Carbon capture market could be worth close to $9 billion by 2025

In the age of climate change, carbon dioxide emissions produced by burning fossil fuels present a liability that many investors fear might one day bring down oil companies.

Key Points:

  • Federal R & D spending on carbon capture and storage:
    • 2011 – $179.6 million
    • 2012 - $179.2 million
    • 2013 - $170.4 million
    • 2014 - $200.8 million
    • 2015 - $188 million
    • 2016 - $207 million
    • Source: Congressional Research Service
  • Burning fossil fuels in power plants, factories and other industries is a major source of the carbon dioxide that traps heat in the earth’s atmosphere. For now, even the initial step toward putting carbon dioxide to use – separating it out of the emissions streams rising out of the country’s smokestacks – remains prohibitively expensive.
  • By 2025 it should be competitive with naturally occurring stockpiles
  • Douglas Hollett, principal deputy assistant secretary for fossil energy at the Energy Department. He said carbon capture is on a similar trajectory as earlier energy technologies like solar PV, onshore wind (turbines),
  • LED (light bulbs), and shale wells
  • Carbon dioxide has a long list of theoretical applications:
    • cement, feed algae, produce the bubbles in a can of soda and even make fuels like methanol and ethanol
  • Biggest use to date – and the one to which industry and policy makers are pinning their hopes for the foreseeable future – is within the oil and gas industry.
    • Enhanced Oil Recovery, drillers for decades have pumped carbon dioxide into older oil fields to push the last barrels to the surface.
  • Failures
    • Kemper County coal plant in Mississippi, which was designed to sequester carbon dioxide for use in nearby oil fields, won close to $400 million in federal grants and tax credits. But the project has gone three times over its original budget and is now expected to cost $6.7 billion.
    • “On the Republican side, the biggest problem is the huge amount of federal money we’ve put on to this,” said Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston, who co-sponsored the House bill. “On the Democratic side, there’s lukewarm support. They generally support carbon capture, but using it for enhanced oil recovery, there’s this huge group of ‘keep it in the ground’ folks, who are not appreciating what we’re trying to do.”
    • The United States has long led the world in carbon capture, with 13 of the world’s 18 large-scale facilities, according the carbon capture institute. But with only two plants on the drawing board in the United States – compared to eight in China – that could be changing, like they buy fake id on
  • Other countries
    • Norway
      • In offshore natural gas fields in the North Sea, Statoil has begun pumping carbon dioxide back beneath the ocean’s floor to avoid the government’s pricey carbon tax.
    • China
      • Building carbon capture facilities on its coal-fired power plants at a fast clip to drive up production in its burgeoning oil and gas industry.
      • “The Chinese government has made it a priority, and I’m curious to see if they do with CCS what they did with the solar industry. They flooded the market, and now they’re producing all the world’s solar panels.”