Thursday, February 9, 2006

Capturing carbon dioxide could be economical

UK 'should pursue' carbon capture.
Capturing and storing CO2 from power stations could help Britain meet its energy needs while curbing greenhouse gas emissions, the Commons science and technology committee says in a report that all new coal power stations should be suitable for carbon capture.
The costs are likely to be similar to using renewable energy, it says.
"The UK is struggling to meet its targets to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2010 and 60% by 2050," the report notes.
Storing carbon dioxide in rock has already been shown to be safe and effective by the Norwegian company Statoil, which has been piping the gas down into a reservoir under the sea floor for almost a decade.
But capturing the gas in the first place is a different issue.
Using current technology reduces the efficiency of power stations by about a quarter, meaning that more need to be built to produce the same amount of electricity, with costs rising as a result.
Nevertheless, the committee concludes that the costs of generating low-carbon electricity this way will be "comparable" to nuclear fission or renewables such as solar panels and tidal turbines.
A number of other countries including the US and Australia are also working on demonstration projects; some will also use pressurised CO2 to pump currently inaccessible oil from oil wells.
But there may be legal obstacles, with international treaties like the Ospar Convention likely to rule illegal plans to bury CO2 under some portions of the ocean floor.
The committee urges the government to lead international efforts to overturn these hurdles, with the aim of having demonstration projects up and running by 2009.
Story from BBC NEWS: 2006/02/09 00:27:21 GMT© BBC MMVI

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