Jointly chaired by the IEAGHG's Tim Dixon and the International Knowledge Centre's Mike Monea, the panellists in this session discussed examples of shared learnings from operational large-scale CCS projects and reflected how these learnings could bring closer the construction of yet more CCS plants. On the panel were Corwyn Bruce and Beth Hardy to share leanings on SaskPower's Boundary Dam 3 unit, Noriaki Shimokata and Tim Thomas on NRG Energy and JX Nippon's Petra Nova plant, and Devin Shaw on Shell's Quest facility.
Devin said that context was important: Shell remained focused on a future in the extraction and processing of oil and gas and CCS was recognised as being a critical component in taking that vision forward. He proudly pointed out that the Quest CCS facility had been completed under budget and ahead of schedule, both accomplishments that inspire confidence and reflect positively on risk. And since 2014, when Quest commenced operation, he indicated that around 3 Mtonnes CO2 had been successfully captured and safely stored deep underground. He felt strongly that a key component of this success was Shell's stakeholder management programme, exemplified by its community outreach strategy. And, of course, having been a recipient of government funding, sharing its knowledge and experience of the project was incumbent on the company from the start.
Noriaki, representing JX Nippon, stated that Petra Nova, one of only two large-scale CCS power plants globally, had also been delivered on schedule and on budget. He said that the plant began operation in 2016, with 1 Mtonnes of CO2 captured in 2017. He felt it was important to recognise that first-of-a-kind (FOAK) plants were by nature more expensive and that costs would naturally be lower for successive plants. For example, FOAK plants generally required longer commissioning; there was greater redundancy built in; with a robust spare parts programme, particularly for long-lead spares. Of course, he said, the business case had to be made. And with these FOAKs, the government support received and the tax incentives that could be accessed were vital to that case.
MHI's Tim Thomas focused mainly on the capture process at the Petra Nova plant, specifically MHI's KM CDR Process. He made the point that this process with Kansai Electric's KS-1 solvent at its heart had been successfully deployed for many years prior to its use at Petra Nova. From smaller commercial urea/fertiliser plants in the '90s to its initial application on coal in the mid-2000s, followed by testing on a flue gas slipstream at Southern Company's Plant Barry Power Station in 2011. Tim's feeling was that it took around 15 years for a technology to move from initial idea to successful fruition, plus all the investment required to move along that path. Successfully negotiating that path has made Petra Nova, which captures 1.6Mtpa or 5,000tonnes/day of CO2, the world's largest capture facility. Tim listed a number of lessons learned at Petra Nova that would be applied to a second-of-a-kind plant. The tower design would be re-evaluated based on actual performance and, rather than basing design on assumed gas impurities, realistic data would inform the next design. He also reiterated the point made by Noriaki about over-design and redundancies, saying that immediate savings on capital cost of 25-30% would be expected for the next plant. Tim believed that the new 45Q tax incentives, together with standardising design, would also impact positively on the cost of new plant.
Corwyn said that economics were always uncertain. At the design stage, the cost of modifying, upgrading and adding CO2 capture to Boundary Dam Unit 3 (BD3) had been broadly equal to the cost of a new NGCC plant … of course, the price of natural gas has dropped significantly in the period since. Nonetheless, he was very proud of the successful operation of the BD3 plant that, by March 2018, had captured around 2 Mtonnes of CO2. With the decision taken by SaskPower to consider retrofitting its 300 MW Shand Power Station, Corwyn felt the lessons learned at BD3 could lead to very substantial savings to both capital and operational costs. For example, he said, the Shand CCS would integrate well with renewables, operate with a capture rate of up to 97%, lead to capital savings of 67% per tonne of CO2 avoided, and all with no additional water requirement. Corwyn was adamant that, with support and input from the International CCS Knowledge Centre, learnings from BD3 would not only aid the Shand project but would offer significant value to the broader CCS community.
Complementing Corwyn's views, Beth's perspective was that, while she recognised the value of technology learnings, for future CCS build she felt there were many broader, softer learnings to be realised that were of equal import … learnings that also impact to improve economics and reduce risk. She believed strongly that collaboration was a key factor in progressing CCS. Through her experience in facilitating close cooperation between the International CCS Knowledge Centre and China, for example, she had witnessed first-hand how collaboration could stimulate development, how it could bring down project costs, and how it could promote greater knowledge exchange. Cooperative approaches, she said, enhanced business cases, reduced administrative burdens and brought incentives to the fore. Beth insisted that global collaboration on climate change was a necessary precursor to drive the future opportunities that would see CCS flourish.
Following these excellent contributions to the discussion, Tim Dixon and Mike took questions and views from the floor. In response to one intervention, it was recognised that IP issues would sometimes constrain access to important information. For example, at BD3, Shell Cansolv solvent was the capture medium. Given the proprietary nature of access to data on the solvent, information relating to its performance could not be shared. Apart from such matters, all panellists agreed that much information could be shared and, while still respecting IP issues, much more would be shared in the coming 6 months. Delegates from the floor broadly agreed that, in the absence of a level playing field across countries, investment would prove elusive … and deployment dollars were still necessary.