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Friday, May 25,2012

Amid Economic Concerns, Carbon Capture Faces a Hazy Future

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For a world dependent on fossil fuels, carbon capture and storage (CCS) could be a key to controlling greenhouse gas emissions. But the technology meant to scrub carbon dioxide pollution from the air is experiencing stiff headwinds that have stalled many projects at the bottom line.

Many companies have determined that expensive CCS operations simply aren't worth the investment without government mandates or revenue from carbon prices set far higher than those currently found at the main operational market, the European Trading System, or other fledgling markets. According to a recent Worldwatch Institute report, only eight large-scale, fully integrated CCS projects are actually operational, and that number has not increased in three years.

"In fact, from 2010 to 2011, the number of large-scale CCS plants operating, under construction, or being planned declined," said Matt Lucky, the report's author. Numerous projects in Europe and North America are being scrapped altogether, Lucky added. Last month, TransAlta, the Canadian electricity giant, abandoned plans for a CCS facility at an Alberta coal-burning plant because financial incentives were too weak to justify costly investment in CCS.


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