GHGT-14. Wednesday’s Plenary


By Keith Burnard

26 October 2018

 Anthony Ku of China Energy’s RD&D arm, the National Institute of Clean and Low-Carbon Energy (NICE), opened Wednesday’s plenary with a presentation on “Paths to affordable deployment of CCUS in China”. China Energy was formed last year by a merger of Shenhua and China Guodian, making it the world’s largest power company. Mr Ku described the steps taken by China to reduce emissions since COP15 (Copenhagen, 2009) through its ambitious commitments following COP21 (Paris, 2015) to peak its GHG emissions at 60-65% below 2005 levels by 2030. The seriousness with which China takes these commitments are embodied in the levels of reductions targeted in its current 13th Five Year Plan (2016-2020). While China Energy’s business also covers coal-to-chemicals, Mr Ku said that NICE would be focusing on reducing emissions from its 180 coal-fired power generation plants, emissions that were not helped by the 50% average capacity factor across its current fleet. With the aspirational goal of reducing emissions of CO2 from its fleet by 100 Mpta by 2030, NICE was following an integrated plan of action including, for example, fleet modelling and examining retrofit of CO2 capture. Opportunities to improve plant operating efficiency, to use waste heat and to reduce the cost of electricity were all being explored.

Glencore’s Mick Buffier followed with a presentation informing delegates of progress on “CTSCo’s Surat Basin CCS Project”. With the Surat Basin located around 3 to 4 hour’s drive inland from Brisbane, he said the ultimate aim of the project was to provide confidence that CO2 can be transported and stored safely. Feasibility studies were underway to store 200,000 tpa CO2 captured from the Millmerran coal-fired power station, with design of the post-combustion capture plant being undertaken by the Huaneng Clean Energy Research Institute (Huaneng CERI). Mr Buffier pointed out that the FEED study was due for completion imminently, with the final investment decision to be taken in 2019. He ended by asserting that, while some dissent must be anticipated and addressed when breaking new ground, community engagement was an integral and absolutely vital part of project development and was something that the project partners were wholly committed to.

Finally, Frank Morton took the platform to describe the “status of technology development at the National Carbon Capture Centre (NCCC)”. With its 80% funding from the USDOE, the NCCC provides a crucially important function that enables developers to take technologies out of the laboratory and test them in a real world setting. He made it very clear that, without a facility like the NCCC, many promising technologies would not see the light of day … which would be a great disservice to CCS progress. Located at Wilsonville, Alabama, Mr Morton said the facility offers technology developers the potential to test technologies designed for operation in gasification or combustion environments at scales from bench up to around 1 MW under conditions that simulated very closely conditions in real large-scale power plants. He proudly stated that the milestone of 100,000 test hours had now been exceeded at NCCC, with seven of the many technologies tested having since been scaled up to operation at 10+ MW. Operations at NCCC were truly international, with technologies from six countries other than the United States having been tested. With their high carbon footprint, the Centre had developed particularly close ties with China and India. In fact, the international credentials of the Centre were further exemplified through NCCC’s co-hosting of IEAGHG’s 4th Post-Combustion Capture Conference (PCCC4) in Birmingham, Alabama, in September 2017. In his closing remarks, Mr Morton said he was especially proud that the NCCC, in partnership with Norway’s Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM), had been instrumental in the establishment of the International Test Centre Network (ITCN), a global coalition focused on accelerating research and development on capture technologies.

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