12 October 2009 20:05 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Monday that he is confident that carbon capture and storage (CCS) can be commercially viable within ten years, but reaching that goal will require major effort by global governments and industry.
In remarks to be delivered at a carbon sequestration conference in
While noting that coal-fired power generation produces 40% of global carbon emissions,
Coal now accounts for 25% of global energy resources, he said.
Referring to what he termed “overwhelming scientific evidence” that carbon emissions from fossil fuels are causing climate changes, he said the world is "on a perilous course that poses clear threats to the well-being and economic prosperity of our people”.
However, he added that "prosperity depends on reliable, affordable access to energy” and said that coal would retain a major role in energy production.
To make continued and widespread coal use compatible with climate change goals, he said, “will require an aggressive global effort, harnessing the scientific talent and resources of governments as well as industry”.
“Finding safe, affordable, broadly deployable methods to capture and store carbon dioxide is clearly among the most important issues scientists have ever been asked to solve,” Chu said.
“While the challenge we face is enormous, I believe that scientific innovation can provide the answers we need. This is an aggressive goal, but the climate problem compels us to act with fierce urgency.”
US chemical producers - heavily dependent on natural gas as a feedstock and power fuel - are concerned that climate change policies being advanced in Congress will greatly accelerate an already wide-scale shift from coal-fired utilities to natural gas.
That, in turn, could trigger significant feedstock and energy cost increases for gas-dependent chemical makers. Successful development of CCS could ease or even reverse the shift from coal to natgas for power generation.
There are doubts, however, that carbon capture and sequestration can be made cost-effective for widespread commercial application.
Chu said that the
Those investments, he said, “could bring up to ten commercial [CCS] demonstration projects online by 2016, enabling us to evaluate and improve on the technology to make it commercially deployable” by 2019.
Apparently referring to the new US Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E), Chu said that
That agency is to announce by the end of October some $150m in first-round research grants meant to stimulate “transformational” energy concepts.
He did not specify what such a global undertaking might cost or which entity might coordinate the effort.
($1 = €0.68)
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