempts to reduce the amount of climate change produced by an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and the other tries to remove greenhouse gases that have already been released to the atmosphere.
Several companies have attempted, or at least proposed potential geoengineering methods. One company tried to fertilize the ocean with iron, to encourage the growth of algae to absorb excess carbon dioxide. Other scientists have suggested spraying clouds with seawater to increase their reflectivity, with hopes of bouncing warming light back out to space. The U.S. government has even considered sun-blocking mirrors in outer space.
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