There is not yet a single commercial-scale carbon capture plant, but the sector is aiming higher all the time. In the latest news, Saudi Basic Industries Corp. has appointed Germany’s Linde Group to build the largest carbon capture facility yet proposed.
SABIC affiliate United Jubail Petrochemical Company hopes to capture about 1,500 tons a day of carbon dioxide from ethylene plants, and use it in SABIC petrochemical plants, Reuters reports. SABIC also aims to supply liquid carbon dioxide to the food and drinks industry.
In North America the potential for carbon capture is substantial, with geological formations offering the capacity to store 500 years of carbon dioxide emissions. Construction is underway on SaskPower’s proposed $1.24 billion Saskatchewan coal-fired power plant outfitted with CCS. Back in the US, CPS Energy of San Antonio signed the first US power purchase agreement in January 2012 for electricity from a commercial-scale CCS project.
But several major carbon capture projects have hit stumbling blocks. TransAlta, Enbridge and Capital Power Corp. had planned the 1 megaton-per-year Pioneer carbon capture and storage project to help combat emissions associated with their oil sands operations, but in April last year said that they would pay penalties for any emissions, rather than mitigate them. In 2011, American Electric Power shelved plans to build one of the nation’s first carbon capture and storage facilities, terminating a cooperative agreement with the US Department of Energy.