Week 5 Russia
The Kremlin, Moscow, Russia - photo credit Free Images - Pixabay.
Welcome to the fifth edition of my weekly blog where I take a closer look at the policies adopted by individual countries in their efforts to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement. Particular attention is paid to the role that Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) research and technologies are playing in the drive to meet these requirements.
Russia signed the Paris Agreement on the 22nd of April 2016, however since then, and as at 27th March 2017, Russia has neither ratified the agreement or brought it into force.
According to the European Commission’s research database EDGAR (Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research), Russia was the fourth highest emitting nation of Co2 into the atmosphere in 2014.
UN Climate Change Secretariat’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions statistics for Russia in 2012 indicates that the largest emitters by sector are energy (82%), industrial processes (8%) and agriculture (7%). When we drill down further on the energy sector segment of the statistics, we note that energy industries account for almost half of the energy sector emissions. This should not come as a big surprise to us considering the fact that Gazprom and Rosneft ranked first and second in Forbes 2016 list of the world’s biggest public energy companies with production levels of 8.4m and 5.1m barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOEPD) respectively. A third Russian oil company called Lukoil also features in the top 10 list of the biggest public energy companies in the world in 2016.
In November 2016, The Global CCS Insitute published its Carbon Capture and Storage Readiness Index. In the report, Russia was ranked as “Low” in their readiness report. The authors of the report assigned this ranking to Russia owing to the fact that they could not find any English speaking CCS policy documents following an extensive research exercise. However, from a capability and capacity point of view, Russia scored high due to the fact that it has a mature oil and gas industry with a multitude of suitable sites for carbon storage.
The climate action tracker, a consortium of three research bodies rank Russia’s policies and pledges towards emission reductions as inadequate. Russia has pledged to reduce its emissions to 70% of 1990 levels by 2030. Critics think that this is too modest a target as its industrial base now is much smaller when compared with that of 1990 Soviet levels of emissions. They went on to note that Gazprom is the largest corporate emitter of CO2 in the world and that Russia needed to embrace renewable energy and technological advances in order to drive a meaningful reduction in CO2 emissions.
Russia’s lack of published policy documents on CCS, or at least in English text, and its failure to ratify the Paris agreement to date does not paint a positive picture towards a significant CO2 emissions reduction in the immediate future. However, what is clear is, that Russia, being a mature oil and gas market, has the knowledge and experience to relatively quick implement a CCS strategy should a change in policy occur.
Week 4 India
Taj Mahal, India - photo credit Beautiful Free Stock Photos (CC0).
Welcome to the fourth edition of my weekly blog where I take a closer look at the policies adopted by individual countries in their efforts to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement. Particular attention is paid to the role that Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) research and technologies are playing in the drive to meet these requirements.
This week we focus on India who signed the Paris Agreement on the 22nd of April 2016, ratified it on the 2nd of October that year (147th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth), with it coming into force on the 4th of November 2016.
According to the European Commission’s research database EDGAR (Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research), India was the third highest emitting nation of Co2 into the atmosphere in 2014 with 6.5% of global emissions.
India submitted its first “Biennial Update Report” (BUR) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, produced by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in December 2015. The report outlined greenhouse gas emissions by sector with the highest emitters being energy (71%), agriculture (18%) and industry (8%).
The 2015 energy statistics from the Indian Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation reported that 95% of India’s primary energy supply was sourced from coal (59%) and crude oil (36%) alone. In Enerdata’s Global Energy Statistical Yearbook 2016, India was reported as the second highest consumer of coal after China. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), this high consumption is set to continue for the foreseeable future.
To combat its high levels of CO2 emissions, the Indian government has set up two funds - the National Clean Energy Fund, financed by a carbon tax of 200 Rupee per tonne and the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change to which the Indian government has allocated 3.5 billion Rupee.
The goal of both funds is to provide financing to companies who strive to develop innovative CCUS solutions across all sectors, although some environmental experts coal, of criticise this funding as falling significantly short.
Nonetheless, Indian companies are creating innovative solutions to help drive reductions in CO2 emissions. BREATHE, a Bangalore-based team, has qualified for the semi-finals of the $20m NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition (mentioned in last week’s article). BREATHE converts waste from coal-fueled power plants into methanol, which has multiple industrial uses, e.g. it is the main ingredient in anti-freeze. Another Indian company, Carbon Clean Solutions, have developed a technology that is capable of capturing up to 90% of emissions from coal and gas-fired power plants. This technology can be easily retrofitted into plants and capture flue gas CO2 emissions. Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals in Southern India are using the technology to capture CO2 from its boilers and use it to make baking soda. Interestingly, the Tuticorin project was completed without requiring any subsidy. The Guardian newspaper in the UK ran a feature on this innovation, highlighting its potential as a profit-maker for companies that introduce it.
India’s reliance on coal and crude oil as primary energy sources will provide them with steep challenges as they strive to meet their Paris Agreement commitments. The Indian Government’s commitment to CO2 emissions reductions through funding and also the technologies developed by innovative Indian organisations like BREATHE and Carbon Clean Solutions offer encouragement.
Week 3 USA
Grand Canyon, Arizona, U.S.A. - photo credit http://unsplash.io.
Welcome to the third edition of my weekly blog where I take a closer look at the policies adopted by individual countries in their efforts to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement. Particular attention is paid to the role that Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) research and technologies are playing in the drive to meet these requirements.
This week is the turn of the US who signed the Paris Agreement on the 22nd of April 2016, accepted it on the 3rd of September that year, with it coming into force on the 4th of November 2016.
According to the European Commission’s research database EDGAR (Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research), the US were the second highest emitting nation of CO2 into the atmosphere in 2014, after China, with almost 15% of overall emissions. On aggregate, the US and China emitted 45% of all CO2 emissions into the atmosphere between them. Last week, I discussed how the two countries had come together in 2009 to form the US-China Clean Energy Center (CERC). From a US perspective, the secretary of the Department of Energy (DoE) sits on CERC’s steering committee. CERC’s bilateral research effort concentrates on five key areas:
1. Advanced coal technology
2. Building energy efficiency
3. Clean vehicles
4. Water and energy technology
5. Medium and heavy-duty trucks
The EPA’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions statistics for the US in 2014 indicates that the largest emitters by sector are electricity (30%), transportation (26%) and industry (21%). Similar to China, coal was identified as the predominant fuel source used for electricity generation (77%). All three sectors are directly or indirectly dependent on fossil fuels.
The DoE set-up the Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI) in a bid to tackle GHG emissions arising from coal-fueled activities. Through this initiative, the largest carbon capture storage (CCS) coal plant in the US was opened in Kemper County, Mississippi. The objective of the pre-combustion facility at Kemper is to produce electricity as efficiently and environmentally friendly as possible through the use of CCS technologies.
From a post-combustion point view, Petra Nova Parish Holdings (a joint venture between NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil & Energy) are retrofitting the W.A. Parish coal-fired generation station with CCS technology. It is estimated that the plant will be able to capture and store up to 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 per annum.
US innovation capability in the area of CCUS is further evident by the number of US-based teams competing in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE. This prestigious competition funds the very best of CCUS innovation in two tracks, coal and natural gas. Recently the 27 semifinalists were announced, 14 teams being from the US. CCUS innovation by these companies takes a wide range of forms from concrete enhancement to gas and liquid fuel production.
US academic centers are also quite active in the development of CO2 capture projects with universities from East to West coast such as Pennsylvania State, Notre Dame, Texas A&M and Southern California among others collaborating with the Department of Energy via its National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). The West Virginia University is also part of CERC’s advanced coal technology consortium.
Over the past decade or so, the US has invested a substantial amount of time and intellectual brainpower into CCUS research and technology. Currently, the NETL supports 49 active CO2 capture projects. It remains to be seen, however, what steps Rick Perry, the new secretary of the DoE, will take over the next four years. Given his reputation as a climate change skeptic, many are concerned about which direction he will take in the DoE and whether or not the recent momentum in developing CCUS policy and investment will be compromised.
how china is tackling co2 emissions from its coal-fueled power plants
Forbidden City, Beijing, China, photo credit to Beautiful Free Stock Photos (CC0).
You are very welcome to the second edition of my weekly blog where I take a closer look at the policies adopted by individual countries in their efforts to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement. Particular attention will be paid to the role that Carbon Capture, Utilisationa Storage (CCUS) research and technologies are playing in the drive to meet these requirements.
This week it is the turn of China who signed the Paris Agreement on the 22nd of April 2016, ratified it on the 3rd of September that year, with it coming into force on the 4th of November 2016.
According to the most up-to-date information provided to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ahead of the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 in December 2015, China was the highest emitting nation of Co2 into the atmosphere in 2014 with almost 30% of overall emissions. This can be explained in the main by China’s over-reliance on coal as a source of energy. China is the largest user of coal globally with roughly 50% of overall demand. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) market analysis and forecasts to 2021 do not see this changing dramatically in the short to medium term.
In recent years, interested Chinese groups have been frequent visitors to SaskPower’s Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) coal plant at Boundary Dam, Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada. The plant captures roughly 400,000 tonnes of Co2 per annum.
In an interview with the Financial Times in 2015, Mike Monea, President of CCS initiatives at SaskPower was quoted as saying that Chinese delegations visit the Boundary Dam site “every two or three weeks” to learn more about how Co2 is captured and stored at the coal facility.
In 2009, China and the US, the two largest emitters of Co2, joined forces to create the US–China Clean Energy Center (CERC). The purpose of this partnership is for the US and China to work together in order to advance research and development in the area of clean technologies. On the Chinese side, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and China National Energy Administration (NEA) lead CERC. Their combined research efforts focus on five main areas:
1. Advanced coal technology;
2. Building energy efficiency;
3. Clean vehicles;
4. Water and energy technology;
5. Medium and heavy-duty trucks.
The last two areas above were added as part of CERC Phase II that extended this initiative by a further five years from 2016 to 2020. Phase II is funded by both public and private finance of at least $250m with both countries sharing the investment cost evenly.
In 2014, the Global CCS Institute published an article on its website called “Notable CCS projects in China” The article featured five CCS projects in China. In 2008, the first pilot plant became operational with an annual capacity of 3,000 tonnes at the Huaneng Gaobeidian coal-fired Plant in Beijing; the Co2 produced being used in the carbonated drinks industry.
Following on from that, a second coal-fired plant with a capacity of 100,000 – 120,000 tonnes per annum was constructed at Shanghai Shidongkou. The Co2 captured at the Shanghai Shidongkou plant is also used in the carbonated drinks industry. Other CCS projects in China include a coal liquefaction plant in Inner Mongolia developed by China’s largest coal producer the Shenghua group, and post-combustion captures projects at the Shengli Oil Field Company and the Zhongyuan Oil Field Company, both of which are subsidiaries of Sinopec, the state-owned oil, and petrochemical concern.
So, to date, China has made a great start in becoming a greener economy, but to decrease its carbon emissions over the next five years in line with the Paris Agreement, China will need to continue to find innovative ways of reducing emissions coming from its numerous coal plants.