Above Image: Milton R. Young power plant, currently the subject of a carbon capture FEED study (photo: Minnkota Power)


The latest additions bring the total number of large scale CCS facilities in various stages of development to 59 says the GCCSI, with a capture capacity of more than 127 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). With the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line becoming fully operational, GCCSI reckons there are now 21 large scale facilities in operation worldwide, three under construction, and 35 in various stages of development.

“Our recent CO2RE database update shows that despite the current CV-19 crisis we are observing a significant increase in CCS facilities in the pipeline”, said Global CCS Institute CEO Brad Page.

The facilities added continue trends in CCS deployment that include innovations such as to applications in natural gas power plants, negative emissions projects and cement manufacture, as well as stacked and offshore geologic storage, the GCSSI says.

“The average capture capacity of the new facilities is 2.6 mtpa, as opposed to 2 mtpa for those already in the pipeline, indicating that new facilities are aiming for economies of scale, and strengthening the CCS role in large-scale emissions abatement. Nonetheless, with 21 facilities operating today, we still need at least a 100-fold scale-up to reach climate goals”, Brad Page noted.

The relatively large number of new projects in the USA reflects targeted incentives and sustained government support, notably via the US Department of Energy, which has for example recently announced $131 million in funding (see panel).

The 45Q tax credit and the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard CCS Protocol have been the drivers for a number of projects.

For example, the combined incentives contribute to the economic viability of both California Resources Corporation’s (CRC) CalCapture project, and Velocys’ and Oxy Low Carbon Ventures’ Bayou Fuels Negative Emission project (biomass to fuel).

A number of projects have also been awarded US Department of Energy front end engineering design (FEED) study grants, or are part of CarbonSAFE, seeking to establish large-scale storage of 50 mtpa and more.

The ZEROS energy-from-waste project in Texas, in an important development for the CCS facilities pipeline, has also completed its FEED and entered pre-construction. ZEROS (Zero Emissions Energy Recycling Oxidation System), consisting of two 120 MW oxyfuel gasification/ combustion units able to operate on a diverse range of waste fuels, with “no smokestack, no carbon emissions”, is being developed by Systems International.

“This is an important time for CCS in the US,” says Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg. “Policy incentives and research from DOE projects are working together to help industry move forward towards the goal of net- zero carbon emissions.”

While the US does not currently have any natural gas plants equipped with CCS, the database update includes three natural gas fuelled power plant CCS development projects: Mustang in Texas (450 MW CCGT); Daniel in Mississippi (2 x 500 MW CCGT); and California Resources Corp (CRC) CalCapture in California (550 MW CCGT).

This brings the number large scale natural- gas-fuelled power plants with CCS under development globally in the database to six, says GCCSI (the other three being Caledonia Clean Energy (UK), Net Zero Teesside (UK), and Magnum (Netherlands)).

“The CalCapture project offers multiple benefits including substantial emissions reductions, prolific positive economic impacts across the California economy, and development of a key technology needed worldwide to meet future energy transition targets. The FEED for the CalCapture project is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, which would position the project for permitting, construction and commissioning by mid-decade”, said Shawn Kerns, CRC executive vice president of operations and engineering.

The CalCapture FEED study, focused on retrofit of Fluor’s amine based Econamine FG Plus capture technology, is being carried out by EPRI, CRC and Fluor.

A capture retrofit FEED study for the Daniel CCGT plant is being undertaken by Southern Company Services and Linde-BASF, while that for the Mustang CCGT plant is being done by the University of Austin and envisages deployment of the Piperazine Advanced Stripper (PZAS) process.

A USDOE supported FEED study is also underway for a retrofit of the coal-fired Gerald Gentleman unit 2 with Ion Engineering’s carbon capture technology.

Moreover, two projects, one at the San Juan generating station and the other CRC’s CalCapture facility, are also evaluating plans for “stacked storage”, using both geologic storage with enhanced oil recovery, as well as dedicated storage in saline formations.

Oxy Low Carbon Ventures (LCV) has teamed up with LaFarge Holcim and Total to evaluate the capture of CO2 from a cement plant in Colorado, and Oxy LCV also intends to store CO2 from Velocys’ biofuel production, delivering negative emissions. Oxy LCV is also involved in plans for a large direct air capture project in West Texas using Carbon Engineering’s technology.

Existing significant power plant CCS projects in the USA already in the GCCSI database before the recent additions listed in the table include: Petra Nova (operational capture and storage); Dry Fork (planned capture and storage (Basin Electric/Wyoming CarbonSAFE); CarbonSAFE Illinois (proposed geological CO2 storage hub); Minnkota’s Tundra project (retrofit of Milton R Young coal fired unit with Fluor Econamine FG Plus capture technology), for which Fluor has just been awarded the FEED contract; NET Power La Porte Allam Cycle natural gas fuelled oxyfuel demo facility; ECO2S (CO2 storage in vicinity of Kemper County, site of abandoned IGCC project, now Ratcliffe combined cycle plant); and Wabash (CO2 storage at former IGCC plant).

Concrete progress

The latest CCUS projects map from US think tank Third Way (which includes smaller scale projects than GCCSI and more coverage of CO2 usage) also presents a positive picture for carbon capture and shows that “the CCUS universe is expanding” according to Matt Bright, Third Way’s policy advisor, climate and energy. “CCUS is critical for achieving climate goals and also provides huge opportunities for economic growth…That’s why the buzz of new activity in this space over the past two years is so exciting. While additional policy supports will be needed to accelerate CCUS deployment, momentum is clearly building.”

Some indications of the progress made since Third Way released its 2018 carbon capture projects map include the following:

  • The number of carbon capture projects being planned, constructed, or operated worldwide has jumped 32%, from 300 to 396.
  • Of the 96 new additions, 62 are in the United States.
  • CCUS projects are found in 37 states and the District of Columbia.
  • New projects in the power generation and industrial sectors demonstrate that “CCUS is a serious weapon in the climate change fight.”

The 2020 interactive map includes several new features, including three new layers that show where carbon dioxide can be permanently sequestered in saline sandstone basins, where carbon dioxide can be used and stored in enhanced oil recovery fields, and the US congressional districts where US carbon capture projects are located. It also been made easier to see how much carbon is being captured, used, or stored by different projects and short descriptions of each project have been added to the Third Way database, along with a link to project developer websites.

Third Way draws attention to two innovative US power sector projects that are in the planning stages: the ZEROS project (already mentioned); and (not yet included in the GCCSI database) the Louisiana based G2 Net-Zero LNG project, under development by G2 in partnership with Siemens, 8 Rivers/NET Power, and EJM Associates LLC, and described as “the world’s first net-zero LNG export and industrial gas production complex.”

As well as carbon capture and storage, the Third Way map and database also indicate significant progress in carbon dioxide utilisation projects, again predominantly in the USA. “While most CCUS project databases do not closely track these projects, they represent one of the most important and fastest growing segments of the carbon capture industry”, says Third Way, noting that in the past two years there has been a 42% increase in the number of carbon use projects (from 147 to 209). Moreover, 52 of the 62 new projects are in the USA.

The greatest current use for CO2 (by total number of projects, not volume of CO2 used) is in the concrete business, says Third Way. Since 2018, it has identified 44 new concrete mixing facilities in the USA that incorporate captured CO2, which brings the total number to over 100 projects (an increase of 71%).

Aside from concrete, a diverse array of carbon use companies has “popped up all over the US in the last two years”, Third Way notes. E3 Tec based in Illinois is working to convert CO2 captured from industrial exhaust sources to high-value industrial chemicals. HY-TEk Bio in Maryland is using CO2 captured from industrial flue gases to grow algae which can then be sold to make things like pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, paint, and bioplastics. Algae to Energy LLC is producing a carbon-negative biofuel from algae.

Companies in California and Colorado are converting agricultural biomass into biochar that can sequester carbon in soils. “Even the fashion industry is getting in on innovative new uses for carbon dioxide. ADA Diamonds in California is producing synthetic diamonds out of captured CO2, and 10X Beta in New York City is partnering with Novomer to turn CO2 into plastics which can then be turned into carbon negative shoes”, according to Third Way.

No longer a lost cause

And it’s not just in the USA where CCS, considered a lost cause not so long ago, is showing signs of progress. The Drax BECCS (bioenergy with CCS) and Alberta Carbon Trunk Line projects have already been mentioned.

The ACTL system captures industrial emissions and delivers the CO2 to mature oil and gas reservoirs in Central Alberta, Canada, for use in enhanced oil recovery and for permanent storage.

At Drax, the aim is to capture 4 mtpa of CO2 from one of the existing biomass-fired units by 2027, before converting all of the remaining biomass units to BECCS by 2035. The carbon dioxide will be transported by pipeline and stored in the southern North Sea in geological storage. The project will be an anchor for the wider Humber Cluster (one of several low carbon clusters under development in the UK), which will also include the VPI Immingham combined heat & power plant, Phillips 66 Humber refinery, and Uniper Killingholme power plant. Phillips 66, Uniper and VPI Immingham have recently entered into an MoU to co-develop the Humber Zero project, for which Wood has been awarded a contract to deliver the “concept selection and early design.”

In Norway, Equinor, Shell, and Total have decided to invest in the Northern Lights project, potentially the first commercial-scale carbon dioxide transportation & storage project in Europe. It is part of the Norwegian “full-scale CCS project”, which envisages carbon capture from industrial plants (cement and waste-to-energy) in the Oslo Fjord region.

An important step forward has also been taken by Rotterdam’s Porthos (Port of Rotterdam CO2 Transport Hub and Offshore Storage) project with the award to MAN Energy Solutions of a contract for the engineering of three compressor trains.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority, Energie Beheer Nederland BV (EBN) and NV Nederlandse Gasunie are jointly developing the project, which has been recognised by the European Union as a Project of Common Interest (PCI), and aims to store about 2.5 million tons per year of CO2 captured from industrial sources under the North Sea.

At the end of 2019, Porthos signed agreements with a number of companies interested in capturing their CO2 emissions
and feeding them into the collective Porthos pipeline that will run for some 30-33 km through the Rotterdam port area. The CO2 will then be transported to a platform located about 20 km off the Dutch coast. There, the CO2 will be pumped into the depleted P18 gas fields, which are expected to have a storage capacity of around 37 million tons of CO2. Additionally, the Porthos network enables utilisation of the captured CO2 in other industrial applications, eg greenhouse horticulture.

The MAN Energy Solutions scope covers the engineering of two RG 25-4 and one RG 31-4 type integrally geared compressor trains with an order for three additional units expected intended at a later stage. The compressor trains will be located at a compressor station on Maasvlakte, the man-made, western extension to Europoort. There, the CO2 will be pressurised to ~132 bar for transport and injection into the gas fields, located about 3200 to 3500 m below the North Sea.

Porthos hopes to store the first CO2 under the North Sea by the end of 2023. The finalisation of MAN’s engineering contract is scheduled for late-summer 2020, with material order expected in Q2 2021.

MAN systems have already been widely employed in carbon dioxide compression applications.


Capturing continuing funding from US DOE

Signalling its continuing support for carbon capture, utilisation and storage, in April 2020, the US Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy announced further funding of “up to $131 million” for CCUS R&D projects. Of this, $46 million was made available via a new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for cost-shared R&D projects focused on industrial sources, while $85 million was assigned to five projects (“selected for negotiations”), under a previous FOA, CarbonSAFE: Site Characterization and CO2 Capture Assessment:

  • Illinois Storage Corridor: The University of Illinois will characterise and obtain UIC (Underground Injection Control) Class VI permits to construct two sites: a storage site near the One Earth Energy ethanol facility and a storage site at the Prairie State coal-fired power plant. A CO2 capture assessment will be performed for the One Earth Energy facility, while a FEED study of CO2 capture using MHI’s KM process is already underway for Prairie State under a previous FOA. The new project (total storage capacity about 6.5 million t CO2 per year) aims to accelerate commercial deployment of CCUS within the Illinois Storage Corridor, a region with proven geologic storage performance and numerous industrial carbon sources. DOE: $ 18 106 527; non-DOE: $7 299 291; total: $25 405 818
  • San Juan Basin CarbonSAFE Phase III: Ensuring Safe Subsurface Storage of CO2 in Saline Reservoirs – New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology will perform commercial-scale site characterisation of a storage complex in northwest New Mexico to accelerate the deployment of CCS at the two-unit (847MW) San Juan coal-fired power plant. The data obtained will be used to support attainment of a Class VI permit for construction. About 6 to 7 million t of CO2 will be captured per year, of which 2 million t per year will be stored at a site approximately 20 miles from the station. The remaining CO2 will be sent to the Cortez pipeline for enhanced oil recovery in the Permian Basin. CO2 capture at San Juan using MHI’s KM process is the subject of a project funded under a previous FOA. DOE: $17 499 905; non-DOE: $4 428 108; total: $21 928 014
  • Establishing an Early CO2 Storage Complex in Kemper County, Mississippi: Project ECO2S – Southern States Energy Board will lead a project team composed of 16 universities, labs, and private companies in establishing a CO2 storage complex in Kemper County, Mississippi. Previous characterisation identified a geologic setting adjacent to the Kemper County Energy Facility (site of a terminated IGCC project, now the Ratcliffe combined cycle plant) as a world class geologic area capable of securely storing over 900 million t of CO2. The project team will build upon this work to fully characterise the complex and obtain a UIC Class VI permit for construction. The envisaged sources for the CO2 include Ratcliffe along with transported CO2 from the Daniel and Miller power plants, totaling 22.5 million t per year. CO2 capture assessments will be performed for Ratcliffe and Miller. Daniel is already the subject of a FEED study supported under a previous FOA. DOE: $17 479 430; non-DOE: $6 113 380; total: $23 592 810
  • North Dakota CarbonSAFE Phase III: Site Characterization and Permitting – University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) will perform a full characterisation (building on previous positive storage feasibility studies) and seek UIC Class VI permits to construct injection wells as part of Minnkota Power’s Project Tundra. Two injection sites near Minnkota’s Milton R. Young coal fired power plant could store over 3 million t CO2 per year from the 455 MW Milton R. Young unit 2, subject of a capture FEED study subsidisedunderapreviousFOA.Thenewwillbuildupon previous feasibility studies that confirmed the viability of the storage complex in central North Dakota DOE: $16 987 438; non-DOE: $7 958 800; total: $24 946 238
  • Wyoming CarbonSAFE: Accelerating CCUS Commercialization and Deployment at Dry Fork Power Station and the Wyoming Integrated Test Center – University of Wyoming will finalise the characterisation and obtain a Class VI permit to construct a storage complex in Campbell County, Wyoming. The carbon dioxide will come from Basin Electric’s Dry Fork power plant, one of the newest coal-fired power plants in the United States. Some 2.2 million t of CO2 per year could be stored at three sites within the same storage complex. The project will build upon previous studies that indicated the storage site’s feasibility. A FEED study of Membrane Technology and Research Inc’s two- stage membrane capture process has been carried out for Dry Fork under a previous FOA. DOE: $15 247 075; non-DOE: $3 856 389; total: $19 103 464.