SA aims to bring pilot carbon capture project online in 2023

South Africa has began geological mapping on the nation’s first carbon seize and storage (CCS) web site, the place it plans to inject huge portions of CO2 deep underground from 2023, a senior Council for Geoscience official stated.

The undertaking can be based mostly across the city of Leandra, Mpumalanga province, in South Africa’s north east, a carbon emissions hotspot and residential to a number of coal-fired energy stations in addition to Sasol’s Secunda coal-to-liquids gasoline plant, the world’s largest.

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Releasing round 470 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) a yr, South Africa is the continent’s greatest emitter of greenhouse gases, and coal offers the majority of its electrical energy.

CCS is controversial, with environmentalists saying it dangers turning into an excuse to proceed burning fossil fuels, and will result in neglect of nature’s personal carbon seize system, forests, which additionally maintain biodiversity and rainfall.

Others nevertheless see it as important to assembly the purpose of a internet carbon zero world economic system by 2050. Its most enthusiastic backer is the worldwide coal business.

The South African authorities has repeatedly defended its proper to faucet into plentiful coal deposits even because the nation will increase its use of renewable vitality.

“South Africa will nonetheless be utilizing coal for a really very long time, so… we have to try to use it responsibly to restrict CO2 emissions,” David Khoza, the CGS government supervisor working the undertaking, stated.

The deadline for tapping a $23 million World Financial institution grant to fund the CCS undertaking was initially set for December this yr, however has now been pushed out to June 2023, a financial institution spokesperson instructed Reuters.

Khoza stated the undertaking will hyperlink a pipeline transporting compressed CO2 from main emitting sources comparable to Secunda on to the recognized injection web site that’s overlain with an “impermeable rock cap”.

“We’ll check the feasibility of injecting between 10 000 to 50 000 metric tons of CO2 (a yr) to a depth of not less than 1 km, with the primary injection seen late in 2023,” Khoza stated.

South Africa has roughly 150 gigatonnes of potential storage capability, primarily in offshore basins on the east and west coast, researchers stated.

Sasol stated it was working with the CGS, though it stated earlier assessments confirmed the related price was very excessive and sequestration is probably not economically viable.

“Sasol stays intent to collaborate with a view to study extra in regards to the success elements for CO2 sequestration and discover partnerships for bigger scale alternatives,” a spokesperson stated.

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