“Coal is here to stay” – these are the words of Milton Catelin, head of World Coal Institute during his presentation at the World Future Energy Summit held in Abu Dhabi recently. This underlines the importance of coal that will be the mainstay of future energy security. Also China and India which are the largest consumer of energy in the world are expected to meet their increasing energy demand from coal based thermal power plants. That’s why governments and industry have started focusing on CCS technologies as a means to reduce their contribution of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is optimistic about the CCS technologies potential to capture CO2 from industries and considers CCS as the most important tool for CO2 savings. The agency predicts that CCS would alone account for 20% of carbon mitigation effort in this century reducing carbon emissions on the same lines of renewable energy sources. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says CCS would account for 10-55% of the world’s carbon mitigation efforts.
Having said this, CCS is not only a climate change mitigation mechanism; it can be used to make money as well. A few decades back, companies in USA injected CO2 for EOR. Also the captured CO2 can be used as feedstock in the manufacturing of products like gasoline, plastics, cement among others for which extensive research is underway. A detailed blog post on using CO2 as feedstock is available here. Adding to it, inclusion of CCS projects under Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) wherein these projects are eligible for carbon credits makes it still more attractive economically.