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China first to use saline acquifier for Carbon Capture Storage

China first to use saline acquifier for Carbon Capture Storage

The first carbon capture and storage [CCS] project in China has sequestered 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide at the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Shenhua Direct Coal Liquification Megaton commercialised demonstration plant that produces diesel and naphta from coal.

Shenhua say that China is the first country to use this process in it's saline acquifiers and hopes to have sealed 300.000 tonnes of carbon dioxide by June 2014 Xinhua reported.

The underground saline acuifers in Ordos Basi in Inner Mongolia can store tens of billions of carbon dioxide, and this kind of basin is quite common in China. Zhang Dongxio, dean of the Clean Energy Research Institute of Peking University said that this type of process will greatly contribute to reducing China's carbon emissions in future.

In a symposium on 28th September 2010, Zhang Dongxio made a presentation about the collaborative research on saline acquiferrs sequestration between the universities of Wuhan, Beijing and USC ( California). First steps included mapping of Chinese basis for carbon sequestration, developing methadology for assessing capacity, screening tools for selecting suitable sites and then conducting large scale pilot studies. Click here to view the full presentation.

The potential disadvantages are that there is as of yet, no use for the stored CO2, but ongoing research into Carbon Capature Conversion [CCV] may produce usages that are commercial viable, such as fertilser or fuel, by the use of Algae. Also, relatively little is known about the saline formations compared with oil fields that are the common solution to geo - sequestration. Unlike storage in oil fields or coalbeds, where oil and methane are forced out when the CO2 is injected, no side product will emerge, thus making the cost of such a process higher.


There is also concern with leakage of CO2 back into the atmosphere - see earlier blog articles dealing with this general criticism of CCS technology. 

A 2009 assessment by the US department of Energy Pacific Northwest Laboratory concluded that China has 2.300 billion tonnes of potential underground storage for carbon emissions. This is thought to represent sufficient capacity to meet the country's CCS demand for at least 100 years.

 China began its first CO2 storage project in the Liohe oil field in the Bohai Basin in 2005. China joined the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum that promotes demonstration projects, others being in Alberta, Canada. The Chines National Council provided about £1.3 billion from the 'Coal Replace Fund' to Shenhua to initiate coal - to- liquid [CTL] development in northwest China's major coal production areas. With support from the National Development Commission, Shenhua as now allocated approximately $10 billion to it's coal conversion projects.

This current project developed following the cancellation in 2008 of the Chinese coal liquefication program due to concerns about pollution and excessive water consumption.

 NB  An Aquifer is a body of saturated rock through which water can easily move. Acquifers must be both permeable and porus and include such rock types as sandstone, conglomerate, fractured limestone and unconsolidated sand and gravel. 


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