CONCH - Communities Opposed to New Coal at Hunterston


“High emitting nations have an ethical duty to select strategies that will most effectively reduce emissions in an amount that is timely consistent with national obligations. No such nation should arbitrarily allocate funds in support of climate change solutions without regard to the potential efficacy of each solution to reduce the threat of climate change.
Accordingly, each nation should use a careful strategic plan to allocate research funds among competing climate change technologies that considers both the timing, probability of success, as well as cost of alternative reduction strategies.
Nations that choose to rely on technologies such as carbon capture and storage whose environmental efficacy and economic viability will not likely be known for decades must plan to implement strategies using other technologies to achieve emissions reductions obligations in the event that the unproven technology is not viable.”
Climate Ethics
PennState University

Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS ) technology involves capturing the CO 2 from coal emissions, compressing it until it forms a liquid, and transporting the liquid CO 2 through pipelines to a geologically appropriate underground storage area where it would be stored ("sequestered") permanently. Viewed through a public health lens, CCS poses several obstacles which would have to be resolved before it could be considered a viable option::
Concentrated CO2 can be lethal. Concentrated CO 2 can asphyxiate people, as demonstrated in 1986 by the spontaneous release of CO 2 at Lake Nyos, Cameroon, that killed 1,700 people. Care must be taken to avoid pooling or leakage of CO 2 during both transport and storage.
Permanent storage may not be possible. Storage would have to be leak-proof for geological periods of time.30 If at any point in time stored CO 2 escaped into the atmosphere, it would contribute to global warming. If it were to leak into underground aquifers, it could dissolve and release contaminants such as arsenic, lead, mercury, and organic compounds, or could alter water acidity, affecting water quality.
CCS would perpetuate coal pollution. During the time that CCS technology is being developed and safety and liability issues are being addressed, carbon emissions from coal plants would continue unabated. Even if CCS technology were successful, it would sustain the dependence on coal for the generation of electricity, perpetuating the release of other pollutants into the atmosphere, including particulates, sulfur dioxides, nitrogen oxides, and mercury, and contributing to the health-related problems associated with coal mining and the long-term storage of both pre- and post-combustion coal wastes.
CCS would divert funds from clean energy. The cost of research, development, construction, and implementation of CCS would be high. The pipelines alone, reaching from every coal-powered plant in the country to appropriate storage areas, would require the construction of an extensive infrastructure system.33 Funds spent on CCS development, construction, and deployment would be unavailable for investment in clean, safe energy from non-carbon- based sources.

Given the costs and difficulty of implementing CCS on a timeline and a scale that would effectively mitigate the health effects of global warming, the unreliability of permanent storage for geological periods of time, and the costs to health from coal's traditional pollutants, PSR has concluded that CCS is not a preferred option for developing the nation's energy future.
Physicians for Social Responsibility

Communities Opposed to New Coal at Hunterston

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

Information about the Carbon Capture and Storage Debate.

This page gives current information and opinions about Carbon Capture and Storage. Remember that CCS is only part of the issue with Ayrshire Power's proposal.
But CCS is not the only issue. Also to be taken into account is the legal issue and issues with health, accidents, the environment and human rights in the countries which produce the coal which AP would have to import. It is a truly global issue.


News Re CCS

Coal-fuelled power station plans for Grangemouth

20th March, 2012
A US power company is planning to build a coal-fuelled power station at Grangemouth. The plant would use carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology in a bid to reduce emissions by more than 90%. Seattle-based Summit Power Group has joined forces with National Grid PLC and the oil services company Petrofac for the project. The scheme's backers hope to win funding for the Caledonia Clean Energy Project from the UK government.

The proposed plant would be built at the Port of Grangemouth, on the Firth of Forth, west of Edinburgh. C02 emissions would be captured and piped to St Fergus in Aberdeenshire, before being stored deep under the North Sea. Summit Power Group said the Grangemouth site had been chosen because of its proximity to the North Sea and the other gas supply facilities nearby.

BBC news
Coal-fired power station plan for Grangemouth
Coal power station planned at port

CCS race heats up with launch of plans for new Grangemouth plant


All our hopes are pinned on the miracle pill that is CCS

19th March, 2012
CCS is the miracle pill for the UK's energy system. The science and engineering is sound and it is increasingly clear that CCS can work, just don't ask too many questions about the cost, the timelines, the risk of side effects, and what happens if it doesn't prove quite as effective as hoped.....

We should be hoping and praying, not to mention investing heavily in R&D, to make sure the CCS miracle comes off, just as we should remain optimistic that those scientists working to cure humanity's worst medical crises are successful. But there is a difference between optimism and recklessness, and this is where the government's reliance on CCS becomes so concerning.

CCS could have a crucial role to play in the UK's low carbon ecomomy, but should the government be gambling on its effectiveness?



All Scottish coal plants to use carbon capture by 2025

Scotland plans to fit all its existing coal-fired power plants with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology by 2025 and require new coal stations to be fully equipped with CCS from the turn of the decade, the Scottish government said on Monday.

"A 'rolling review' of the technical and economic viability of CCS will take place by 2018, looking specifically at retro-fitting CCS to existing coal plants, with the likelihood of having existing plants retro-fitted by no later than 2025," the government said in a report about the future of Scotland's electricity generation.

CCS is seen as a vital technology to help reduce carbon emissions from thermal power plants in order to achieve legally binding climate change targets, but the technology remains commercially unproven and costly to develop.

CCS to create 5,000 jobs, 3.5 bn pounds for Scotland


SSE kicks on with Peterhead carbon capture plans

SSE is pressing ahead with plans to fit carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to its 385MW gas-fired power plant in Peterhead after entering today into a joint development agreement with Shell.
A deal between the two companies to resurrect the project, which was mothballed in 2007, was announced in February, but today's agreement will "accelerate" a programme of design studies, now due to begin in the second half of next year.

Agreement with Shell will see design work begin next year if European funding is forthcoming


Weblinks with Objective information about CCS

Carbon capture and storage

Very extensive Wikipedia article with many internal and extrenal links. Main headings of the article are: capture, transport, sequestration, leakage, CO2 re-use, example projects worldwide, limitations of CCS for power stations, cost and environmental effects.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS), alternatively referred to as Carbon capture and sequestration, is a means of mitigating the contribution of fossil fuel emissions to global warming, based on capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from large point sources such as fossil fuel power plants and storing it in such a way that it does not enter the atmosphere. It can also be used to describe the scrubbing of CO2 from ambient air as a geoengineering technique.


SEPA position statement: carbon capture and storage

Climate change is a global problem which requires global solutions. Fossil fuels will continue to meet a significant proportion of future global energy demand and carbon capture and storage (CCS) has the potential to substantially reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to atmosphere from large point sources such as power plant. The UK and Scottish Governments have committed to maintaining coal as part of the energy mix in both the UK and Scotland: the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) external link outlined this in its framework for clean coal and the Scottish Government has stated that coal will continue to play a role in base load energy generation in Scotland.
SEPA supports the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Delivery Plan which sets out the actions that Scotland needs to take to achieve its ambitious targets of a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels) of 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. One of the transformational outcomes set out in the delivery plan is to work towards “a largely de-carbonised electricity generation sector by 2030, primarily using renewable sources for electricity generation with other electricity generation from fossil fuelled plants utilising carbon capture and storage”.

Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (full article)

Air Pollution and Climate Secretariat (Sweden)

The Secretariat is a joint venture between four Swedish environmental organizations with the chief purpose of promoting awareness of the problems associated with air pollution and climate change, and thus, in part as a result of public pressure, to bring about the required reduction in the emissions of air pollutants, including greenhouse gases.
The eventual aim is to have those emissions brought down to levels, the so-called critical loads, that the environment can tolerate without suffering damage.

This report takes a look behind the bright vision of carbon capture and storage – CCS – given by proponents of this technology. It shows how the outlook of CCS is used to build new coal-fired power plants today, thus continuously fuelling climate change. The report is not intended to damn CCS but is an appeal for wise decision-making.
The different capture technologies under development, the scope of CCS and potential risks of storing carbon dioxide are described. It discusses the question of who wants CCS, and the political dimension is outlined.

Last Gasp of the Coal Industry

SourceWatch (USA/Canada)

"SourceWatch is a specialized encyclopedia of the corporate front groups, PR teams, "experts," industry-friendly groups, and think tanks trying to influence public opinion on behalf of corporations or government agencies. We also provide information about sources who are frequently quoted or referenced in the news in ways that serve the interests of these entities. We believe in telling the truth about the most powerful people and interests in society - not just relating their self-serving press releases or letting real facts be bleached away by spin. With help from people like you, we also investigate the money trail and financial connections between people, organizations, and agendas."

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), or carbon sequestration, is a means of separating out carbon dioxide when burning fossil fuels, collecting it and subsequently “dumping” it underground or in the sea. CCS is an integrated concept consisting of three distinct components: CO2 capture, transport and storage (including measurement, monitoring and verification). All three components are currently found in industrial operation today, although mostly not for the purpose of CO2 storage.
A 2010 Government Accountability Office report noted that the largest demonstration of carbon capture in a coal plant was at a pilot scale (TRL 7) or less, and that demonstration of large scale integrated CCS systems is a technical challenge that is at least 10-15 years away from being realized.

Carbon Capture and Storage
Also see article on Clean Coal, and other Coal Swarm pages linked on the right of these pages.

The Guardian

Page with many links to news and articles about CCS, mostly in the UK

Carbon Capture and Storage

World Resources Institute

WRI's Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project works with policymakers and the private sector to develop solutions to the policy, regulatory, investment, environmental and social challenges associated with CCS demonstration and deployment.

Worldwide increases in energy demand coupled with a continued reliance on fossil fuel resources have contributed to a significant increase in atmospheric levels of CO2. This increase shows no signs of slowing. According to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2007, the projected growth in energy demand will translate into a 57 percent rise in energy related CO2 emissions by 2030 .
Others argue—especially in the recent high energy price environment—that global energy demand will be much lower than the IEA forecast.

Carbon Capture and Sequestration

Weblinks opposed to Carbon Capture and Storage

Center for American Progress Action Fund

Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has published a blockbuster study, “Realistic Costs of Carbon Capture.” The paper concludes that First-of-a-Kind (FOAK) carbon capture and storage plants are going to be much more expensive than most people realise.

Harvard stunner: “Realistic” first-generation CCS costs a whopping $150 per ton of CO2 — 20 cents per kWh!

Leaks from carbon dioxide injected deep underground to help fight climate change could bubble up into drinking water aquifers near the surface, driving up levels of contaminants in the water tenfold or more in some places, according to a study by Duke University scientists.

Leaks from CO2 stored deep underground could contaminate drinking water


The Guardian

A new research paper from American academics is threatening to blow a hole in growing political support for carbon capture and storage as a weapon in the fight against global warming. The document from Houston University claims that governments wanting to use CCS have overestimated its value and says it would take a reservoir the size of a small US state to hold the CO2 produced by one power station.

US research paper questions viability of carbon capture and storage 25 April 2010

University of Leeds

CCS is a complex endeavour involving carbon capture, transport, storage, environmental impacts, economics and policy. Successful implementation will require a coordinated approach from all stakeholders. Many physical processes involved in CCS have been proven to be feasible, yet the main challenges relate to scaling up of these processes as well as their integration into a complete commercial system. A number of possible environmental impacts of widespread CCS implementation can be identified and care will need to be taken in assessing and mitigating these.
Economically, CCS is not self-supporting in the demonstration phase and financial stimulus will be required for initial deployment.

Carbon Capture & Storage: An Interdisciplinary Review

Pennsylvania State University Rock Ethics Institute

“The Rock Ethics Institute knows that people face ethical challenges in their personal lives, their professional lives, and as citizens.
We help them develop tools to identify ethical challenges, weigh options, consider other viewpoints, and take a stand for their beliefs and the interests of others.”

This article examines ethical issues that arise when a government plans to eventually reduce its greenhouse gas from coal-fired powered plants through the use of carbon capture and geologic storage technology.
Carbon capture and storage is a very hopeful, but not completely proven, technology for reducing climate change's threat from the large and growing number of coal-fired power plants around the world.
Geologic carbon storage raises a number of ethical issues that should be considered when making decisions about this technology's deployment. Yet all solutions to climate change, including geologic carbon storage, must consider the ethical issues each solution raises in the context of the enormous ethical issues raised by the problem that the solution is trying to prevent, namely human-induced climate change.

The Ethics of Allocating Public Research Funds for Carbon Capture and Storage

United States Green Investment Network

The coal lobby wants us to believe that coal can be a "clean" source of energy. By "clean" the coal lobby means they are optimistic that they will be able to effectively sequester co2 and other harmful emissions from coal-powered plants. Given that the U.S. has the largest reserves of coal in the world, it would seem that CCS technology offers the best hope for a cheap, secure, and clean energy future for the U.S.
Unfortunately, this is all propoganda.

Arguments against carbon capture and storage (CCS) 22 April 2009

Scientist warns of quake risk from 'carbon capture'

Efforts to stem global warming by pumping emissions of carbon dioxide deep into the Earth's crust could trigger widespread earthquakes, a Stanford geophysicist warned Monday.
Although those quakes would not be particularly destructive, they would be widely felt and disruptive - and it would also cost billions of dollars to create thousands of disposal sites for the greenhouse gas, said Mark Zoback, one of the country's leading seismic experts.
His conclusion could have repercussions for research projects backed by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Scientist warns of quake risk from 'carbon capture' 14 Dec 2010

University of Montana Ethics Center

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a climate change mitigation strategy wherein carbon (CO2) is collected at point sources and sequestered in order to prevent it from entering the atmosphere. Capturing the gas can occur pre- or post-combustion, generally at fossil fuel-fired power plants or extraction platforms. Proposed storage locales include: subterranean geologic formations, the ocean floor, or in mineral deposits.
Long-term storage of carbon is largely untested, and there remains uncertainty about the effectiveness of long-term containment and the potential environmental effects that might result from leakage. Further, the financial and energetic costs associated with capturing, and transporting as well as the highly variable costs of sequestering it, make analysis of its economic viability complex.

Carbon Capture and Storage

CCS costs are determined, to a large degree, by the price effect of three factors: local geologic characteristics, CO2 purity, and sequestration technology.1 In highly volatile and unpredictable energy markets, it is very hard to accurately forecast the price effects of any of these three factors. Further, because CCS has yet to be implemented at industrial-scale combustion-process electricity generating stations, it would be very hard to forecast a benchmark price for future, sector-wide implementation.

Energy Cost of CCS


Weblinks in favour of Carbon Capture and Storage

Department of Energy and Health - CCS

News comes in thick and fast on this UK Government website.

“The Office of CCS will set the strategic path for the use of CCS, facilitate the delivery of the demonstration programme, create the policy and support arrangements to stimulate private sector investment, and work with stakeholders to remove barriers to investment and development in the UK and globally. It will also look to maximise the domestic and global opportunities for UK businesses and the economy to benefit.”

Fossil fuels play a vital role in providing energy in the UK and globally. In the UK, DECC wants to be able to maintain fossil fuels as part of a diverse and secure low-carbon energy mix. However, to avoid dangerous climate change, ways to substantially reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from these sources are needed.
Development and deployment of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is critical to this, as it has the potential to reduce the CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power stations by around 90%, and make a significant contribution towards the UK and international climate change goals.
Whilst the individual processes involved in CCS are not new, they have yet to be demonstrated together at a commercial scale. DECC is therefore progressing with a programme of 4 CCS demonstrations and has set out a detailed policy framework, which includes no new coal without CCS, and a long-term transition to clean coal. There are now a number of diverse, but linked, actions which need to be taken to ensure that CCS can be successful.

Carbon Capture and Storage
Office of CCS CCS Policy
CCS Roadmap
CCS Demonstration Programme
International Outreach and Collaboration

The Carbon Capture & Storage Association

“The Carbon Capture and Storage Association exists to represent the interests of its members in promoting the Business of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). The Association works to raise awareness, both in the UK and internationally, of the benefits of CCS as a viable climate change mitigation option, and the role of CCS in moving towards a low-carbon global economy.”

The Carbon Capture & Storage Association
UK Proposed CCS Locations

UK Carbon Capture and Storage Community

Site hosted by School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, part of Scottish Centre for Carbon Storage

The home page gives easy-to-understand information and diagrams of what is meant by CCS. Main sections are:

  • What is CCS?
  • What might CCS look like?
  • What are CO2 emissions from the UK and worldwide?
  • How does CO2 affect the climate?
  • How does CO2 affect the oceans?
  • Why is the UK a good place to capture and store CO2?
  • When should we do this?
  • What if we do nothing?
  • What will it cost?
  • What next?
UK Carbon Capture and Storage Community

Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage

Containment solutions to complement emissions reduction strategies
Edinburgh and Herriot-Watt Universities, British Geological Surveys, Scottish Funding Council, Research Councils UK

SCCS is the largest carbon storage grouping in the UK. We comprise in excess of 65 researchers and are unique in our connected strength across the full CCS chain, as well as in our biochar capability.
SCCS builds on and extends the established world-class expertise in CO2 storage evaluation and injection, using petroleum and hydrocarbon geoscience (based on geology, geophysics, geo-engineering and subsurface fluid flow). This is augmented by industrial scale chemical engineering, next-generation carbon capture and innovative CO2 use, combined with rare expertise in power plant design and operation. The centre has the capacity for a full evaluation of business concepts and technology innovation appraisal.
The Centre comprises experimental and analytical facilities; expertise in field studies and modelling; key academic and research personnel, to stimulate the development of innovative solutions to carbon capture and subsurface storage. We undertake strategic fundamental research, and are also available for tactical consultancy. In addition, we perform a key role in providing impartial advice to help industry, the public sector and policy makers.

Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage

Carbon Capture Journal

A recent study has evaluated the economic and environmental merits of different designs of coal-fired power plants, all with carbon capture and storage (CCS), to replace an old power station in Germany. An integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant with pre-combustion CO2 capture was found to offer the best profit for plant operators and significantly lower the life cycle emissions of CO2.

Replacing end-of-life power stations with CCS coal-fired plants


A study evaluating the economics of replacing older coal plant with carbon capture and storage (CCS) found integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant with pre-combustion CO2 capture offered the best profit for plant operators.
The study, 'An economic and environmental assessment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) power plants: a case study for the City of Kiel' published by the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management assessed three different types of coal fired power stations power plant, all with CCS, for their environmental impact and profitability.
The designs have been proposed as replacements for the existing coal fired power station in Kiel, Germany.
The power plants were an IGCC plant with pre-combustion carbon capture; a pulverized coal(PC) plant with post-combustion carbon capture and a pulverized coal plant with oxyfuel combustion carbon capture.
The profitability of alternative coal fired power plants with CCS was assessed using three scenarios of possible future CO2 permit prices, fuel prices and power revenues to plant owners. Results of the profit analysis suggest an IGCC plant with pre-combustion capture would be the best option in terms of economic returns for plant owners.

Study finds IGCC plus pre-combustion CCS best option for replacing coal plants
Full report here (pay per download; US$34!)

“ delivers information about current U.S. foreign policy and about American life and culture. It is produced by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs.”

Capturing emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, and storing them in huge underground repositories for thousands of years is one proposal on the table. The U.S. government is spending $4 billion and private industry is contributing $7 billion to investigate potential carbon storage sites and technologies nationwide.
Ten major demonstration projects are under way, along with more than 50 smaller projects — most of which were initiated in the last two years. The goal is to bring between five and 10 commercial projects online by 2016.

Carbon Capture: A Tough Nut to Crack

Read CONCH's objection letter (link to pdf)

“We urgently need the Scottish Government to introduce the regulations which require any new coal power plant to be fitted with CCS from day one. It is in the Government’s gift to do this.
Anything less than fully operational CCS at a commercial scale from the outset would be disastrous for our climate change targets and a real wasted opportunity for Scotland”
Duncan McLaren
Friends of the Earth, Scotland

What SEPA would like to see

We will continue to work with other European regulatory authorities through our involvement in the Network of the Heads of European Environment Protection Agencies (EPA Network). We lead an EPA Network Interest Group on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCSIG).
Aims of the CCSIG:
* to provide a forum to build on the exchange of information on current and future developments, an opportunity to learn from each other particularly in relation to the development of the regulatory framework and scientific understanding of the issues;
* to consider where more (environmental, technical and scientific) evidence is required;
* to provide a resource for pooling knowledge to create educational materials to enable the EPAs to develop reliable information for the public, and to consider our role in improving public awareness and participation;
* to focus on the core regulatory issues;
* to connect to various international, national, European Union and Member State domestic issues and provide a forum for sharing information, signposting developments and improving understanding;
* to provide a forum for considering environmental effects (and potentially any link with human health) and health and safety effects;
* to provide a forum for pooling information and identifying potential gaps (regulatory and scientific gap analysis).

CCS position statement