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European partnership to investigate trans-sector technological potential to reduce carbon emissions

http://www.chemengonline.com/european-partnership-to-investigate-trans-sector-technological-potential-to-reduce-carbon-emissions/

Solvay S.A. (Brussels, Belgium; www.solvay), ArcelorMittal S.A. (Luxembourg; www.arcelormittal.com), Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; www.evonik.com) and LafargeHolcim (Jona, Switzerland; www.lafargeholcim.com) today announce the formation of a new Low Carbon Technology Partnerships Initiative (LCPRi) across the steel, cement and chemicals industries. LCTPi is a set of programs, gathering 150 global businesses and 70 partners under the auspices of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, to accelerate the development of low-carbon technology solutions to stay below the 2°C ceiling.

This new partnership will look at the potential synergies that exist between the manufacturing processes of these three energy intensive sectors, and how these synergies could be harnessed to reducing CO2 emissions.

As a first step, and following preliminary research, the innovative partnership will produce a study, with the technical support of Arthur D. Little, to identify potential ways to valorize industrial off-gases and other by- products from their manufacturing processes to produce goods with a lower carbon footprint than through the fossil path. The preliminary research already allowed identifying significant potential in selected trans-sector pathways.

The study is aimed at bringing a fact-based overview of carbon and energy sources from industrial off-gases (first at a European level), and evaluating the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of different carbon capture and usage (CCU) pathways and their potential.

Initial findings from the first step already underway suggest that:

• Deploying cross-sector carbon capture and reuse opportunities on an industrial scale – something that does not happen today – could reduce up to 3 GT/y or 7% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions
• Existing conversion technologies that could be deployed across the three sectors could utilise by- products in the off-gases to create building materials, organic chemicals and fuel. As an example, up to 1–2% (0.4–0.7 Gton/yr) of global anthropogenic CO2 could be reduced with the production of ethanol/methanol alone
• Increased availability and greater access to renewable energy sources, would significantly boost net carbon reduction efforts by those three sectors, within a supportive legislative framework
• Cross sector carbon capture and reuse should also result in job creation, to be further investigated

The study, carried out at European level, is building the ground for similar investigation extended at global level and paves the way for identifying and assessing industrial scale projects on CCU at the interface between the sectors.

Stefan Haver, senior vice president Corporate Responsibility of Evonik, said: “Cross-sector initiatives like this offer great opportunities to steer our economies towards improved sustainability and more circularity. That’s why Evonik strongly supports joined actions in low carbon technologies.”

Speaking in Marrakech, Michel Bande, Corporate Sustainability Officer and Liaison Delegate WBCSD of Solvay, said “The potential to reduce carbon emissions through better collaboration between the chemicals, steel and cement industries looks promising. European energy-intensive industries could, with new and innovative ways to work together, ultimately produce large volumes of final goods with a reduced carbon footprint. In this arena, the chemical industry is key thanks to its enabling technologies. Indeed, linking large sources of carbon with the expertise and processes of the chemical industry could become crucial to develop ground-breaking solutions helping to reach the 2°C goal. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is instrumental in supporting the emergence of such partnerships that require long term cooperation and vision shared between industry and society”.

Carl de Maré, vice president head of Technology Strategy of ArcelorMittal, said: “We are excited to build a partnership that demonstrates our commitment to developing a low-carbon, circular economy steel business and explores the numerous efficiency opportunities across other energy intensive industries. We believe that steel is a perfect material for the circular economy, but key to exploiting our potential is establishing innovative cross-sector partnerships such as this. This will help us to develop and industrialize carbon re-use technologies, ensuring that waste products created from the steelmaking process are effectively harnessed and re-used, reducing our direct carbon footprint, but also creating commercially valuable products that have a lower carbon footprint than currently available alternatives.”

Bernard Mathieu, head Group Sustainable Development of LafargeHolcim, said: “Concrete offers the highest level of life-cycle sustainability performance and we are continuously developing new products and solutions for a low carbon society. This new ambitious partnership will support our mission to cut our net emissions per ton of cement by 40% towards 2030 (versus 1990) and to develop and further deploy low carbon solutions for the construction sector. But to make this a reality, we will need an enabling regulatory framework and support to innovation.”

Texas CO2 Capture Demonstration Project Hits Three Million Metric Ton Milestone

http://www.captureready.com/EN/Channels/News/showDetail.asp?objID=4659

On June 30, Allentown, PA-based Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. successfully captured and transported, via pipeline, its 3 millionth metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) to be used for enhanced oil recovery. This achievement highlights the ongoing success of a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).

The project demonstrates how a gas separation technology called vacuum swing adsorption can be implemented into an operating facility. The technology is being used at a hydrogen production facility in Port Arthur, Texas, to capture more than 90 percent of the CO2 from the product streams of two commercial-scale steam methane reformers, preventing its release into the atmosphere.

In addition to demonstrating the integration of Air Products’ vacuum swing adsorption technology, the project is also helping to verify that CO2-enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) is an effective method for permanently storing CO2. CO2-EOR allows CO2 to be stored safely and permanently in geologic formations, while increasing oil production from fields once thought to be exhausted.

The CO2 captured from the Port Arthur facility is being used for EOR at the West Hastings Unit (oilfield) in southeast Texas. Injected CO2 is able to dissolve and displace oil residue that is trapped in rock pores. It is estimated that the West Hastings Unit could produce between 60 and 90 million additional barrels of oil using CO2 injection.

In total, projects sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy have captured and securely stored more than 12 million metric tons of CO2, equivalent to taking more than 2 million cars off the road for a year. Investing in projects and technologies, such as Air Products’, are critical to paving the way for more widespread use of CCS technologies.

The Air Products project is supported through DOE’s Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage (ICCS) program, which is advancing the deployment of CCS technologies for industrial sources at commercial and utility-scale. CCS innovation is important to not only reduce future greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, but it also helps to ensure that U.S. industries are powered in the most efficient, sustainable, and clean way possible, while continuing to use America’s long-standing and abundant energy resources. (US DOE)

Scientists find a way to turn carbon dioxide into stone, in potential greenhouse breakthrough

Deep in the solidified lava beneath Iceland, scientists have managed an unprecedented feat: They’ve taken carbon dioxide released by a power plant and turned it into rock, and at a rate much faster than laboratory tests predicted.

The findings, described in the journal Science, demonstrate a powerful method of carbon storage that could reduce some of the human-caused greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change.

“These are really exciting results,” said Roger Aines, a geochemist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who was not involved in the study. “Nobody had ever actually done a large-scale experiment like they’ve done, under the conditions that they did it.”

The pilot programme, performed at Reykjavik Energy’s geothermal power plant under a European-US programme called CarbFix, was able to turn more than 95 per cent of carbon dioxide injected into the earth into chalky rock within just two years.

“We were surprised,” said study co-author Martin Stute, a hydrologist at Columbia University in New York. “We didn’t expect this. We thought this would be a project that would go on for decades. Maybe 20 years from now, we’d have an answer to the question. But that it happened so fast, and in such a brief period of time, that just blew us away.”

When fossil fuels like coal or gas are burned, the carbon stored within them is released into the air in the form of carbon dioxide. This greenhouse gas traps heat in the atmosphere, triggering an increase in global temperatures that threatens polar ice reserves and contributes to rising sea levels. It also increases the acidity of the ocean, hastening the decline of corals and other marine life.

Researchers have tried for years to figure out how to get that carbon back into the ground. Carbon dioxide can be pulled out of emissions and injected underground into briny waters or emptied oil and gas reservoirs, but there’s a risk that the gas eventually would seep back into the air or that the injection process itself might crack open a reservoir and allow its contents to escape.

Researchers have been looking to get that carbon back into the ground in solid form — something that nature’s been doing for a while, although on a far longer timescale. For humans trying to quickly undo the damage of greenhouse gas emissions, that’s easier said than done. Sandstone does not react much with carbon dioxide. Some lab tests showed that basaltic rock, laid down by volcanic activity, might be more effective but on a scale of centuries, if not longer.

An opportunity for a field test arose when the president of Iceland, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, met researchers at Columbia and expressed his interest in cutting back the country’s carbon dioxide emissions.

“This is really the start of this, at the highest level, which is sort of unusual for research projects,” Stute said.

Together with Reykjavik Energy, the research team designed an experiment around the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant. In March 2012, they injected 175 tonnes of pure carbon dioxide into an injection well. A few months later, they followed with 73 tonnes of a mix of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. (The team wanted to see whether the process worked even if there were other gases present; if it did, it would save the time and money of having to separate the carbon dioxide out.)

The researchers separate the carbon dioxide from the steam produced by the plant and send it to an injection well. The carbon dioxide gets pumped down a pipe that’s actually inside another pipe filled with water from a nearby lake. Hundreds of metres below the ground, the carbon dioxide is released into the water, where the pressure is so high that it quickly dissolves, instead of bubbling up and out.

That mix of water and dissolved carbon dioxide, which becomes very acidic, gets sent deeper into a layer of basaltic rock, where it starts leaching out minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron. The components in the mixture eventually recombine and begin to mineralize into carbonate rocks.

The basaltic rock is key, the scientists said: Sandstone would not react with carbon dioxide this way. So is the presence of water; if the mix had been pure gas instead of gas dissolved in water, it’s unlikely the basalt would have helped form carbonate rocks — at least, not with such speed.

The scientists also injected chemical tracers into the mix, including a type of carbon dioxide made with the heavier, rarer isotope known as carbon-14. They also injected other trace gases such as sulfur hexafluoride, which is inert and does not react much with its surroundings.

When the researchers checked the water at monitoring wells later in the experiment, they found that the trace gases were still there (a sign that the water had gotten through) but that the proportion of carbon-14 molecules had significantly declined. As the water had continued to flow through the basaltic layers, the carbon dioxide had been left behind in the rock.

While much of this happened underground, the researchers also saw fine crystals of carbonate sticking to the surface of the pump and pipes at the monitoring well.

“They look like salt from a salt shaker … on the surface of this gray or black basaltic rock,” Stute said.

Based on other laboratory results, the scientists had expected the process to take centuries, if not longer. But the field test showed that this process, under the right conditions, happens at remarkable speed.

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Source URL: http://www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1971390/scientists-find-way-turn-carbon-dioxide-stone-potential-greenhouse

Widening scandal over vehicle emissions threatens climate accord

Governments are counting on regulatory action and voluntary pledges by companies to meet climate targets. The scandals and shortcomings involving carmakers show the pitfalls of the strategy.

Goals set by governments that signed the Paris climate change agreement last month were based on figures determined to be attainable. A widening scandal involving carmakers that cheated on testing to make their vehicles appear more environmentally friendly than they actually were could weaken the accord or even make it meaningless.

About one-fifth of greenhouse gases causing global temperatures to rise come from emissions related to the transport sector. Confidence and trust have been shaken, which is reason for increased oversight and research into better mobility solutions.

Millions of cars, most of them diesel, are likely to be recalled for buybacks or repairs.

Volkswagen in the US and Mitsubishi in Japan have so far been the biggest casualties, but investigations are now also under way in Europe into diesel vehicles manufactured by Daimler, GM and PSA Peugeot Citroen. About 630,000 cars made by Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Opel, Porsche and VW are voluntarily being recalled to tweak software involved in emissions of nitrogen oxide. There is good reason to suspect that petroldriven vehicles that produce carbon dioxide gases, the main cause of global warming, will be next.

VW has been the face of the scandal, its admission last September after US investigations that it had installed software in 11 million diesel cars worldwide to deceive environmental regulators causing outrage. It has set aside US$18.2 billion to deal with the fallout and its share price has plummeted. Mitsubishi Motors’ stock value has also plunged, hit by last month’s revelation that the firm falsified test results to overstate the fuel efficiency of 625,000 vehicles produced for the Japanese market by between five and 10 per cent. What that means for emissions in Japan is unclear, but the US Environmental Protection Agency is more certain about the impact of VW’s cheating; it contends the firm’s diesel cars were emitting up to 40 times more nitrogen oxide than they were supposed to. In Europe, carmakers deny wrongdoing, although a British study has found 37 models, while meeting legal limits in the laboratory, exceed levels by up to 12 times when on the road.

Governments are counting on regulatory action and voluntary pledges by companies to meet climate targets. The scandals and shortcomings involving carmakers show the pitfalls of the strategy. Watchdogs have a crucial role in keeping authorities and firms on track. Encouraging the development of better technologies and more sustainable transport systems is as important.

Source URL: http://www.scmp.com/comment/insightopinion/article/1942170/widening-scandal-over-vehicle-emissions-threatens-climate

World’s first waste incinerator with carbon-capture tech

http://eandt.theiet.org/news/2016/jan/carbon-capture-waste-incinerator.cfm

Carbon-capture technology has been deployed for the first time as part of a waste incinerator in Norway’s capital Oslo.

The experiment at the Klemetsrud incinerator will remove climate-warming carbon dioxide from fumes created by burning industrial and household waste. If successful, the technology could represent a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions if deployed on a larger scale.

“I hope Oslo can show other cities that it’s possible,” said the Mayor of Oslo, Marianne Borgen, at an opening ceremony.

So far, carbon capture and storage technology has been experimented with in some fossil-fuel-fired power plants, but development has been hindered by high cost.

The Klemetsrud waste-to-energy incinerator, which generates heat to warm buildings in the city, produces 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – about 0.6 per cent of Norway’s man-made emissions.

The experimental carbon capture and storage removal system consists of five containers with a series of pipes and filters through which the exhaust gas is fed. It captures carbon dioxide at a rate of about 2,000 tonnes a year.

The experiment will run until the end of April. If the results are positive, a full-scale system could be built by 2020. Operators of the system say the carbon dioxide captured could be shipped to the North Sea and used for enhanced oil and gas recovery.

“We see potential in this market across the world,” said Valborg Lundegaard, head of Aker Solutions’ engineering business, which runs the test.

The operators have admitted that at the current price of carbon credits, the technology is nowhere near cost-effective. However, they claim that as the incinerator burns largely organic waste from food and wood, it actually removes CO2 from the natural cycle and not only that industrially produced.

“It won’t be possible to achieve goals set in the Paris agreement without wide use of negative emissions,” said Frederic Hauge, head of environmental group Bellona.

Development of new technologies capable of offsetting the devastating effects of rising temperatures globally was also in the heart of the UN climate talks in Paris in December.

Earlier this week, climate scientists confirmed that 2015 was by far the warmest year on record – another extremely hot year in a string that started at the beginning of the 21st century. There is no doubt, the scientists said, that the situation is getting worse and is caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite its potential, carbon capture and storage is still on the fringe. A 2015 report by the Australia-based Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute said there are just 15 big CCS projects in operation worldwide, including a coal-fired power plant run by Canada’s Saskatchewan Power.

China’s long-awaited C02 market to cover 10,000 firms

Nationwide system on course to be the world’s biggest when it launches in 2017, official says

China’s long-awaited nationwide carbon market will cover as many as 10,000 firms and regulate nearly half of the country’s total emissions once launched in 2017, a senior official said on the sidelines of the Paris climate talks yesterday.

Jiang Zhaoli, vice-head of the climate office of the state planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, said China’s carbon market would become the world’s biggest, and its targets would be higher than those set by the state “in order to guarantee it had sufficient effect”.

“When the market begins in 2017 it will already have almost 10,000 firms,” Jiang said. “After 2020, the size will be bigger and will involve more enterprises.”

The market would cover 31 provinces, six industrial sectors and 15 sub-industries, and would involve 4 billion tonnes of annual carbon emissions at its launch, amounting to almost half of the country’s total, he said.

President Xi Jinping pledged during his visit to the United States in September that China would roll out a nationwide carbon trading scheme by 2017, building on the seven regional pilot markets first introduced in 2013.

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Jiang’s comments suggest the market will begin more ambitiously than expected.

Previous estimates from market designers suggested it would regulate 3-4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year by the end of its first phase in 2020.

While China has included the promotion of “market mechanisms” in its pledges to combat climate change, they remain controversial and were unlikely to be included in a final agreement in Paris, said Su Wei, China’s top climate negotiator, at a briefing in Paris on Saturday.

As far as market mechanisms are concerned, we think the market could play a very important role in achieving actions to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change

Su Wei, China’s top climate negotiator

“As far as market mechanisms are concerned, we think the market could play a very important role in achieving actions to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change,” he said.

“But as to whether there is going to be inclusion in the text of the Paris agreement, we think that that is not the priority,” Su said.

“There are a lot of different views about whether we should rely more on non-market mechanisms … and I don’t think that sort of difference should stand in the way of having a successful outcome in the Paris [climate] negotiations.”

China’s central government pledged last year to peak carbon output by around 2030, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and offer help to poor countries adapting to the impact of global warming.

Source URL: http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/1888831/chinas-long-awaited-c02-market-cover-10000-firms