The head of the North American unit of the Global CCS Institute says carbon capture and storage technology is just as relevant and viable as ever, despite recent setbacks feeding sceptics who are broadcasting its doom.

CCS representatives have come out in defence of their technology in the past week after key projects at Kemper in the US and Rotterdam were hit by cancellation and key partners pulling out respectively.

Jeff Erikson | General Manager – Americas at Global CCS Institute told Power Engineering International that Southern Company’s decision was not to “shelve CCS at Kemper”, but rather to use natural gas as the fuel source rather than coal.
Petra Nova
“That meant that the gasifier was not required, and since the carbon capture was linked to the gasifier, it means that CCS is not operating in this fuel source scenario.”

“It is, of course, disappointing that Kemper won’t, at this time, be added to the 17 existing large-scale CCS facilities currently in operation.  While for the most part the CCS unit was not the reason for the delays and cost overruns, many CCS sceptics will cite Kemper as evidence that CCS isn’t viable. In fact, CCS remains very viable – as evidenced by the numerous other facilities that have recently come online in Abu Dhabi, Texas, Illinois, Alberta, and soon in Australia.”

Erikson says the technology, despite the negative publicity associated with recent events is proven, affordable, versatile and essential and cited the Petra Nova project in Texas as the clearest example of those attributes.

“This is the clearest example that carbon capture and storage works, and can be profitable, in the power sector.  However, a big opportunity for CCS is in the industrial sector.  Of the 17 existing CCS facilities, 15 of them are on industrial facilities, where the economics and physics are better, and we expect more in the future.”

“That said, policy support remains necessary at this point, to improve project economics and provide investors with confidence that their investments will pay off in the long run.

In recent days Luke Warren of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association and Annya Schneider of the Global CCS Institute, Australian HQ have led the defence of the technology, following consecutive blows threatening to damage its prospects for progress.