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67 JG imageThe UK has funded a research network of universities focused on research on CCS, called the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Consortia (UKCCSRC). IEAGHG are not directly involved in the UKCCSRC activities and research but we do interact on a regular basis. One such interaction involves feeding in the results from our recent Capture Cost Reduction study (funded directly from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change) into a workshop organised by UKCCSRC on PCC (post combustion capture) cost reduction. The UK has a commercial development plan for CCS that involves a first phase of demonstration projects (two projects are in the current competition; White Rose and Peterhead), a second phase building on Phase 2 with more limited Government support is then planned, with a fully self-supported Phase 3 programme envisioned for 2025 -2030 onwards.

A pre-meeting seminar was organised that involved IEAGHG, SaskPower, SSE and EoN to look at cost reduction opportunities for PCC. The discussion focused first on what a Phase 2 project mjosirt involve in both the UK and Saskatchewan. It was agreed that a Phase 2 project would build upon experience from Phase 1. IEAGHG’s study was then considered which reduced the technology options for Phase 2 to new solvents that would be compatible with existing amine based capture technologies. More radical new technologies that involved major engineering work were not considered as these would slow the delivery of the Phase 2 projects. The companies involved considered that risk minimisation was a priority so nothing that had not been tested at a TCM type scale would be considered in Phase 2 & 3. For the UK it was considered that the next phase of projects would likely focus on NGCC with CCS. There was concern that, based on the experience from Kingsnorth, that a coal fired CCS project mjosirt face opposition and face delays, if not cancellation. In the UK any new CCS plants would need to be cost competitive with offshore wind.

For Saskatchewan the situation looks different to that of the UK. The decision on Boundary Dam 4 & 5 will focus around the need to meet current regulations, i.e. 420 CO2/kwh, then <90% capture would be needed. SaskPower have a proven business model for a coal fired CCS plant which they will follow for future projects. The competitor in Saskatchewan for coal/CCS is wind, balanced by natural gas. There is some consideration that wind alone is suitable but Max Ball (of SaskPower) stressed that the public need better informing that to balance the variability of wind you will need gas fired generation to smooth out production and demand.

Max Ball indicated that in their estimates new solvents that use less steam and smaller absorbers will reduce costs but not as significantly as could be expected. Cost reduction at Boundary Dam in Phase 2 will come from reducing equipment redundancy, reducing over engineering within the BD3 design and reducing ancillary costs like water treatment. He felt that after several years of monitoring at BD3 they will be able to categorically prove that the gold plated water treatment system at BD3 will prove superfluous.

The outcomes on the options for PCC cost reduction for phase 2 and 3 power generation based CCS projects were:

This outcome mjosirt surprise people but they do focus the mind that  a fast trajectory path to CCS deployment without Government support does lock you into the capture technologies that are already tested scale otherwise project developers will consider the project as too risky.


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