In order to provide access to energy and limit climate change, the world must find ways to reduce emissions from the production and use of fossil fuels, as well as increasing the share of alternative energy sources. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) can play a pivotal role in reducing emissions from oil and gas production, and from fossil fuels used in power generation and industrial processes. The challenge for large-scale deployment of CCS technology in the power and industrial sectors is integrating the capture, transport and storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions with appropriate commercial and regulatory support to foster further development. We have developed several mechanisms to drive knowledge sharing among project developers and support innovation, with the intention of further reducing the cost of CCS.
The International CCS Knowledge Centre
BHP Billiton and Saskatchewan-based electricity provider, SaskPower, have established the International CCS Knowledge Centre to help advance CCS as a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. BHP Billiton is contributing approximately C$4 million per year for five years to fund the Knowledge Centre, which will operate as a not-for-profit corporation in Regina, Saskatchewan.
The Knowledge Centre will enhance global access to the data, information and lessons learned from SaskPower’s unique Boundary Dam facility – the first power plant to successfully integrate CCS. In sharing the outcomes of this unique project broadly, we hope to assist project developers to reduce both the capital and operating costs of subsequent projects. The Knowledge Centre will also advocate for policies that support the development of CCS. It is anticipated that our support for the Knowledge Centre will lead to accelerated global deployment of CCS.
Reducing emissions in the steel sector
Emissions from the industrial sector represent approximately a quarter of global emissions, and more than half of these originate from the combined production of steel and cement. Coking coal is an essential input to the vast majority of the world’s steel production. In China, we are working with Peking University in a collaborative research project focused on reducing emissions from the use of coking coal in the steel sector using CCS. We will contribute approximately US$7 million over three years, with the objective of addressing the key technical, policy and economic barriers to further deployment of CCS in the steel sector. Projects such as this offer us the opportunity to work with our supply chain for shared outcomes. Research outcomes will be communicated via collaborative industry forums and conferences, and a multidisciplinary Advisory Board will guide the research team.
Understanding the mechanisms of long-term CO2 storage
BHP Billiton is also seeking to support fundamental research through a consortium of universities and test facilities to further characterise the long-term storage mechanisms of CO2 in sub-surface locations. This important work has the capability to unlock significant storage potential, which is essential if CCS is to play a role in global emissions reductions in the future. The research also seeks to demonstrate the safety and security of sub-surface CO2 storage.