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Norwegian firm says CCS technology more welcome in U.S.

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carbon emissionsCarbon capture and storage technologies designed to reduce carbon emissions get a better reception in the U.S. than in Europe, according to Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM), a Norwegian firm that tests CCS technology.

For one thing, there’s a lot more carbon to capture and store in the USA, and a lot of carbon emitting gas and coal fired plants still around.

A recent CNBC report based on interviews with TCM executives said the U.S is a “more welcoming place” for CCS technology, at least at the moment, because Europe is recovering from a debt crisis and recession.

TCM executives told CNBC that the U.S. shale boom is making carbon emissions reduction technology an easier sale. Further, as part of its energy strategy, the Obama administration last year paved the way for the increased use of CCS technology, which traps carbon from power plants and then injects it underground.

In addition, “The fracking revolution in the U.S., if anything, has generated more interest” in carbon emissions capture, said Olav Falk-Pedersen, TCM’s business development manager.

W companies in North America have definite interest, “In general, CCS has suffered a setback in Europe,” Falk-Pedersen said.

Howard Herzog, a senior research engineer at the MIT Energy Initiative, noted the U.S. is friendlier to CCS than Europe because the U.S. “is more used to oil and gas exploration, and (the CCS) technology is similar to that, Herzog continued. “In parts of Europe, they just don’t like drilling.”

TCM says it is the world’s largest and most advanced facility for testing and improving CO2 capture. The center is a joint venture set up by the Norwegian state (75.12 percent), Statoil (20 percent), Shell (2.44 percent) and Sasol (2.44 percent). It aims to “increase knowledge on carbon capture technologies, in order to reduce technical and financial risk, and accelerate the development of qualified technologies capable of wide scale international deployment.”

The center operates two CO2 capture plants, each with a capacity to capture approximately 80,000 tons of CO2 from the nearby refinery or 20,000 tons from a gas-fired power plant. In addition the center has available space and infrastructure to sustain the next generation technologies to be tested in the future.

In addition to the somewhat better economic conditions in the U.S., there are all thosepollution-emitted gas- and coal-fired plants in the U.S. that will have new life once CCS technologies are widely available. Something needs to be done with them besides junking them, converting them to renewable energy plants and planting trees, right?

[Image: Emission from coal-fired plant by Claudia Otte via Flickr cc]

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Written by William DiBenedetto

12 March, 2014 at 4:11 am

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