A study on carbon dioxide storage has confirmed that the UK would be an ideal location to store carbon emissions from across Europe. Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS) says this is welcome news after lasts month Paris Agreement, which included a deal to keep global warming below two degrees, was signed by 177 countries.
The ambitious goal from the Paris Agreement will require substantial efforts to decarbonise the world’s economies. The capture and storage of carbon emissions from power, heat, transport and industry will therefore be an essential part of climate action.
The findings from the £2.5 million CO2 storage appraisal study, carried out for the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) by Pale Blue Dot and its project partners, are the latest in a sequence of studies that point to the optimal character of North Sea geology for this task.
The now depleted oil and gas fields around the UK have provided secure isolation for hydrocarbons for millennia. Alongside offshore salt-water aquifers, these sites can now be put to profitable use for storing anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
The study examined five typical configurations of offshore UK geology: the Captain Sandstone (the subject of the SCCS joint industry project, CO2MultiStore), the Forties Sandstone in the Central North Sea, the Hamilton depleted gas field beneath the Irish Sea, the Viking gas field and 44/26 sandstone dome sites beneath the Southern North Sea.
For the first time these have been comprehensively analysed using data from offshore oil and gas exploration and production. The results are very encouraging and provide commercial-quality costing and design estimates for offshore engineering, which confirm the security and tonnages of UK storage capacity compiled by SCCS in 2009. Each site differs in its individual characteristics but all five are capable of securely storing very large amounts of CO2 from power and industry projects across the UK.
In 2009, SCCS undertook the first whole assessment of the UK’s CO2 storage asset. This shone a light on the potential to store hundreds of years of the UK’s carbon emissions, which could also underpin a £5 billion-per-year industry for dealing with Europe’s emissions.
This capacity was later confirmed by the UK Storage Appraisal Project (UKSAP), a £4m collaboration of academia and industry also funded by the ETI. Two further SCCS studies, published in 2009 and 2011 (Progressing Scotland’s CO2 storage opportunities), led to results from the SCCS CO2MultiStore joint industry project, which provided commercial confidence in the North Sea’s CO2 storage asset and to today’s published report.
So how do today’s findings translate into delivering a UK CCS industry? The project identified a very large UK CO2 storage resource potential, estimated at 78 gigatonnes, of which 15 per cent could serve the UK for 100 years. Pale Blue Dot’s analysis shows an average levelised cost for transport and storage of around £15 per tonne of CO2 and a range of between £11 and £18 per tonne. Calculated in the same way as for electricity generation by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, this adds just £7.50 per megawatt hour (MWhr) to the levelised cost of power from gas (current cost around £50-70 / MWhr). This is a very low cost.
This cost can be further reduced if efficiencies in subsurface engineering are used to ensure that injected CO2 fully pervades the pore space of the reservoir sandstone. And identifying “clusters” of geographically close offshore sites can encourage a shared use of large diameter pipelines by emitters, which reduces the cost per tonne of CO2 by a further 10-30 per cent.
Prof Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS Director, said: “I congratulate Pale Blue Dot and their partners on this excellent study, and I was pleased to be able to provide technical advice and oversight during the project.
“Their work shows that affordable, well-engineered CO2 storage is within reach. With huge progress also being made in CO2 capture engineering, from innovations both in the UK and other countries, it is probable that the cost of capturing CO2 will tumble by anything from 20 to 90 per cent in the next five years.
“Coupled with effective and viable storage, this will bring climate clean-up within viable price ranges for applications as diverse as electricity generation, heat supply, transport and particularly the process industries.”
Dr Gillian Pickup, of Heriot-Watt University, who also provided advice to the project, said: “Firstly, the fact that this project has been completed despite the UK Government pulling £1 billion for the first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects is reassuring. It demonstrates that many people are determined that CCS should go ahead.
“The project aims were to identify the next phase of sites for CO2 storage offshore UK. This study shows that geoscientists and engineers in the UK are gaining more experience at evaluating potential sites. Also, it is a good example of how the UK’s CO2 storage atlas – CO2Stored – is being used.”
7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption
Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.
This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?
Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.
New Technologies to Watch
These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:
- Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
- Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
- New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
- Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
- Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
- The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
- Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.
Making the Investment
All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.
Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis
Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.
Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?”
Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.
Tip #1: Focus & Determination
Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.
Tip #2: Minimize Spending
One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!
Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal
You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.
Investing in Clean Energy
One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.
With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.
The Future of Green Biz
As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.
Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.
In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!
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