US CARBON CAPTURE DIFFICULTIES
By Kent Knutson Energy Market Content Specialist ABB Inc
ENERGYCENTRAL - Supported by advances in new technology and federal support through grants and tax incentives, the nascent carbon capture sequestration (CCS) industry might well be in a stronger position today than ever before. The high cost and complication of carbon capture technology have created several obstacles for success over the years. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) advanced fossil energy research program, over the period from 2010-2017, only 3 of 9 projects funded remain active now. There have been several announced projects that never got off the ground. The most high-profile in recent years has been Southern Company’s mammoth Kemper County Energy Center (aka Plant Ratcliffe) integrated coal gasification (ICG), and CCS project (582 MW) in Mississippi. With mounting costs, the company decided to scrap the development of the ‘clean coal’ technology project and convert the power plant to burn only natural gas.
The importance of achieving success with CCS technology is paramount to slowing the rate of carbon emissions globally. Consider that roughly 1,140 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fueled capacity has come online in the past 20 years, with nearly all (95%) built in China, India, and Southeast Asia. The retrofit of CCS technology is key to keeping these relatively new power plants running in the future. But today, according to data compiled by the Global CCS Institute, there are only 19 large-scale facilities in commercial operation around the world, with 4 currently under construction and 28 in various stages of development. Of all the projects in operation, 17 are in the industrial sector, and only 2 in the power sector, the Petra Nova project (240 MW) in the United States, and SaskPower’s Boundary Dam project (115 MW) in Canada. Of the 51 projects tracked, nearly half (24) are in the Americas.
The driver in America
The recently elevated interest in carbon capture across the United States is driven by the bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, in which Congress expanded and reformed the 45Q tax credit covering carbon capture projects. Some of the key elements of the legislation including recent IRS guidance include:
This thought leadership article was originally shared with Energy Central's Generation Professionals Group. The communities are a place where professionals in the power industry can share, learn and connect in a collaborative environment. Join the Generation Professionals Community today and learn from others who work in the industry.