A1 Approaches to categorising CCS project scale

The following section presents key highlights of the global literature review conducted on the categorisation of project scale. These case studies were used to inform the project scale definitions as described in Section 3.2.3.

IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

The International Energy Agency (2009) defined indicative criteria for large-scale operational projects as those that:

  • Were, or had been operational by the end of 2008 and either:
    • captures over 10,000 tCO2 per year from flue gas;
    • injects over 10,000 tCO2 per year with the purpose of geological storage with monitoring;
    • captures over 100,000 tCO2 per year from any source;
    • coal-bed storage of over 10,000 tCO2 per year.
  • Commercial CO2 EOR is excluded unless there is a monitoring programme to provide learning;
  • Does not need to be fully integrated; and
  • Also for this Announcement, at least 300,000 tons per year of CO2 emissions from the demonstration plant must be captured and sequestered or put to beneficial reuse. A 30 day running average will be used to determine if the project successfully meets the carbon dioxide capture efficiency and the capture and sequestration or beneficial reuse rate requirements of this Announcement.

This requirement of 300,000 tons per year could be met with a power plant as small as 50 MWe depending upon the technology and choice of fuel.

United States Department of Energy (US DOE)

The US DOE - National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) (2008) published a funding opportunity announcement seeking proposals for an IGCC project with integrated CCS of at least 250 MW.

The FutureGen project fact sheet produced by the US DOE - Office of Fossil Energy (2003) states:

  • The size of the plant is driven by the need for producing commercially relevant data, including the requirement for producing one million metric tons per year of CO2 to adequately validate the integrated operation of the gasification plant and the receiving geologic formation.

In a subsequent Funding Opportunity Announcement from the US DOE - National Energy Technology Laboratory (2009) for the Clean Coal Power Initiative – Round 3, the US DOE stated:

  • DOE’s goals are to demonstrate at commercial scale in a commercial setting, technologies that:
    • operate at 90 percent carbon dioxide capture efficiency;
    • make progress toward capture and sequestration at less than 10 percent increase in the cost of electricity (COE) for gasification systems and less than 35 percent for post combustion and oxycombustion systems; and
    • make progress toward sequestration of 50 percent of plant CO2 output at a scale sufficient to evaluate the full impact of the carbon capture technology on plant operations, economics, and performance;
  • For this Announcement CO2 capture efficiency is defined as the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the process stream expressed as a percentage of the amount of carbon dioxide entering the carbon capture system; and
  • Also for this Announcement, at least 300,000 tons per year of CO2 emissions from the demonstration plant must be captured and sequestered or put to beneficial reuse. A thirty day running average will be used to determine if the project successfully meets the carbon dioxide capture efficiency and the capture and sequestration or beneficial reuse rate requirements of this Announcement.

This requirement of 300,000 tons per year could be met with a power plant as small as 50 MWe depending upon the technology and choice of fuel.

The American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act (2009)

The ACES Act (Waxman and Markey 2009) does not specifically give a definition of CCS, but does have the following CCS requirements:

  • Subtitle B – Carbon Capture and Sequestration;
  • Section 115, Commercial Deployment of CCS Technologies:
    • To be eligible for emission allowances, the project must implement CCS technology at an electric power plant of 200 MW or more; derive at least 50 percent of fuel from coal, petcoke or any combination thereof; and capture and sequester at least 50 percent of the CO2 that would be produced without CCS; and
    • Alternatively, a project must implement CCS at an industrial site that sequesters not less than 50,000 tons per year of CO2; captures and sequesters at least 50 percent of the CO2 that would be produced without CCS; and does not produce a liquid fuel from a solid fossil fuel.

World Resources Institute (WRI)

The WRI (2008) in their Guidelines for CCS is silent on the recommended size for CCS projects. The only mentions of scale are that:

  • demonstration of all capture approaches are urgently needed on commercial scale power plants to prove the technologies (Capture Guideline 1a); and
  • there should be recognition of the potential challenges in achieving the theoretical maximum capture potential before the technologies are proven at scale. This may necessitate flexibility in establishing appropriate capture rates for early commercial-scale projects, with the amount of CO2 captured at a facility dependent on both technology performance and the specific goals of the project (Capture Guideline 1b).

The Australian Government’s CCS Flagship Program

The Australian Government’s Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (DRET) (2009) issued funding guidelines for the CCS Flagships Program which is aimed at accelerating the deployment of large-scale integrated CCS projects. With AUD2 billion over nine years committed the DRET is expecting to fund between two and four projects. According to the DRET (2009), “this Program will deliver Australia’s contribution to the G8 goal of 20 demonstration projects by 2020”. The commissioning of projects that receive support will commence from 2015.

The issue of project scale is discussed in the guidelines. Eligible projects will involve the capture and geological storage of CO2 emissions from electricity generation or industrial processes using fossil fuels and the projects must:

  • be at or genuinely scalable to a capacity that can be rapidly and effectively escalated to commercial deployment in Australia;
  • demonstrate a high level of CO2 capture (moving towards 90 percent during the life of the project);
  • demonstrate mechanisms, at full operating capacity, to provide safe and secure transport and storage of all the CO2 captured; and
  • be of a scale that will result in original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and engineering procurement construction (EPC) contractors and storage service providers having sufficient confidence in their technologies to offer performance and process guarantees to industry customers for fully commercial plants.

The CCS Flagships Program is silent on providing a specific metric on the size of the capture plant and total volume of CO2 stored. The guidelines are positive in encouraging the market through the OEMs and EPC contractors to determine the scale that they find acceptable upon which performance and process guarantees can be offered. This could vary significantly between projects depending on the capture technology, size of project and fuel type.

EU CCS Directive

Under the EU CCS Directive 4 (Dixon 2009), the definition of capture ready applies to power plants greater than 300 MW in size operating from the 12 December 2008. This is described as having:

  • assessed availability of suitable storage sites;
  • assessed transport is technically and economically feasible
  • assessed technical feasibility of retrofitting capture equipment; and
  • if so, then space for capture equipment.

The draft Regulation of the European Parliament regarding the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR) included Section 3, Carbon Capture and Storage which stated in Article 18 that CCS projects would be eligible for assistance if the projects fulfilled the following criteria (among other requirements).

  • Projects shall demonstrate that they have the ability to capture at least 80 percent of CO2 in industrial installations and the ability to transport and geologically store this CO2 safely underground.

In power installations, CO2 capture has to be demonstrated on an installation of at least 250 MW electrical output or equivalent.

The EU has announced a commitment of up to 12 large-scale CCS demonstration projects in their member states (Commission of European Communities 2008). The definition of large scale is undefined.

United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and Australian Commonwealth Government Carbon Accounting Policy

In terms of accounting for CO2 emissions the US EPA’s (2009) proposed rule for “Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases” (US EPA Rule E9-5711) uses a criterion of greater than 25,000 metric tons per year. This is also consistent with the minimum GHG emissions for mandatory reporting as part of Australia’s National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting System (NGER) Act 2007.

Siemens

A leading vendor of CCS and power generation equipment, Siemens, show their concept of scale from laboratory to commercial for absorbers used in the various CO2 capture technologies in Figure A-1.

Figure A-1 Siemens absorber scale-up steps Source: Siemens Presentation, 2009

Figure A-1 clearly shows a large pilot plant for CO2 capture is considered at approximately 1 MWe, a small demonstration plant is approximately 50 to130 MWe and a “full-scale” plant is greater than 130 MWe.

CO2CRC

The CO2CRC is a leading cooperative research centre on the issue of CO2 storage. It classifies small scale CO2 storage projects as those considering less than 20,000 tonnes. Medium scale storage is classified as those projects storing greater than 20,000 tonnes and less than 500,000 tonnes. Large scale storage projects are classified as having greater than 500,000 tonnes of CO2 stored (CO2CRC 2008).