U.S., China deal includes support for carbon capture in China

A plan announced Nov. 11 by President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping to curb carbon dioxide output by the world’s two largest CO2 emitters includes a plan to support development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology at a site in China.

The deal includes plans for a major carbon capture and storage project in China with a goal of helping produce usable water, according to GenerationHub.

In connection with the international deal, President Obama announced a new target to cut U.S. net greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

The White House noted that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the Clean Power Plan in June, which is designed to cut U.S. CO2 emissions from the power sector 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

At the same time, President Xi Jinping of China announced targets to peak CO2 emissions around 2030, with the intention to try to peak early, and to increase the non-fossil fuel share of all energy to around 20 percent by 2030.

Together, the U.S. and China account for over one third of global greenhouse gas emissions. The two countries say the agreement is important headed into the international climate talks next year in Paris.

The agreement would include expanded efforts on low-carbon energy technology. This includes the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC). It would extend the mandate for CERC for an additional five years from 2016-2020.

The CERC project was first announced in 2009 with funding of $150 million. The CERC facilitates joint research and development on clean energy technology by teams of scientists and engineers from the United States and China. It is funded in equal parts by the United States and China, with participation from universities, research institutions and industry.

It would also renew funding for the three existing tracks: building efficiency, clean vehicles, and advanced coal technologies with carbon capture, use and sequestration (CCUS). It would also feature increased attention to the nexus between energy and water.

The United States would be expanding its work under the Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) and under the CERC, and partnering with the private sector, the United States and China will undertake a major carbon capture and storage project in China that supports a long term, detailed assessment of full-scale sequestration in a suitable, secure underground geologic reservoir.

The United States and China will make equal funding commitments to the project and will seek additional funding commitments from other countries and the private sector.  In addition, both sides will work to manage climate change by demonstrating a new frontier for CO2 use through a carbon capture, use, and sequestration (CCUS) project that will capture and store CO2 while producing fresh water, thus demonstrating power generation as a net producer of water instead of a water consumer.

This CCUS project with Enhanced Water Recovery will eventually inject about 1 million tons of CO2 and create about 1.4 million cubic meters of freshwater per year.

A fact sheet on the just-announced climate deal can be found here.

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 22 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants.

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