CO2 storage efforts in China hold great potential


Interest in CCS has been substantial in China. China is especially interested in the commercial use of CO2. Such uses include Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), which can improve the business case for CCS development. Early deployment of commercial CCS in China through EOR will develop technological skills, familiarity and deploy necessary infrastructure.

In EOR, CO2 is pumped into depleting oil fields to boost production while at the same time storing some CO2 underground and benefiting the climate. GreenGen, a 400-megawatt power plant near the port city of Tianjin, is China’s most ambitious project to develop a climate-neutral coal plant. By 2020, GreenGen will be piping most of its CO2 emissions to offshore oil fields for EOR.

Chinese scientists have also recently been experimenting using CO2 to produce fertilizers, plastics, and biofuels, but the petroleum industry represents the biggest potential market.

China is also developing CO2 storage. Efforts are being undertaken by the state-owned coal company, The Shenhua Group, which geologically stores up to 100,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. This represents about 6% of the CO2 emissions from the Shenhua complex which turns coal into liquid fuels and chemicals. This project was supported by the US government with design recommendations.

Another significant source of CO2 emissions are China’s fossil-fuel based industries. These industries, in the process of producing chemicals and gas for instance, must isolate CO2 in a relatively pure form. This makes the CO2 far easier and cheaper to capture then from other, more diluted sources. CCS proponents in China encourage attempts at matching industrial plants that produce concentrated streams of CO2 with oil companies which can use the CO2 to enhance production of aging oil fields.