Exploring Examples of Carbon Capture
As the demand for green energy and zero waste increases, many companies are turning to alternate solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. One of these solutions is carbon capture.
This article explores the working principles of carbon capture, its significance, applications, major facilities, and future prospects.
NET Power Plant in La Porte, Texas, photo by NET Power Inc., via Wikimedia Commons
How carbon capture works
Carbon capture is when facilities capture their carbon emissions to stop them from entering the atmosphere. This captured carbon is then compressed and transported elsewhere, where it is usually stored deep underground.
There are multiple methods to achieve carbon capture. One is to take the exhaust gases produced in fossil fuel combustion and treat them with an amine solution or another solution/solvent, which absorbs the carbon from the gas. Other methods allow the carbon to be captured before combustion or via oxy-fuel combustion.
Most commonly, the captured carbon will be taken underground and stored naturally. Alternatively, the excess gas can be shipped to neighbouring plants/facilities that can use the carbon in their own production cycles.
Why carbon capture matters
With the current global focus on green energy and climate change, carbon capture and storage (CCS) offers a way to stop carbon emissions from entering and negatively impacting the Earth’s atmosphere. The Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions states that, when implemented correctly, CCS can capture approximately 90% of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and industrial facilities.
Read more about the industrial carbon capture process on our blog: Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and the role of heat exchangers.
Where is carbon capture used
Carbon capture and storage can be utilised effectively in a broad range of factories and plants in various industries.
Some examples of facilities where you may see carbon capture include:
- Fertiliser production
- Natural gas processing
- Coal-fired power plants
- Coal gasification
For example, the use of carbon capture can be seen in the Coffeyville gasification plant located in Kansas, US. Here, the by-product carbon generated during the fertiliser production is utilised for enhanced oil recovery (a process for extracting unrecovered oil not previously obtained through primary or secondary recovery methods).
Major carbon capture facilities in use today
The Sleipner Project
The Sleipner Project was the world’s first large-scale carbon capture project. Built in 1996, located in the North Sea, The Sleipner Project captures carbon dioxide emitted from natural gas production and stores it beneath the sea bed.
Since its first use, The Sleipner Project has captured over 25 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Boundary Dam Power Station, photo by Wtshymanski via Wikimedia Commons
Boundary Dam in Saskatchewan, Canada, has been capturing carbon since autumn of 2014. An estimated 757,000 tonnes of carbon have been captured since the start of operation at the carbon capture facility.
Captured carbon from this facility is injected into a nearby oil field to extract more oil from the ground. After this, leftover carbon is transferred and stored in a deep underwater salt-water reservoir.
The Emirates Steel factory in Abu Dhabi creates carbon dioxide as a by-product of their steel production. This plant alone contributed to 1% of the UAE’s total carbon emissions in previous years (ADNOC). Their carbon capture program now takes up to 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the plant annually. That captured carbon is then injected into oil fields to aid oil extraction.
The Gorgon Project
The Gorgon Project, operated by Chevron, is located on Barrow Island in Western Australia. It is a large-scale natural gas project that incorporates a carbon capture and storage system. CO2 is captured from the natural gas stream and injected into a deep reservoir. Chevron’s website states that more than 8 million tonnes of CO2 have been stored by the facility so far (Chevron).
Carbon Capture Costs
According to Statista, it is estimated that CCS can cost, on average, between 15 and 130 US dollars per metric tonne of carbon dioxide. Compared to some other nature-based solutions, such as reforestation and afforestation, the range of possible costs for carbon capture falls cheaper.
Future of carbon capture
According to the International Energy Agency, since January 2022, project developers have announced their ambition to get approximately 50 new facilities in operation by 2030.
Because of the global need for carbon-neutrality, we are confident that carbon capture technology will remain relevant for a long timeFor heavy industries, such as power and steel, CCS can be used as a way to steadily transition over to newer, greener energy.
Where to learn more about carbon capture
Sterling TT supplies heat exchange technology to key markets and industries, including oil and gas, power generation, and renewable energy. If you want to enquire about your specific heat exchange needs and requirements, don’t hesitate to contact our expert team today.