Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Replacing Coal With Clean Coal

Offset carbon emissions in developing economies in the world is making an energy transition to renewable energy generated, however, is generally accepted that coal will remain an important strategic fuel for the coming decades. This is due to rising energy demands and the time needed for renewables to achieve the necessary capacity to meet these demands. Fossil fuels, especially coal, will therefore be important to ensure global energy supplies. Given the fact that climate changes are already in place, new clean coal technologies, which are aimed at reducing the environmental impact of coal power generation will play an important role in global strategies to mitigate greenhouse gas gases (GHG) emissions. As the Kyoto Protocol is nearing the end of his term and until monitoring is still being negotiated, the development of clean coal have been heavily analyzed. This is especially evident when it comes to carbon offsetting in the developing world within the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The CDM is an arrangement under the Kyoto Protocol allows industrialized countries with a GHG reduction commitment to offset carbon emissions by investing in companies that reduce emissions in developing countries. However, despite the challenges, there are avenues approved under the CDM that provide opportunities for Clean Coal power. Clean coal to the developing world, China, India and South Africa have a natural abundance of coal and largely depend on this source for its energy supply. With a total annual consumption of about 40 quadrillion BTU (British thermal units) of coal, these three countries are major coal producers and consumers in the developing world. Realizing that the existing power base is dominated by coal and the fact that many new coal-based power plant construction in the coming decades, the impact of clean coal technologies will be important. Many clean coal technologies have been introduced around the world there are still only a few that currently support can be found in the CDM. On the one hand this is due to very strict requirements for accuracy and prudence. Moreover, not all clean coal technologies to address GHG emissions, but other emissions such as sulfur dioxide, dust and traces of heavy metals that do not fall under the CDM. The current framework provides CDM methodologies that can accommodate high-efficiency technologies such as super critical coal-fired power plants. A relevant methodology for this was approved in May 2008 and applies to countries where electricity supply is based on more than 50% carbon. Although the methodology was well received by various stakeholders in China and India, so far there is no public record of the CDM project officer use. Moreover, recently presented a methodology for large installations by EcoSecurities co-firing biomass level was approved by the CDM Executive Board at the 51st meeting in December 2009. The methodology was developed for a plant in Chile, but offers opportunities for co-combustion of coal plants in general. Co-combustion of biomass is a highly developed technology in Europe. A third option, which is currently under discussion, refers to carbon capture and storage (CCS). This new technology is entering the phase of semi-commercial demonstration. This is the capture of CO2 emissions from power plant – in most cases the flue gas after combustion – and its subsequent storage underground in deep saline aquifers, oil and gas fields or deep Coal can not be removed. Methodologies have been developed for CCS, but so far none have passed. The CDM Executive Board has decided not to evaluate any new methods until a political decision has been made of whether the CAC was included in the post-Kyoto mechanisms. Although discussed in climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in December 2009, the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) did not provide any clarity and therefore the CAC will remain on the table during negotiations in Mexico later this year. CCS Is it really part of the solution? In CCS present in emerging economies can be considered in with false hopes because of high costs and risks identified in industrialized countries. However, a lot of lessons and technical improvements come from the demonstration projects in early U.S. and Europe, is scheduled to be operational between 2012 and 2015. All told, the developments in South Africa and China indicate that CCS technology is seen as a positive step – laying the groundwork for future construction. CCS center was established in South Africa in early 2009 with funding from local and international private investors. The financing is secured a commitment for five years mapping and exploring the possibilities of this technology in the country. A day without physical drill was made, however a CCS atlas will be announced in mid-2010. Pre-atlas studies have identified a theoretical capacity of 104 Gt in the Karoo of South Africa needs to store 4 GT 40 million tons / year for 100 years. Although theoretically the Karoo, a region of 400,000 km2 semi-desert, has expansive storage space, there dolerite intrusions and low porous and permeable formations that can dramatically reduce low theoretical capacity. Tony Surridge, Director of the Center CCC, indicating that the investigation is still in process of moving from a theoretical practice applicable estimates. The situation today, however, indicates that the best storage location in South Africa is likely that the Outeniqua Basin where depleted gas fields have a history of gas storage. The center currently plans to prepare for a pilot project in the short term and a small demonstration in the medium term, which will eventually lead to a large-scale demonstration is possible in 2020. Barry MacColl, president of the Center CCC, highlights the fact that national targets, rather than business goals, are a way in which this process could be implemented. As South Africa is a developing economy, the issue of whether the government could implement such a strategy without any external support is questionable. One developing country that is taking initiatives to reduce GHG emissions is China. The Chinese government has identified the importance of reducing emissions and stimulate a portfolio of measures has been implemented. China has signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol and currently holds a substantial amount of CDM projects in operation. As for the ACC, the studios have been incorporated into key research and national development plans, including China’s National Climate Change and China Science and Technology Action on Climate Change. China has evaluated the potential of CCS in the Northeast, Central and Southwest China, while the South needs more analysis. Currently, the total storage capacity is estimated at 1445. 8 Gt of approximately 400 years. China has stressed that international cooperation is the incorporation of the utmost importance. A new type of storage of CO2 is being investigated is called Improving coal bed methane (ECBM). CO2 is injected at the same time and stored in layers of non-minable coal in the travel time of methane pore itself and generate a stream of gas similar to natural gas. Several regional pilots in relation to ECBM, and the capture of CO2 from flue gases of power plants are on the road. India is also investigating the potential geological storage of CO2 may have. A total of 572 GT has been identified mostly from deep saline aquifers and volcanic rock. Carbon Trading The need to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases worldwide saw the birth of a carbon trading system. The sale and purchase of carbon credits under the countries emitting high emission operators, has been welcomed as it helps in the short to medium term planning. The carbon trading arena has witnessed rapid growth, exponentially. ABI Researchers have predicted that the global market for trading carbon emissions will reach 395 billion U.S. dollars in 2014 transactions, which is three times the allowances traded in 2008. With the introduction of a variety of actors, the market is able to expand the creation of incentives for more players enter the process. Although the market has shown tremendous growth and development, some still have reservations about the effectiveness of the system. A cap and trade system implemented in South Africa or China could be costly – not the national agencies, but consumers would have to pay the bill. At present, China and South Africa have very low per capita income. Therefore, increases in electricity bills and gas prices potentially lead to a reduction in the standard of living of a large proportion of the population. The global recession that occurred was a realignment of focus away from the carbon market such as industrial production fell sharply. The EU prices for carbon credits there was a decline of almost 60% between 2008 and felt a decline of 21% in 2009. An agreement in Copenhagen inconclusive further depressed the market and stricter limits on carbon emissions have increased demand for carbon credits, resulting in higher prices. A single, high price on carbon to create incentives for investment and trade needs to be reached. Priced at $ 40 per tonne of CO2 equivalent has been suggested. The price, combined with effective policies, regulations and advances in technology would bring CCS CCS to commercial viability. All in all, the global market of carbon credits rose to $ 136 million last year. If the market follows past patterns, coal will become a commodity. Future developments Although the Copenhagen inconclusive results may have left some in dismay, a crucial result did occur, the developing world has found a voice. The commitment of the whole world is an important step, as a successful solution requires industrialized and emerging countries to collaborate and work together. The Summit recognized the importance of CCS, however, until you have found solutions to the issues raised over the technology may not unconditionally approved by the CDM Executive Board. However, it has placed on the agenda of the next summit in Mexico in 2010. Paul Soff, Head of Research and Development and Associate Director of EcoSecurities, commented: “There is a need to structure a financing mechanism for CCS in developing countries in climate frameworks that provide financial incentives for long-term sequestration. The CDM is one such mechanism, but carbon can provide funds for developing countries and has a very robust control and verification (M & V) system. However, if the MDL is politically very difficult, then an alternative mechanism can be developed using a similar M & V system, either under the UNFCCC or bilaterally between the EU and key countries such as China and South Africa. “Previously, the CDM offers an interim solution to finance-related problems in developing countries. Copenhagen, saw a development in this regard by the commitment of $ 30 billion dollars a year by 2012. Funding for this has been divided, with most of the funds provided by the EU and Japan. In the final address at COP 15 President Obama addressed the rapidly emerging economies such as South Africa, India and China as key participants in the future of climate change. This is a significant advance of the initial meeting in Kyoto, which saw the exclusion of these emerging economies. Following the summit, emerging countries had significant promise. South Africa committed to a 34% reduction in emissions below business as usual for 2020 and 42% in 2025. President Jacob Zuma, however, states that these actions will be subject to a fair result, ambitious and effective international negotiations on climate change. He added that the necessary financial and technological support of international participants. The Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao stressed that China’s efforts are voluntary and not binding. Therefore, it would turn, regardless of the outcome in Copenhagen with a huge commitment to reduce carbon intensity of China by 40-45%. As Asia’s third largest energy consumer, India guarantees a reduction of 25% in 2020 from 2005 levels. The use of forestry and increased energy efficiency would be done to achieve this goal. Although funding has been committed to developing nations, global synergy would be the best solution. The synergy created incentives for industrialized countries to drastically reduce its emissions and emerging technologies to grow their low carbon emissions. The synergy that occurs through the continuation of the CDM process and consideration of a global trading market with a global carbon price. Following the Copenhagen meeting in Mexico in 2010 can and should lead to a legally binding international protocol. As stated by President Kagame of Rwanda at the UN meeting of heads of state on Climate Change in September 2009, “Africans want to be part of the solution – not part of the problem.” Developing nations must be equipped with the tools necessary to facilitate the successful implementation of climate change objectives.

About the author of the article is written by Lodewijk Nell Jade Feinberg and EcoSecurities, a leader in the business of supply and the development of carbon emission reductions.

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