It is recognised that fossil fuels will continue to be used for the foreseeable future and seen as imperative that cost-effective solutions are established for future zero emission technologies.

Here in this Focus Feature, we take a brief look at a case study of industrial gas involvement in this field, as Linde describes projects in the Netherlands & Germany.

Linde has a wealth of experience in the cost-efficient supply of CO2 for climate and eco-friendly CO2 recycling applications. The OCAP project (Organic CO2 for Assimilation by Plants) in the Netherlands is one such project.

Since mid-2005, Linde, in partnership Shell and VolkerWessels, has been capturing the carbon dioxide generated as flue gas from Shell’s refinery in Pernis, near Rotterdam and transports it 85km to Amsterdam via a disused oil pipeline – thereby reducing the amount of CO2 exhausted into the atmosphere by approximately 170,000 tonnes annually.

The captured CO2 is used to supply around 500 greenhouse operators, whose plant production is increased when exposed to higher concentrations of CO2. The greenhouse operators previously had to generate their own CO2 – most of which would have ended up being released into the atmosphere.

Additionally, the operators save a total of around 95 million cubic metres of natural gas per year, which would have been used to feed the natural gas-fired furnaces to create the carbon dioxide – so, resources are also being conserved.

As part of the Rotterdam climate initiative, the Netherlands is looking at how to reduce CO2 emissions through sequestration projects with coal-fired power plants. Linde is working with leading energy groups to develop, plan and build pilot facilities for capturing and storing CO2 from power plant processes.

In the Netherlands, Linde is also looking at how CO2 can be stored at disused offshore gas fields - where some of the CO2 will remain - and from where some can be utilised in enhanced oil and gas recovery projects.

CO2 sink
It is recognised that fossil fuels will continue to be used for the foreseeable future and the EU therefore sees it as imperative that cost-effective solutions are found to establish near zero emission technologies of a high environmental standard.

The capture and storage of CO2 from coal-fired power plants in particular is deemed to be an essential factor for fossil fuels to continue to be part of the sustainable energy scenario.

Linde is a partner in the first European pilot project, CO2SINK, which is focusing on underground CO2 storage in Ketzin, in Brandenburg. Managed by the GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ), the project brings together 18 partners from nine countries to investigate how CO2 can be injected and stored in porous rock reservoirs filled with salt water, deep below the Earth’s surface (approx. 700 metres).

The CO2SINK project began in June 2007 and Linde is responsible for all intermediate storage facilities and systems for pressure and volume related CO2 conditioning prior to storage, as well as developing the technology for injecting the gas into the ground. The CO2 to be deposited underground comes from Linde’s gases production site at Leuna, where it is generated as a by-product. It is then initially stored in two tanks in Ketzin prior to being injected into the ground.

The project is sponsored by the EU as part of its ETP ZEP (European Technology Platform for Zero-Emission Fossil Fuel Power Plants) initiative. From October 2007 for a two year period, 60,000 tonnes of pure carbon dioxide was injected into a former salt dome. Underground storage is one possible way of significantly reducing CO2 emissions in the future, provided this greenhouse gas is separated during fossil fuel combustion.

The aim is to separate and capture the CO2 in the power plant and store it safely, instead of emitting it. This is especially important, since all experts agree that coal will continue to play a key role in meeting global energy needs for decades to come.