Large carbon dioxide capture and storage project going on in Canada

When it comes to minimizing global warming, the big, good news was the Paris accord in December 2015 that aims to limit the world’s temperature increase to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius. All 196 countries and territories pledged effort toward that goal.

You can imagine easily that no single measure can achieve that ambitious goal. Reducing the consumption of fossil fuels, especially coal, in power plants and other places may be the first thing you can think of. Consumers are being requested to save energy, too.

Few people seem to favor nuclear power generation, despite the fact that its advantages include no emission of carbon dioxide.

A Japanese government agency thinks that light emitting diodes, better known for its acronym, LED, are likely to contribute to reaching Japan’s target to reduce carbon dioxide emission by 26% compared with 2013 by 2030.

You may recall that carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) projects were headline events years ago. Are these projects dead? Not, at all. Only people involved, such as long-term planners at power companies and oil industry, pay attention to the steady development that has been realized.

Shell said in late 2015 that the Quest CCS project in Alberta Province has been upgraded into commercial operation. This project is designed to capture more than one million tons of carbon dioxide annually. Carbon dioxide is carried 65 kilometers from a Shell refinery to storage in rocks more than 2,000 meters below the ground.

Shell, Chevron and Canada’s Marathon have formed a consortium to implement this project. The provincial government of Alberta has agreed to put up Canadian $745 million and the federal government shoulders C$120 million.

The Japanese government is committed to CCS, though at a modest scale.

A panel organized by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy approved in February 2016 the results of feasibility studies conducted by Japan CCS Co. That will clear the path toward the start after April 2016 of a project to eventually store 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually at the coast area of Tomakomai City in Hokkaido.

CCS alone cannot resolve the carbon dioxide issue, says Yoichi Kaya, president at the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth. Should the worldwide consumption of fossil fuel be reduced drastically to a point where it accounts for 10% of total CO2 emission, 3,000 storage facilities similar to the Alberta project will be needed.

The Ministry of the Environment has calculated that the replacement of all lighting with LED lamps in Japan would help reduce Japan’s greenhouse gas emission by more than 11 million tons annually by 2030.


By Shota Ushio, freelance writer based in Tokyo

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