8:21am

Mon October 10, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Carbon Catching Technology Slow to Catch on in the U.S.

Carbon capture and sequestration projects are picking up around the world, according to a new report, even as some in the United States have recently been shuttered. According to the Global Institute for Carbon Capture and Sequestration, the technology’s future is bright. CCS, as it’s known, is a process by which carbon dioxide is removed from emissions before it gets to the atmosphere, then is injected deep underground.

Barry Jones of the Global Institute says there are 74 large-scale projects in progress around the world. Eight of those are already operating. But he says growth in the U.S. has been slower because of the lack of carbon regulation.

“In the U.S. in particular, what we’re seeing is the absence of national carbon legislation, the absence of something like a national mandate to reduce CO2, the absence of an emission trading scheme or something like that, is proving a bit of an impediment to the development of the industry,” Jones said.

He says countries like Canada and the United Kingdom are making progress because strict proposed regulations would mean all future coal plants need to incorporate CCS in order to operate.

But CCS isn’t just for coal-fired power plants. Jones says it can be used in natural gas power plants too, and other industrial processes. He says CCS isn’t necessarily a part of the future of coal, but it IS a necessary part of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

“So for example, the International Energy Agency has calculated that to meet the kind of emission reduction targets the world is talking about by the year 2050, CCS could contribute up to 19 percent of the emissions reductions necessary over that period of time.” Jones said.

The International Energy Agency estimates that’s more than the emissions reductions renewable or nuclear energy will contribute by that date.