Clean Coal: Carbon Capture and Enhanced Oil Recovery, Part Deux

Guest post by David Middleton

Not quite a year ago (April 18, 2017) I authored a post on the completion of the Petra Nova carbon capture project at the W. A. Parrish coal-fired power plant in Fort Bend County, Texas.  Petra Nova was billed as “the largest post-combustion carbon capture project in the world.”  In addition to capturing CO2 from a very large coal-fired power plant, Petra Nova was also designed to serve a useful purpose: Deliver CO2 for enhanced oil recovery to West Ranch Oil Field in Jackson County, Texas.  The ultimate goal is to boost production in the field from around 500 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) to 15,000 BOPD and recover about 60 million barrels that would otherwise have been left in the ground.

EIA had an update on the carbon capture aspect back in October…

OCTOBER 31, 2017

Petra Nova is one of two carbon capture and sequestration power plants in the world

image of Petra Nova, as explained in the article text

Source: Petra Nova, a joint venture between NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration

The Petra Nova facility, a coal-fired power plant located near Houston, Texas, is one of only two operating power plants with carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the world, and it is the only such facility in the United States. The 110 megawatt (MW) Boundary Dam plant in Saskatchewan, Canada, near the border with North Dakota, is the other electric utility facility using a CCS system.


Petra Nova’s post-combustion CO2 capture system began operations in January 2017. The 240-megawatt (MW) carbon capture system that was added to Unit 8 (654 MW capacity) of the existing W.A. Parish pulverized coal-fired generating plant receives about 37% of Unit 8’s emissions, which are diverted through a flue gas slipstream. Petra Nova’s carbon-capture system is designed to capture about 90% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from the flue gas slipstream, or about 33% of the total emissions from Unit 8. The post-combustion process is energy intensive and requires a dedicated natural gas unit to accommodate the energy requirements of the carbon-capture process.

graph of carbon dioxide emission intensity at W.A. Parish Unit 8, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Air Markets Program Data

The carbon dioxide captured by Petra Nova’s system is then used in enhanced oil recovery at nearby oil fields. Enhanced oil recovery involves injecting water, chemicals, or gases (such as carbon dioxide) into oil reservoirs to increase the ability of oil to flow to a well.

By comparison, Kemper had been designed to capture about 65% of the plant’s CO2 using a pre-combustion system. The capital costs associated with the Kemper project were initially estimated at $2.4 billion, or about $4,100 per kilowatt (kW), but cost overruns led to construction costs in excess of $7.5 billion (nearly $13,000/kW). Petra Nova CCS retrofit costs were reported to be $1 billion, or $4,200/kW, and the project was completed on budget and on time.

Principal contributor: Kenneth Dubin


Here’s an update on how the carbon capture project is affecting electricity output at the power plant and oil production in West Ranch Oil Field.


Figure 1.  Output is relatively unchanged.  The greatest demand occurs during May through September when temperatures are highest.  May-Sept 2016: Avg. Temp 82 °F, total output  7,802,898 MWh.  May-Sept 2017 Avg. Temp 80 °F, total output  7,655,403 MWh.   Nameplate capacity is about 4,000 MW and carbon capture only affects 240 MW; so this shouldn’t be a surprise.


Figure 2. The initiation of CO2 injection very quickly boosted oil production in the WEST RANCH (41-A & 98-A CONS.) unit from about 100 BOPD to 3-4,000 BOPD. The August-September period was adversely affected by Hurricane Harvey.

A win-win… Coal-fired power plant keeps the AC running and a thirty-fold increase in oil production from an old field… And the Obama maladministration actually paid for part of this with our tax dollars because of the carbon capture aspect… Priceless.


143 thoughts on “Clean Coal: Carbon Capture and Enhanced Oil Recovery, Part Deux

  1. Was all of the increase in well production from EOR or were the wells redrilled horizontally and fracked or a little of both?

      • Ok…reading a little about it now…salt dome(s)… should have looked it up before commenting.

      • It’s a salt-cored anticline, The reservoirs are mostly in Oligocene-age Frio formation. They are conventional sandstone reservoirs.

      • LOL. This will have some “leave it in the ground” heads exploding. They finally get a pilot scheme injecting CO2 back into the ground …. only extract more “CARBON”.
        More unintended consequences for them to chew on.

      • and why not use the nat.gas for injection rather than for burning to capture co2?
        ” The post-combustion process is energy intensive and requires a dedicated natural gas unit to accommodate the energy requirements of the carbon-capture process.”

      • gnomish, explosion, deflagration or fire require fuel, oxygen and an ignition source. It’s best to keep fuel and oxygen separate. Besides, under field temperature and pressure, carbon dioxide is a supercritical fluid and is able to dissolve hydrocarbons so that their partition coefficient into CO2 is much higher than into an ordinary gas.

      • tnx mr shearer. i did not know it was injected at such pressures to make CO2 supercritical.

      • With normal air, there’s still the issue of introducing oxygen into a region loaded with hydrocarbons.
        If it was cheaper to inject natural gas instead of CO2, I’m sure these guys would be doing just that.

      • Probably not. The reason oil and gas accumulated in that formation is that is sealed above by an impermeable layer of rock. As long as they don’t overpressure the formation, the CO2 should stay there, just like all the methane did.

      • It all depends, for example on local geology and how well the it’s capped. Eventually your fire extinguisher may leak, it doesn’t have to for a very long time but Chinese ones leak sooner.

      • Mark, natural gas formations have held methane for millions of years without it leaking out. Same with natural CO2 fields. What is a ballpark number in millions of years for your ‘eventually’?

      • SACROC is a massive CO2 EOR project in West Texas. It’s been in operation since the 1970’s. There’s no evidence that any CO2 has leaked out.

      • “Mark, natural gas formations have held methane for millions of years without it leaking out. Same with natural CO2 fields”
        The ones who didn’t aren’t around any longer. The age distribution of oil/NG reservoirs shows that it all leaks away ultimately.

        • Ultimately, it got into the reservoirs by leaking out of source rocks. No trap is permanent or 100% impermeable. However, from a human lifetime or even human civilization lifetime frame of reference, the traps are sufficiently impermeable to be effectively permanent.

      • CO2 is a larger, more polar molecule than methane and should have a lower tendency to leak. It’s movement can also be inhibited by capillary action.

    • From the above numbers it takes 38% of the energy produced by Unit 8 to remove 90% of the CO2 from the 37% of the flue gases.
      This means that 33% of the CO2 is removed by using 38% of the energy produced. To removed 66%, it would take 76%, and to remove 99% takes 115% of the power.
      In other words, the net energy out of the system would be -15% of the system power production to sequester all the CO2 produced.
      Wow, that’s such a plan, let’s do it more and everywhere!!!!!!!

  2. So they captured 33% of the CO2 from Unit 8’s emissions, while producing extra emissions from the Natural Gas used in the capture process. I see that the CO2 per kWh has come down a bit. What if they installed 2 more of these systems to get the CO2 captured to 90%? Would it just be better to use the natural gas generators to produce electricity?

    • Diminishing returns gets you, the close you get to 100%.
      If the value of the extra oil recovered exceeds the electricity used to capture and compress the CO2, then it makes sense. They were using CO2 to boost oil production long before the global warming nonsense took off.

    • This is an engineering project that fits the category “….we did it because we could.” I’d love to see the maintenance costs over time recalculating the ROI on a more realist basis. These wet dreams were created in a time of $140/bl.oil created by intermittent shortages. They are no longer relevant or necessary.

    • That’s not even remotely similar. Dakota Gasification converts coal to natural gas. Petra Nova captures CO2 from coal combustion and uses it for enhanced oil recovery from an old oil field.

      • Ha! I guess the remoteness of the similarity depends on your proximity to the subject matter. From my perspective both plants burn coal to make energy and use the CO2 for enhanced oil recovery. I will concede that burning coal for heat to make steam is different from partial combustion to make methane and other products.

        • I missed the EOR part of the Dakota project when I first looked at it.
          The problem is that natural gas is cheap and coal is cheap. Using coal to make natural gas doesn’t make much sense, at today’s gas prices (~$3/mcf), even if you can use the CO2 for EOR.
          At $50-60/bbl Petra Nova is probably barely economic, even though the CO2 is waste gas from coal that was going to be burned anyway.

      • I’ve been to the LaBarge site in Wyoming. They are injecting 60%H2S and 40%CO2 into the wells in that region. I’ve also been to sites around Lost Cabin.

      • To David Middleton March 8, 2018 at 3:15 pm
        Your Statement:
        “At $50-60/bbl Petra Nova is probably barely economic, even though the CO2 is waste gas from coal that was going to be burned anyway.”
        Reply :
        You economic assessment is not far off. Quoting NRG spokesperson David Knox, Power Magazine has stated:
        “Still, Petra Nova’s model isn’t entirely free of risks. Knox noted revenues are highly dependent on crude oil prices, which have fluctuated wildly since 2014 owing to an assortment of global factors. To break even, he said, oil prices will need to hover at $50 per barrel.”
        Source (Page 5):

        • Yeah… NRG said they could make money at $50/bbl. It boils down to how you define “make money.” $50/bbl might be cash flow positive; but the discounted NPV probably doesn’t look too good below $70-80/bbl. Still, at this point, it’s a go forward project.

      • Dakota Gasification also makes a lot of fertilizers including ammonia, urea, ammonium sulfate, as wells as aromatics, acids, tars, etc.

      • To David Middleton March 8, 2018 at 6:22 pm
        Your comment:
        “Yeah… NRG said they could make money at $50/bbl.”
        Well… to be fair to NRG. They didn’t say they would make money at $50/bbl. They said that was that was their “break even point”.
        Depends upon how they calculate their “break even point”. Most utilities I’ve dealt with define the term “break even point” to mean a cash flow that produces a zero net present value at the company’s discount rate (usually 10%). “Break-even” meaning they didn’t lose money… but wasted an enormous amount of time, probably made the bankers rich (paying borrowing cost), and but didn’t produce returns for their investors.
        Like you said “the discounted NPV probably doesn’t look too good below $70-80/bbl”. So, agree with you in principal…. I won’t want to be a CEO trying to justify a “break even” return to my stock holders.

        • On the other side of the calculation is the fact they demonstrated they could do this and finish the project on time and on budget; and they should be able to bring the costs down on future projects.
          My recollection is that NRG and Nippon bore the full cost (apart from $190 million DOE subsidy) of the Petra Nova carbon capture system and pipeline in exchange for a 50% working interest in West Ranch Oil Field. If oil prices rise the economics of this project don’t look bad. With the carbon capture system in place, the cost of the next project will be much lower after West Ranch is produced out.

      • does the fuel required to truck the Liquid CO2 out to West Texas make it into the carbon accounting?

      • “They are injecting 60%H2S and 40%CO2 into the wells in that region.”
        Pure CO2 is more efficient but H2S is extremely poisonous and costly to destroy, so they reinject it insted.

        • The H2S can actually be valuable if you have processing facilities and a decent sulfur market.
          My first “discovery” back in the 1980’s was a Jurassic Smackover prospect. The Smackover is notable for high concentrations of H2S. It was very close to an H2S processing plant owned by Enserch (my employer).
          When we drilled the prospect, we found a nice little gas discovery. Unfortunately, the gas didn’t have much H2S; but it had a fairly high concentration of CO2. To my knowledge, the discovery was never developed because there was no CO2 processing facility nearby… And I think this was the only Smackover well with CO2 in that part of East Texas.

      • As an industrial process to support old recovery, capturing the CO2 here makes sense. But, it makes no sense, if you are capturing CO2 solely because of a junk science-based political agenda.

    • Many are talking about the advantages of using 45Q in the new tax law to increase the bottom line. But I always am concerned about subsidies, they can be repealed just as easily as they were enacted.

  3. What happens with the $1 billion CCS system when the West Ranch Oil Field runs dry in about 11 years?

    • Assuming they can’t find another EOR candidate, they would just keep pumping the CO2 into the West Ranch Oil Field. The wells won’t “run dry.” Production will decline until it becomes uneconomic for the current operator. Even after that, it will continue to produce some oil. Even if they plugged all of the production wells, they could still continue to inject CO2. Although, at that point it would be a matter of economics. On a discounted basis, it often makes sense to continue production with a net loss if it delays large plugging and abandonment expenses.
      There are lots of old oil fields in South Texas that are suitable for CO2 injection. Assuming oil prices are in the $50-100 range, they shouldn’t have trouble finding more EOR candidates.

      • Pipe the CO2 to other oil wells. That is the plan. Obviously there are carbon credits involved behind the scenes. If someone pays your overheads, then many things are ‘economic’.

      • Transporting CO2 adds another layer of costs. Frankly, the whole idea stinks to high heaven. It was an idea borne in coal-killing Obama era and partially paid-for by taxpayers. OK, so we get some more oil out of the deal, but considering all the costs, including to the taxpayers, I doubt it is worth it.

        • The pipeline was part of the $1 billion cost. At $60/bbl, 60 million bbl is worth $3.6 billion. When you factor in the costs of the injection and production wells, the economics are marginal at $50-60/bbl.
          The incremental costs to expand the CO2 capture system and build new pipelines will improve the economics of future EOR projects.
          The economics will also depend on what oil prices do over the next 5, 10, 20, 30 years…

  4. It is interesting that they used the output from all of the Units as the base so that the impact to the output would be minimized. If I am reading this right, it takes 240 MW of power to capture and sequester 90% of the CO2 from 37% of the flue gas for a 654 MW Unit. That does not sound like it will be feasible as a stand alone CO2 removal option for the future. There may be a use for this type of system as long as it is located where the captured CO2 can be used for enhanced oil recovery.
    It is also poorly written. The article references the Boundary Dam plant as having CCS, then near the end of the article Kemper is thrown in without reference to what it is.

    • It doesn’t take 240 MW to capture the CO2. The carbon capture system is only installed on 240 MW of the plants 4,000 MW capacity.

      Petra Nova’s post-combustion CO2 capture system began operations in January 2017. The 240-megawatt (MW) carbon capture system that was added to Unit 8 (654 MW capacity) of the existing W.A. Parish pulverized coal-fired generating plant receives about 37% of Unit 8’s emissions, which are diverted through a flue gas slipstream. Petra Nova’s carbon-capture system is designed to capture about 90% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from the flue gas slipstream, or about 33% of the total emissions from Unit 8. The post-combustion process is energy intensive and requires a dedicated natural gas unit to accommodate the energy requirements of the carbon-capture process.

      Unit 8 has a 654 MW capacity. 240 MW is 37% of 654. 90% of the CO2 is captured from 240 MW of capacity. The capture system is powered by natural gas.

      • I interpreted it the same way garywgrubbs had. So the next question is, how much power is needed from the natural gas generators to run the capture process?

        • That’s not easily determined from the plant level data. WA Parrish has about 3,000 MW of coal-fired and 1,000 MW of natural gas capacity. Looking at the monthly gas consumption, I can’t tell if the gas for the CO2 capture system is included.
          Natural gas yields about half as much CO2 per MWh as coal.
          Based on the emissions, it looks like the power required for the carbon capture is a lot less than 240 MW…

          If it took 240 MW, the light blue columns should be about half the height of the dark blue.

      • Reply to Jeff in Calgary March 8, 2018 at 2:36 pm
        Your Question:
        “I interpreted it the same way garywgrubbs had. So the next question is, how much power is needed from the natural gas generators to run the capture process?”
        The natural gas unit is reported to be a 70 Mw. See following source n page 5):
        Estimating the parasitic load of the Petra Nova CCS unit is a bit more difficult to determine. The CCS at the site is a acid gas removal system (AGR) designed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) that uses MHI’s proprietary amine-based KS-1 solvent. The solvent is promoted as being energy efficient. MHI data suggest a steam load of 1.5 tons steam/ton CO2 and electric requirement of 18 kWh/ton-CO2. This figures are interesting, but don’t provide much insight into what the parasitic load would be once integrated with a pulverized coal system.
        To the best of my knowledge, MHI hasn’t explicated stated what the parasitic load would be on a conventional pulverized coal plant. But, it is possible to estimate the parasitic load from the available literature. Here’s my analysis:
        Normally you’d expect a parasitic load of 30% for a typical amine-based AGR attached to a conventional pulverized coal plant. This likely explains why the parent company, NRG Energy, built a 70 Mw gas unit – as 659 MW * .30 *0.37 = ~72 Mw. My guess is they over built the Natural Gas unit as contingency against the KS-1 CCS not performing as expected. Just good risk management practice.
        If you look at page 5 of the Power magazine article above, David Greeson, vice president of development at NRG Energy, is quoted as saying:
        “We’ve effectively cut the parasitic load from 30% down to about 22%, which is a big deal and we believe we will be optimized to under 20% over the next few years with debottlenecking.”
        OK, a 22% parasitic load is equal to ~53 Mw (654 Mw * .22 * .37 = 54 Mw) which leaves ~17 Mw of power to sell on the open market from the natural gas plant. With a potential parasitic load of as low 20% , or 48Mw leaving, 21 Mw of surplus power.
        But there is ambiguity in these statements. Because the article goes on to say:
        “NRG uses only half its power for the capture system—and sells the remainder, about 35 MW to 39 MW, on the grid.”
        Obviously 35-39 Mw of excess power is higher than the 17-21 Mw of excess power that would be expected if the CCS parasitic load were 20-22%. If one were to believe the 35-39 Mw excess power figures, then the CCS’s parasitic load would be in the neighborhood of 5-6%. Personally, I don’t think a parasitic load of 5-6% is likely. So, I discount the part of Power magazine article suggesting NRG Energy is selling ” 35 MW to 39 MW”.
        My take? The proven parasitic load of the KS-1 CCS system installed on pulverized coal system is likely in range of 22%. If true, that’s a substantial improvement over the performance of most existing amine-based AGR systems.

      • As a supplemental note to my comment Dave Kelly March 8, 2018 at 4:59 pm
        I assumed the slip stream was 37% of Unit 8’s emissions. However, the slip stream could also be 33% as the source document is ambiguous… stating:
        “…the existing W.A. Parish pulverized coal-fired generating plant receives about 37% of Unit 8’s emissions, which are diverted through a flue gas slipstream. Petra Nova’s carbon-capture system is designed to capture about 90% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from the flue gas slipstream, or about 33% of the total emissions from Unit 8.”
        Had I assumed a 33% slip stream then: the parasitic load for a typical amine-based AGR (or CCS) would have been 65 MW (at 30% parasitic load), the parasitic load for the MHI CCS would be 47 Mw (at a 22 parasitic load), and the excess power from the Natural Gas plant would be ~22 MW.
        The above doesn’t change my conclusions. But, best to be fully transparent

    • The steam needed to regenerate the solvent is approximately 20-25% of the 240 MW (MHI, the solvent supplier, keeps the exact numbers close to the chest). So that is a penalty of 48 to 60 MW. The have a combined cycle gas turbine that generated both power and steam for the process. Anything left over goes to the grid.

  5. Saskatchewan’s carbon capture isn’t economic because of the low price of natural gas. link
    Saskatchewan is on a collision course with Trudeau Jr. over the carbon tax. link
    As always, I’ll be sitting on the sidelines with a big tub of popcorn. It’s nice to see Saskatchewan standing up to the feds. Anyway, I don’t think Trudeau actually cares about ‘carbon pollution’. He just wants to make energy more expensive so he can rescue the world from the big scary ugly capitalist system. The young twerp should really have something viable to replace it with before he tries to get rid of it. Just saying.[/rant] (smoke issues from ears)

    • I cannot believe that people in Saskatchewan want to prevent their region to be 2º C warmer.
      Heck, If I were living in Saskatchewan and if I believed in CAGW, I would be pumping CO2 into the atmosphere like crazy, to make winters shorter and more tolerable. Mean temperatures are below freezing during the whole winter.

      • Good point, I have long said it is difficult to understand why any Canadian would be stupid enough to worry about global warming. I lived in northern Alberta for a full year and endured minus 40 degrees F. The benefits of warming would be huge for Canada.

      • Speaking as a proud Saskatchewanian I can only take 5 minutes out from shovelling to thank you all for your efforts to halt ASS (Anthropogenic Stupid Spending) but I must also point out that whatever we do with regard to CO2 it appears to have almost nothing to do with temperatures.

      • The problem is Trudeau wants to tax carbon high enuf that it will be like a poison to possess.or produce.

    • What color socks was he wearing? There are only two things he is worried about, his socks and hair.

  6. See essay Clean Coal in ebook Blowing Smoke, or the previous substantially equivalent same title guest post over at Judith’s Climate Etc for backstory and context details. There are two parts to the backstory of the Petra Nova CCS project. First, even with large federal subsidies (in form of outright funding grants), only viable because partial capture of just one unit exhaust stack, sold for tertiary oil recovery in an old nearby field when oil was $100/bbl. (Technical note: most tertiary oil CO2 recovery is supplied from CO2 scrubbed from natural gas prior to pipeline injection using the amine process in a reducing environment—stack gasses are an oxidizing environment where the amine process becomes technically problematic at scale.) Second, large federal subsidies because Obama was desperate to have a working ‘commercially viable’ CCS as required by Clean Air Act (CAA)in order to justify his (unconstitutional) Clean Power Plan. Kemper didn’t qualify because a complete disaster. The CCGT is now fired by nat gas, no coal gasification/syngas fuel as originally planned, no subsequent CCS despite over a billion in federal subsidies. Multibillion losses to Southern despite their successful attempt to subsidy mine via Kemper. Boundary Dam (another partial CCS on one unit to enable tertiary recovery in an old oil field) didn’t quality under the provisions of CAA either. It was a commercial disaster; uptime was so bad that the oil field sued for breach of CO2 supply contract damages.

    • The boundary dam ccs was never designed to be commercially successful. It was installed as the only way to get an operating license to allow the renewal of an operating unit that was 50 years old. The local lignite coal operations are substantial employers and there are 3 plants dependent on a solution to the federal regulatory issue. Politics.

    • A considerable amount of the CO2 stays in the oil reservoir, and some is recaptured from the produced oil to re-inject it. But you are correct, it was supposed to demonstrate that the technology was “available” so it could eventually be imposed on coal units.

  7. Tiny \sarc follows. For every evil atom of carbon sequestered, two beneficial atoms of oxygen are also sequestered. This doesn’t seem wise.

    • Yes I call it Oxygen sequestration since there is twice as much Oxygen as Carbon.
      Makes no sense unless other energy is released and it is economic.

    • Seems a a real shame to not release the CO2 into the atmosphere. The plants around the world are crying for more CO2.

  8. Nothing, not even the gargantuan renewables delusion, characterises the utter madness of the great global warming swindle than CCS. There it is, CO2. A beautiful, clean, invisible, odourless trace gas without which we’d all be dead. You would need an electron microscope to detect any causative correlation with global temperature, if indeed there is any. Certainly, for 2 decades there was none. Yet mad people want to spend billions BURYING it.
    They talk about the HELE (high energy low emissions) alternative. Well I for one would be satisfied to see taxpayers’ dollars spent instead on HEHE technology. Let the CO2 go! And the more of it the better.

  9. Much of the CO2 they are collecting will end up back into the atmosphere eventually. A much more effecient way to reduce CO2 emissions from these power plants is to shut them down completely and leave the fossil fuels that was going to be burned in them, in the ground.

    • Are you volunteering to either go nuclear or go without? There are billions of people who go without due to poverty and bad government. We live in one of the few countries that broke the mold. If you want to live without modern comforts and necessities, please do so, but don’t deny me the benefits of reasonably-priced energy.

    • Sure but rather than kill the world economy just kill half the worlds population guaranteed to reduce CO2 emissions and far easier.

    • Or kill everyone and they won’t need heat, electricity, fuels for transportation, agriculture, food or fertilizer for crops for that matter.

    • A lot of people will freeze to death without fossil fuel plants. Dont forget the nuclear plants only produce electricity at a price far higher than burning natural gas to heat your home. Only coal and hydroelectric power can compete with that.

  10. I have been trying to find information and links to the IPCC where they state emissions from human activities account for ~4% of the ~400ppm/v CO2, but I can’t find any. I am sure there were before. Any ideas?

      • Pre-industrial atmospheric concentrations of CO2 in the current interglacial period were approximately 280 ppm. We’re now at 400+ ppm and rising steadily. The overwhelming majority of that rise is from human activities.

        • Only according to Antarctic ice cores. Just avout every other method of estimating preindustrial CO2 indicates that Holocene CO2 routinely exceeded 300 ppm. That said, fossil fuel emissions are the cause of at least half of the rise since ~1850.

        • Jaworowski was wrong about just about everything.. I was referring to plant stomata chronologies and Greenland ice cores.

        • The Dye 3 ice core shows an average CO2 level of 331 ppmv (+/-17) during the Early Holocene (~11,500 years ago). These higher CO2 levels have been explained away as being the result of in situ chemical reactions (Anklin et al., 1997)…

          We present CO2 measurements performed on an ice core from central Greenland, drilled during the Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP). This CO2 profile from GRIP confirms the most prominent CO2 increase from the LGM, with a mean concentration of 200 ppmv, to the early Holocene with concentrations between 290 and 310 ppmv. Some structures of the new CO2 record are similar to those previously obtained from the Dye 3 ice core (Greenland), which indicated a dilemma between Greenland and Antarctic CO2 records [Oeschger et al., 1988]. Both Greenland cores show high CO2 values for rather mild climatic periods during the last glaciation, whereas CO2 records from Antarctica do not show such high CO2 variations during the glaciation and, furthermore, the CO2 values in the early Holocene are about 20–30 ppmv higher in the GRIP record than in Antarctic records. There is some evidence that the difference could be due to chemical reactions between impurities in the ice leading to an increase of the CO2 concentration under certain conditions.

          The higher CO2 levels, which are consistent with plant stomata chronologies, could also be a function of resolution.

      • “There isn’t a single value…”
        Of course there is. I’m asking you for the most probable *average* global atmospheric concentration for the 1000 years prior to the start of the Industrial Revolution.
        So get whatever local concentrations you think existed over that time period, weigh them however you think is appropriate to determine a global average concentration for any particular year, average the whole mess over the 1000 years, and come up with a number.
        Saying that there is no one single most probable average global atmospheric concentration over the 1000 years prior to the start of the Industrial Revolution is like saying there was no single most probable global average atmospheric CO2 concentration in 2017.

        • A global average over a 1,000 year period is not analogous to a global average over a 1 year period. Particularly when the 1,000 year average is derived from indirect measurements with relatively broad error bars

      • You’re saying that it is not possible to come up with a single value for the most probable average atmospheric CO2 concentration for the 1000 years prior to the start of the Industrial Revolution?!

        • I’m saying that such a value is not analogous to the global average of instrumental data in 2017.
          An average value can be calculated from individual Antarctic ice cores. However, averaging together Antarctic ice cores of differing resolutions would yield a meaningless value.
          Continuous chronologies from Greenland ice cores and plant stomata don’t exist. So there’s no way to average those data together with Antarctic ice cores. And, even if the chronologies existed, such an average would be even more meaningless because of widely divergent resolutions. It would be akin to averaging a well log with a seismic line.

          A period where both methods consistently provide evidence for natural CO2 changes is the 13th century AD. A significant increase in CO2 with a range of 12 ppmv at this time is measured in at least two Antarctic ice cores, namely South Pole and D47 (Siegenthaler et al., 1988; Barnola et al., 1995) while stomatal frequency reconstructions from The Netherlands and the USA show a CO2 increase of at least 34 ppmv during the same period (van Hoof, 2004; Wagner et al., 2004; Kouwenberg et al., 2005). In the present study we try to answer the question of whether the amplitude differences of fast shifts in CO2, detected by the two methods for the early part of the last millennium, are caused by overestimation of the amplitude of CO2 mixing ratios in stomatal
          frequency records or result from alteration of CO2 content by diagenetic processes involved during trapping of the air in the
          firn and ice.
          In order to assess the influence of smoothing during enclosure on the temporal resolution, as well as on the amplitude of the CO2 changes, we apply a 1-D numerical firn air diffusion model (Kaspers et al., 2004a) on the high resolution stomatal frequency based the CO2 record from The Netherlands (van Hoof, 2004; Wagner et al., 2004). In this way the stomatal frequency record can be directly compared with the ice core results. It simulates how the stomatal frequency record would be observed in a synthetic ice core.

          In order to tie well log data to seismic data, we generate synthetic seismograms from density and sonic logs. Van Hoof et al., basically generated a synthetic ice core signal from the plant stomata chronology and were able to “tie” the stomata chronology to the ice core.

          However an average of the ice core and stomata data would be meaningless.

      • Whatever!
        There *is* a single value that represents the most probable average atmospheric CO2 concentration over the 1000 years prior to the Industrial Revolution.
        What do you think that value is?

        • Then show us the math, rather than babbling. Then explain how that “single value” is relevant to the pre-industrial narural variability of Holocene atmospheric CO2.

      • “Then show us the math, rather than babbling.”
        You seem to be very confused about how science works. I quoted the scientific consensus that the pre-industrial CO2 concentration was 280 ppm. How much of a consensus is it? It’s so much of a consensus that people as disparate as the U.S. NOAA Earth System Research Lab (ESRL) and Craig Idso simply state it as fact: –>”Before the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, global average CO2 was about 280 ppm.” –>”Driven primarily by gaseous emissions produced from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal,
        gas and oil, the air’s CO2 content has risen steadily from a mean concentration of about 280
        parts per million (ppm) at the onset of the Industrial Revolution in 1800…”
        *You* are the one objecting to the 280 ppm value. If *you* disagree with the consensus value, *you* should do the math. Or politely ask someone to help you if you’re unable to do it.
        P.S. Just eyeballing all the data, I’d get maybe…282 ppm?

        • seem to be very confused about how science works. I quoted the scientific consensus that the pre-industrial CO2 concentration was 280 ppm.
          You seem to be confused on concept of science.

          In contrast to conventional ice core estimates of 270 to 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv), the stomatal frequency signal suggests that early Holocene carbon dioxide concentrations were well above 300 ppmv.
          Most of the Holocene ice core records from Antarctica do not have adequate temporal resolution.
          Our results falsify the concept of relatively stabilized Holocene CO2 concentrations of 270 to 280 ppmv until the industrial revolution. SI-based CO2 reconstructions may even suggest that, during the early Holocene, atmospheric CO2 concentrations that were .300 ppmv could have been the rule rather than the exception.

          Wagner F, et al., 1999. Century-scale shifts in Early Holocene CO2 concentration. Science 284:1971–1973.
          The average value is meaningless. A range of 275-285 has an average of 280.
          A range of 255-305 has an average of 280.
          The stomata data probably have a pre-industrial Holocene average of about 290 ppm. This is just as meaningless as the Antarctic ice core average of 270-280 ppm.

    • In the 1000 years prior to the start of the Industrial Revolution, what is your best guess for the average global atmospheric CO2 concentration?

  11. Take home: The much maligned USA leads the world in CO2 emissions reduction and the only two Carbon capture projects are in North America and the US one is making a profit! You gotta love em.That I didn’t know after all the Global yapping about Carbon Capture coming out of the UN/EUSSR.
    Without the US, we would all tumble into a Dark Ages lasting a thousand years before we could remount the revolutions, rediscover the world is round to refind freedom and free enterprise in a second go at Enlightenment and re-emergence into prosperity. Thank Donald for saving a pitiful world from the brink.

  12. I haven’t read through all of the comments, so forgive if this is repeat: How much CO2 is released by the otherwise unproducible oil? How does this compare to the CO2 captured? And how much of the captured CO2 is released during oil production?

    • Almost no CO2 is released during oil production. It’s separated from the oil and re-injected.
      Assuming all of the oil was used for motor fuels…

      Burning a gallon of E10 produces about 17.6 pounds of CO2 that is emitted from the fossil fuel content. If the CO2 emissions from ethanol combustion are included, then about 18.9 pounds of CO2 are produced when a gallon of E10 is combusted.
      About 22.4 pounds of CO2 are produced from burning a gallon of diesel fuel.

      In 2016, refineries in the United States produced an average of about 20 gallons of motor gasoline and about 11 gallons of ultra-low sulfur distillate fuel oil (most of which is sold as diesel fuel and in several states as heating oil) from one 42-gallon barrel of crude oil.

      At its current level of operation, Petra Nova will capture more than 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per day, which will be used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) at the West Ranch Oil Field. The project is expected to boost production at West Ranch from 500 barrels per day to approximately 15,000 barrels per day. It is estimated that the field holds 60 million barrels of oil recoverable from EOR operations.
      500 bbl/d –> 142 metric tons CO2/d
      15,000 bbl/d –> 4,248 metric tons CO2/d – 5,000 metric tons CO2/d captured –> -752 metric tons CO2 per day.
      500 bbl/d w/no CO2 injection yields 142 mt CO2/d. 15,000 bb/d w/CO2 injection yields -752 mt CO2/d… A net decrease of 893 mt CO2/d.

  13. I think this is on-topic:
    From the IEA Clean Coal Centre
    “We are pleased to announce that the IEA Clean Coal Centre’s 8th Workshop on Cofiring Biomass with Coal will be held at the Admiral Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark, on the 11-13 September 2018, with sponsorship from COWI A/S. The workshop will begin on Tuesday 11 with an optional power plant visit, after which we will have a welcome reception. This is followed by two days of technical sessions and keynotes from leading figures in the industry. Our event offers an excellent opportunity for delegates to mix with other people from government agencies, regulators, utilities, consultants, equipment suppliers and academia.”
    “The workshop will cover all topical issues on cofiring biomass with coal, and papers are invited on any aspect of the subject. As China, India and South Africa are keen to expand their cofiring, we especially welcome knowledge transfer to help them use farm and forestry wastes rather than wood pellets, as well as supportive policies from a developing country perspective. Large scale demonstration projects of cofiring in coal-fired power plants are always well received at our workshops. We invite you to submit your abstract by 30 April 2018 to Ms Xing Zhang (”
    IEA Clean Coal Centre | Apsley House, 176 Upper Richmond Road, London, SW15 2SH, United Kingdom | +44 (0)20 3905 3870

  14. It might sound stupid, but what about just cooling the exhaust of a coal power plant and feeding it into a greenhouse large enough?

  15. There is a way to get an almost pure CO2 stream off a coal fired power plant, such that the CO2 doesn’t need capturing -it is the total flue gas.
    And that is done by extracting the oxygen from the air and using that alone to fuel combustion, using a reversible metal oxide reaction.
    It’s known as chemical looping.
    It actually makes coal burning more efficient too.
    That’s why no one is using it.

    • The first mention of the words “fluidised bed processing” sends most engineers screaming for the hills!

      • Some “standard” fluidized-bed coal plants are actually running, show good performance and eliminate scrubbers, catalytic-conversion crap & even precipitators (replaced by simpler bag-houses). Unfortunately there’s little money/incentive to continue developing the technology, as CO2 itself is the bogey-man now. Class these wonderful engineering breakthroughs along w/nuclear plants as forbidden by our ecological-marxist masters.

    • To Leo Smith March 8, 2018 at 10:57 pm
      Chemical looping is in the developmental stages. Like any other technology’s it has advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few of the perceived disadvantages.
      1) The cost of the metal used matters. The source you cited uses nickel and provides copper as an alternative. Given the volume of metals required, that’s perceived as a too expensive. There is a iron version of the technology I tend to keep my eye on.
      2) The wear and tear of the metallic catalyst on the vessels in which the fluidized beds are occurring are thought to be considerable. So, there are serious maintence/re-build concerns
      3) The wear and tear of the metallic catalyst on itself, as it flows thru a fluidized bed, is a serious cost concern.
      4) The thought of losing the fluid flow and ending up with a tall vessel full of settled metal oxidizes – which may not re-fluidize – is a shift engineer’s worst nightmare.

  16. Interesting as always.
    the post-combustion process is energy intensive and requires a dedicated natural gas unit to accommodate the energy requirements of the carbon-capture process.
    Wow. As they say, it’s worse than I thought. I think what this is illustrating is the possibility, depending on eventually analyses of cost/benefits, that carbon-capture might be cost effective if a specific use of the CO2 is right nearby, such as this case. And only as long as the “use” is available — one has to wonder how long the CO2 injection into the wells will yield benefits.

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