Capturing China`s CO2 to lower emissions

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China's potential for carbon capture and storage (CCS), an essential technology to achieve low global emissions, will be examined next week at a conference of senior scientific experts from China and the EU. It will be hosted by the British Geological Survey (BGS) in Nottingham on February 10-12 2009.

The conference will highlight how British science is supporting China in developing their capabilities to bury CO2 from power stations in rock formations deep below the surface.

It is thought that China builds around one coal power station per week and CO2 storage will allow it to maintain energy supplies at the same time as reducing emissions.

The scientific experts will discuss technical assessments of storage potential from ongoing research on the COACH (Cooperation Action within Carbon Capture and Storage China-EU) and NZEC (Near Zero Emissions from Coal) projects, as well as other European projects.

Dr Mike Stephenson, Head of Science for Energy at BGS said 'COACH and NZEC look at the potential for geological storage of CO2 in parts of north-east China, where the coal power generation capacity is increasing at an amazing rate. The potential for storing CO2 in formations that contain naturally occurring brine, in old oil fields whose oil is depleted or used up, or, in unmineable coals is being studied. The Chinese and EU experts have calculated the storage capacity of these formations and will discuss these important new results.'

The lowering of CO2 emissions in China is vital to the global goal of avoiding a catastrophic temperature rise of 2C before 2100, and it could be argued that CO2 emission reductions elsewhere are irrelevant without China's involvement. China is committed to using its vast coal resources in electricity generation as it will be a long time before other energy sources such as renewables are able to meet their energy demands. Thus projects like COACH, and NZEC, which foster technology transfer, as well as long term scientific links, are very important in achieving low global emissions.

Dr Jiutian Zhang from China's Administrative Centre for China's Agenda 21 (ACCA21) said 'The workshop hosted by BGS in the UK will provide an important opportunity for Chinese and European researchers to share results from the geological assessments of CO2 storage potential in China, to discuss future collaboration and to demonstrate other CCS research in progress.'

Senior personnel from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the EU Directorate General Energy and Transport will also be present and DECC are funding 11 of the 17 Chinese delegates to attend.

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