CO2 is already used in agriculture: channeled to Dutch polytunnels for plants; or to grow algae for biofuel; or for animal feed. It is a must in the chemical industry. The next wave will bring things like “Co2 green concrete” which can – according to the University of California – replace Portland cement in buildings at a comparable cost.
Underground carbon stores are gold mines
Imperial’s Professor MacDowell said the sheer volume of CO2 emissions means most of the carbon will have to be sequestered underground, and countries sitting in storage sites can make precious money out of it as the targets go. climatic conditions are tightening.
The UK has saline aquifers close to east coast industries and a network of disused pipelines and wells in the North Sea, all supported by offshore industry.
“It’s a perfect storm for Britain. The continental shelf is shallow and we can price carbon capture lower than almost anyone else. We can take CO2 from countries that do not have proven sites and sell them a negative carbon service. The scale could be huge, ”he said.
European oil majors are already swarming with the potential windfall of offshore sequestration, shifting their engineering skills from CO2 creation to CO2 removal. These converts are no longer so clearly the enemy of environmentalists. They are now part of the solution.
Total, Shell and Equinor are part of the Longship project in Norway which plans to take CO2 from the industrial cores of Europe and channel it to storage sites in the North Sea, blocking eight million tonnes per year by the mid-2020s.
This is not charity: they will charge a fee. The value of this service will increase as the price of carbon in Europe climbs to € 60 per tonne or more, a mechanical effect of decreasing permits. Memoranda already signed with ArcelorMittal and HeidelbergCement, among others, suggest how lucrative this could become.
Andy Lane, from BP, is leading a team of oil companies under the auspices of OGCI to develop a variant for the Teesside industrial cluster, with plans to inject CO2 into storage by 2026.
“I am sentenced to life in BP gas. We use the same skills that we used in oil and gas and apply them here. British companies have drilled along the North Sea and already know the structures, so we are ahead of the game, ”he said.
BP and rival Shell are trying to innovate after the coronavirus accelerated the world’s transition away from oil – drastically reducing their dividends in the process.