One of the real frustrations I find in climate forums, ranging from business groups to policy makers, is the lack of understanding of the role that fossil fuels play in the energy system, the scale on which we use them, the rate at which we might be able to displace them and therefore the critical and important role that CCS will have to play over this century. Trying to explain all this has proved elusive and working for a fossil fuel company makes this even harder – accusations of self interest end up being made.
To try and help with this problem, Shell has turned to Myles Allen, Professor of Geosystem Science in the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford and Head of the Climate Dynamics Group in the University’s Department of Physics. He kindly agreed to make a video which explains in pretty simple terms what the climate issue is all about and why CCS ends up being the game changer in terms of mitigation. You can see this video on YouTube by clicking here or in the picture below.
The video explains the issue in terms I have used in older postings, which was also drawn from work that Professor Allen published in Nature.
A recent story on the BBC illustrates his point well. It talks about a town in Germany which has been abandoned and will be demolished as a new coal mine is developed – this in a country that is embracing renewable energy.
But the challenge to “sell” CCS continues, as is shown in an article by energy researchers in Australia. They argue that CCS shouldn’t be supported as renewable energy will eventually be cheaper. This may well be the case, but while waiting for that renewable energy pot of gold and even when it finally comes, we will collectively emit a great deal of CO2 from ongoing fossil fuel use. CCS is the only technology that can tackle this directly.
Hi David, I share your frustration that CCS is not progressing materially. I see no other option than to “re-brand” CCS, such that it creates some distance to the reasons it is so unpopular today. As I mentioned in a comment to one of your earlier posts, CCS should now “retreat” from application to power plants for the electric power market, in which case CCS would compete with renewables. Instead, CCS should be aiming at the cement, steel, petrochemical, nitrogen fertilizer and upstream natural gas industries, which society needs independent of the electric power market, and where renewables play little or no role. If CCS is going to get out of the starting blocks and gain some momentum, it must not compete directly with renewables, and make its case for industrial (non-power) plant. My personal favourite is the Secunda coal-to-liquids plant in South Africa. This plant is extremely profitable while crude oil prices are so high, and I predict it will continue operation for at least 40 more years. And yet it emits near-pure CO2 from its coal gasification process at the rate of 25 million tons of CO2 yearly.
That’s also my favourite. Provided the storage sites exist, it’s a no-brainer.
Hmm, and what is worse it seems, that CCS is the only possibility how to get the cilamte change under control: we can keep on CO2 dependency and also start to reduce global C emissions…Best,Alexander Ac