Introduction

Here we consider the research and development needs that can effectively mitigate human induced impacts on climate change, while balancing the competing requirements of energy supply and security. For mitigation of CO2 emissions from coal combustion, technical innovations are discussed for Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC), oxygen-fuel combustion, and CO2 reduction through de-carbonization or post-combustion extraction. But there are other effective alternatives that can be implemented in the near term (<5) years using state-of-the technologies available today. Such readily available technologies have broad appeal because they can yield positive effects with minimum technical and economic risk.

* The findings included in this chapter do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the Environmental Protection Agency. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute Agency endorsement or recommendation for use.

Siemens Energy, Orlando, FL, USA e-mail: [email protected]

F.T. Princiotta (ed.), Global Climate Change - The Technology Challenge, 301

Advances in Global Change Research 38, DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-3153-2_10, © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Technologies such as renewables, nuclear power, and high efficiency facility upgrades represent the tools that are can yield effective rapid, near-term reductions in CO2 emissions.

To avoid the potential for adverse effects from global warming, a major increase in R&D resources is proposed, since cost effective carbon capture technologies are currently not available nor are they being developed at a pace consistent with proposals to offset potential anthropogenic effects on global climate. The methods (or solutions) to be implemented from an intensive R&D campaign could differ geographically since the relationship between uptake and release of GHG varies on a global scale. For developed economies, market-based energy pricing on carbon bearing fuels is likely to continue to be a tool for affecting man-made CO2 emission, at least in the short run. As the price of fuel increases, consumers will respond by taking actions that will minimize the economic impact on them: they will use less fuel, or maximize the use of available fuels (e.g. drive cars with greater fuel efficiency). Not everybody can alter their energy consumption rates equally.

As noted in Fig. 10.1, energy efficiency usage varies widely across the globe, and so will the opportunities for saving energy and reducing fossil fuel consumption. Energy consumption per capita is typically greater in those countries situated at extreme latitudes (e.g. Canada), where winter seasons can be extreme.

In subsistence economies, where biomass burning is a significant source of CO2, the price of oil and gas is likely to have minimal impact on emissions of combustion related GHG. Rather, for agrarian based economies, anthropogenic emissions are more strongly correlated to land conversions (forestland to cropland, cropland to grazing, etc.). These two extremes suggest that there is an enormous gulf between the desire to mitigate anthropogenic CO2 released to the atmosphere through combustion and the tools, both technical based and policy based, that can be employed to reach this goal.

300 250 200 3 150 100 50 0

Geothermal energy District heating Coal and coke Bioenergy Natural gas Petroleum products Electricity

300 250 200 3 150 100 50 0

Geothermal energy District heating Coal and coke Bioenergy Natural gas Petroleum products Electricity

Fig. 10.1 Per capita energy consumption in OECD countries

Fig. 10.1 Per capita energy consumption in OECD countries

Focusing on large, stationary combustion sources of CO2 alone, there are more than 8,000 major point sources around the world, emitting 60% of global CO2. Coal-fired power plants make up more than half of those point sources. Coal fired generation, including use of coal in residential applications, releases approximately ten billion metric tonnes of CO2 annually, 38% of the world's yearly CO2 emissions, leading many to the conclusion that coal represents all or most of the carbon challenge. However, the global economies depend heavily on such coal-fueled facilities for the bulk of electricity generation. While the U.S. is slowly adding to its complement of coal-fired power plants (15,000 MWe under construction as of late 2009), with some exceptions, there are virtually no new coal additions in the planning stages. Meanwhile, China has accelerated their pace of re-industrialization. Just since 2001, China placed on order in excess of 345,000 MWe of coal-fired generation (these are vapor power cycle units larger than 300 MWe in size), roughly equal to the entire fossil coal capacity of the United States.

Lacking significant technical innovations, carbon reduction proposals made in today's context will require adopting power intensive environmental control methods to a fleet of generation equipment not designed to accommodate them. As of now, carbon capture technologies (those capable of processing most of the exhaust gases in a power plant) have yet to reach full commercialization, except for the very few applications where a small fraction of source carbon dioxide is recovered for very specific purposes. Those examples demonstrate that CO2 recovery from exhaust gases is certainly possible [1]. They also reveal the impracticality of recovering a substantial fraction of CO2 emissions using that same technology; and that is partly the point, finding methods of recovering CO2 will be research intensive‚ÄĒfinding ways to make it affordable will require more than a few full-scale demonstration projects.

It will take years for carbon capture and sequestration to reach a level of maturity (and cost effectiveness) that permits widespread industry acceptance. However, there are CO2 mitigation steps that can be implemented much quicker. Near term emission reductions can be readily achieved by consuming less fuel (or improving fuel utilization), switching to less carbon intense fuel sources, or increased use of renewables. Perhaps just as compelling, there is emission control technologies that are commercially available today that could begin to correct the impacts of other pollutants (NOx, CH4, particulates, etc.) believed to play a major role in global climate change.

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