Is coal plus CCS a viable way of producing electricity: Three points to consider

Recently Coal Investing News published the following note:

‘Carbon Sequestration Methods’ (Coal Investing News, 23/2/16) @ http://investingnews.com/daily/resource-investing/industrial-metals-investing/coal-investing/carbon-sequestration-methods/#comment-on-post

This gave potential investors interested in investing in coal uncritical advice on the viability of Carbon Capture and Sequestration / Storage  as a viable technology.

I have posted this quick response as a reply, which I’m repeating here in case the post is not approved:

” IS COAL PLUS CCS A VIABLE WAY OF PRODUCING ELECTRICITY: THREE POINT TO CONSIDER

 

For a note advising investors interested in investing in the future of coal, this is a very uncritical look at Carbon Capture and Sequestration / Storage for three reasons.

 

Firstly it gives no impression as to how chequered the history of this technology has been, with projects either running into major financial problems or getting cancelled such as the Kemper Project in the USA or the White Rose project in the UK.

 

Secondly the article conflates Storage with Sequestration. The intention of the former is to lock CO2 into the ground, though there are doubts about whether this too is achievable e.g. ‘Carbon capture and storage has no future’ (Daily Texan, 12/2/16) The problem with Sequestration is that in using CO2 to pump out more Oil is to risk adding more CO2 to the atmosphere when the Oil is used.trailer movie J. Cole: 4 Your Eyez Only 2017

 

Thirdly, in citing Sacks Powers Boundary Dam power station as a success is to ignore a rather turbulent start to the 1st years operation of the project that did not prove that the project worked. Rather it seems Sask Power did all it could to hide the problems it had with the project. (see   ‘UPDATED: Questions over ‘spin’ of SaskPower’s early carbon capture failures’ (Global News /ca, 28/10/15)  There has been more recent accusations that the truth about how unsuccessful the project has been is still being withheld ( see ‘NDP says carbon capture plant sputtering, but government says it’s on track’ (Global News / ca 16/2/16)

 

I do hope you publish this so as start to present a more balanced view about whether Coal + CCS is  a viable technology for power generation purposes in the future. However, this criticism does not apply to the problems of capturing CO2 when coal is used to produce steel and cement for example. I would agree that here we do have real problems”

Steve Leary for The Loose Anti Opencast Network