Sunday, September 16, 2012

Useful with a boulder of salt

Shell has a good, simple explanation of a planned carbon capture and sequestration facility in Alberta:

So the good stuff first:  they're not using it for enhanced oil recovery, which creates additional emissions.  They're injecting CO2 into salty groundwater 2 kilometers down, which is also supposed to maximize retention.  And they claim it will start in 2015, soon enough to know in short order if this is a real project or just an excuse to keep going after the tar sands.

OTverybigOH, it's tar sands, with plenty of environmental problems in addition to climate change.  While this project may recover emissions from the refining process, it won't from the extraction process, where the sands have to be heated to extract the bitumen (and of course there's the emissions from end use).  No word in the video about what percent reduction of CO2 they expect to achieve with the project.  And my understanding is the biggest problem with CCS is cost, so we'll have to see how well they handle that issue.

So it's an interesting component of a bad overall project.  More on CCS from Shell here.

UPDATE:  lots of good comments as usual, and in John's post on the same issue.