In the wake of this week’s Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) in London—a meeting attended by leaders from 22 countries to explore the best ways to accelerate commercialization of carbon capture and storage (CCS)—several significant announcements were made around the world.

Chu: U.S. Will Seek to Make CCS Commercial in the Next Decade

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that his department had recognized that coal, which accounts for 25% of the world’s energy supply and 40% of its carbon emissions, would likely play a major role as a growing source of electricity in the foreseeable future.

For this reason, he said in a letter (PDF) to energy ministers and other attendees of the forum in London, the U.S. would seek to make CCS technology ready for commercial use within eight to 10 years. Chu added that the U.S. commitment to the advancement of CCS could have 10 to 12 demonstration plants up and running by 2016, and that the plants could be ready for wider deployment by 2019.

“Can this aggressive timeline be achieved?” Chu asks in the letter. “Having examined the technology and consulted with leading scientists, researchers and industry experts … I am convinced the answer is ‘yes.’”

Source: DOE

European Commission Selects 7 CCS Projects for €1.08 Billion Funding

The European Commission recently identified and presented member states with seven projects to share €1.08 billion to demonstrate CCS technology.

The projects include the Hatfield power plant in the north of England, Vattenfall’s Jaenschwalde plant in Germany, Endesa’s Compostilla plant in Spain, the Maasvlakte plant in the Netherlands, Florange in France, and Belchatow in Poland. These would receive up to €180 million each. In addition, Porto Tolle in Italy would receive €100 million.

Eleven applications for support funding were submitted by the mid-July deadline. Member states can reject the proposals before they are passed to the European Parliament for approval.

Two years ago, the EU pledged to set up 10 to 12 large-scale CCS demonstrations by 2015 and require all new power stations to have the technology fitted by 2020. According to Reuters, however, the EU may not have any built as governments deal with the global recession.

Sources: EC, Reuters

IEA: World Needs 100 Major CCS Projects by 2020

The International Energy Agency (IEA) chief, Nobuo Tanaka, on Tuesday told attendees at the London CCS forum that the world will need to build 100 major projects to capture and store greenhouse gases by 2020—and thousands more by 2050—to combat global warming.

"We will need 100 large scale projects by 2020, 850 by 2030 and 3,400 in 2050," the agency’s executive director was quoted as saying by the International Business Times. The drive would cost some $56 billion by 2020 alone, said Tanaka, who noted that the developed world must take the lead, but most projects should be in developing countries by 2050. A further $646 billion will be needed from 2021 to 2030, he told the forum.

Source: International Business Times

Australia Shuns UK Push for Carbon Capture Commitment 

Australia turned down the UK government’s request that it pledge not to build any coal-fired power plants without CCS technology, The Sydney Morning Herald reported today.

The UK government had been lobbying Australia to make the commitment, hoping to make it a centerpiece of an announcement at the CSLF meeting in London. The newspaper reported that the U.S. and Canada have also rejected the pledge.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Norway to Step Up Investment in CCS for 2010 by $621 Million

Norway’s government on Tuesday said that it would raise investments to promote CCS in 2010 to a record 3.5 billion crowns ($621 million). Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen told parliament in presenting the center-left government’s 2010 budget that the increase is equal to almost 1.6 billion crowns compared to the 2009 budget, according to Reuters.

Norway plans to make the nation “carbon neutral” by 2030—seeking to offset greenhouse gas emissions with measures to soak up greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere, such as by planting forests. The minister on Tuesday said that the funds would contribute to technology for capture, transport, and storage of carbon dioxide.

The country, which stands at the forefront of CCS research, has buried carbon dioxide offshore at the Sleipner gas field since 1986. Construction work on a center for capture of carbon dioxide at Mongstad on the west coast is under way.

Source: Reuters

E.ON UK Postpones Construction of Kingsnorth, But Still Vies for UK CCS Competition

E.ON UK last week said it would postpone building its controversial Kingsnorth coal-fired power plant in the UK for three years because of lower power demand, but the UK government said that the plant will continue vying for funding in its CCS competition.

The German company is one of three bidders for the UK’s government-funded project for a 400-MW CCS demonstration facility, expected to be in operation by 2014 or 2015. Two groups—a consortium led by ScottishPower and another led by RWE npower—are also still in the running for up to £1 billion in funding.

"Nothing has changed with our CCS competition, E.ON has not withdrawn,” a spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) told the Times Online last week.

Source: Times Online

DONG Energy Pulls Out of Planned 1,600-MW Scottish Multi-Fuel CCS Project

Danish power giant DONG Energy has abandoned its partnership with UK firm Peel Energy and withdrawn from plans to build three new coal plants around Europe because of lowered power demand and falling prices.

The firm told the Glasgow Evening Times that it had pulled out of a deal to build the 1,600-MW coal- and biomass-fired Ayrshire power plant at Hunterston, in Scotland. The proposed £2 billion power station would also use CCS technology to capture up to 90% of the CO2 produced by the plant.

Owen Michaelson, chairman of Peel Energy, said told UK media on Tuesday, however, that “Ayrshire Power’s overall strategy for the project is unaffected by this decision.” The planning application for the plant is expected to be lodged later this year.

Sources: Glasgow Evening Times, Peel Power

Canada Doles Out C$865 Million for Shell’s CCS Project for Oil Sands

The Canadian federal and Alberta provincial governments last week said they would direct C$865 million (US$822 million) to help Royal Dutch Shell build a C$1.35-billion commercial-scale CCS project at its Scotford upgrader near Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.

Shell’s fully integrated CCS Quest project is aimed at capturing and storing 1 million metric tons of CO2 from the Athabasca Oil Sands Project. Shell’s Canadian affiliate owns 60% of the 155,000-barrel-a-day operation, and Marathon Oil Corp. and Chevron Corp. each own 20%.

Canada is contributing C$120 million from its C$1 billion Clean Energy Fund, and Alberta is providing C$745 million from a $2 billion carbon capture and storage fund. The money will be awarded over 15 years as Shell and its partners hit certain milestones.

The funding was announced as the nation readied for the CSLF meeting in London this week. “We have to start somewhere. We start today,” Lisa Raitt, the federal minister of natural resources, said in a press conference in Edmonton. “There are some hurdles to CCS, but the good news is the technology has already been technically proven.”

Source: Shell