The joint UK-China Near Zero Emissions Coal (NZEC) initiative addresses the challenge of increasing energy production from coal in China and the need to tackle growing carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions from China’s increasing coal use are set to double to more than 5,000 million tonnes per year by 2030 [IEA World Energy Outlook 2007].
The EU-China NZEC agreement was signed at the EU-China Summit under the UK’s presidency of the EU in September 2005 as part of the EU-China Partnership on Climate Change. The agreement has the objective of demonstrating advanced, near zero emissions coal technology through carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) in China and the EU by 2020 and the NZEC initiative was developed in support of this.
CCS involves capturing the carbon dioxide in fossil fuels either before or after combustion, and storing it for the long-term in geological formations such as depleted oil wells. CCS technology can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from large industrial sources and coal-fired power stations by around 85%. CCS has the potential to be an essential technology to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and allow the continued use of fossil fuels for energy security, without damaging climate security.
The NZEC project is being undertaken in a three-phase approach:
• Phase 1 involves looking at the options for demonstration and build capacity in CCS. Funding of around £3.5 million came from the UK DECC and others. This phase began in November 2007 and ended in Autumn 2009
• Phase 2 involves further development work on capture and storage options
• Phase 3 will involve the construction of a demonstration plant, to be completed by 2015.
The Phase 1 assessment will explore options for demonstrating carbon capture and storage (CCS) for coal-fired power generation in China.
Phase 1 has been developed to support the EU-China Near Zero Emissions Coal agreement. The UK envisages an ambitious three-phase approach for NZEC. The Phase I assessment will explore options for demonstration and build capacity for CCS in China. Phase 2 will carry out further development work on storage and capture options leading to Phase 3, which will construct the demonstration plant by 2014.
Phase 1 is supported by the UK Government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, and is being taken forward in partnership with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology.
The objectives of the 18-month Phase 1 work programme are to:
• Enable knowledge transfer between Chinese and UK parties (academic, industrial and other).
• Model the future energy requirements of China, taking CCS technology into account.
• Produce case studies of potential carbon dioxide capture technologies.
• Build capacity in China for evaluation of storage potential for CO2 and perform first stage characterisations for selection of sites suitable for geological storage of carbon dioxide.
• Develop a technical and policy level roadmap for CCS.
The project will be managed by UK consultants, AEA, in partnership with the Administrative Centre for China's Agenda 21 (ACCA21), and will involve a consortium of 28 key industrial and academic partners from the UK and China.
Conclusions (so far) on options for CCS (from the 2009 summary report):
• Solvent processes (post-combustion) were successfully demonstrated and therefore should be applicable.
• Pre-combustion capture has been demonstrated, but the IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle) process is not yet widely deployed.
• Oxyfuel combustion technologies under the NZEC project are still in development (but potential in this field is great).
• The NZEC Initiative has evaluated the potential to store CO2 in 2 areas of NE China (the Songliao Basin and the Subei Basin). There are over 30 large sedimentary basins across China (on- and offshore), which indicates a large CO2 storage potential.
• The ultimate aim of the EU-China NZEC Agreement is to establish the foundation for a sustainable CCS solution for China and the EU, with the objective of demonstrating the full chain of technology (to compliment the demonstrations being established in Europe).
To explore options for the demonstration of carbon capture and sequestration applied to a coal power plant in China. To build knowledge and capacity on CCS in China.
UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) UK Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) China Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST)
Summary of findings and recommendations on both potential technologies for CCS in China and assessment of basins with potential for CO2 storage in China. Delivery of a policy assessment and roadmap for the future of CCS in China.
CO2-ECBM, CO2 Enhanced Gas Recovery; Co2 Enhanced Oil Recovery; Co2 Storage in Aquifers; CO2 Storage in Hydrocarbon Reservoirs; Modelling & Mapping Studies of Reservoirs; Oxyfuel Combustion; Physical Solvent Absorption for CO2 Seperation; Pre-combustion Capture; Po
• ALSTOM Power
• British Geological Survey (BGS)
• Doosan Babcock
• Heriot Watt University
• Imperial College London
• ACCA21 (Administrative Centre for China's Agenda 21)
• Centre for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEP)
• China United Coalbed Methane Co Ltd (CUCBM)
• China University of Petroleum (CUP), Beijing and Huadong
• Energy Research Institute (ERI)
• Institute of Engineering Thermophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IET)
• Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)
• Jilin Oilfield
• North China Electric Power University (NCEPU)
• Thermal Power Research Institute (TPRI)
• Tsinghua University:
• BP-Tsinghua Clean Energy Centre
• Department of Environmental Science and Engineering (DESE)
• Department of Thermal Engineering (DTE)
• Energy, Environment and Economy Research Institute (3E)
• State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering (DCE)
• Wuhan University (WHU)
• Zhejiang University (ZJU)
Began in 2007.
Phase 1(feasibility) ended in 2009.
Phases 2 and 3 are expected to run from late 2009 until at least 2015.