CO2 Capture, Storage and Utilization in China

Project realized in partnership with Air Liquide – Centre de Recherche des Loges en Josas and the Capture, Transport and Storage of CO2 (CTSC - MINES Paristech)

In Europe several initiatives have been started to develop CO2 reuse technologies. Although utilization of CO2 is not new - it is used for Enhanced Oil Recovery in the US since the 1970s - it is only until recently that the development of applications took a flight. There are many different forms and ways to utilize CO2, and different reasons why carbon dioxide utilization processes are of interest. CO2 reuse could help reducing net emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and/or other environmental impacts. CO2 utilization offers alternatives for resources such as oil for the production of fuels and polymers. This could also lead to reducing energy dependency by producing energy locally.

outside view

As CCUS technology was identified as one of the key tasks in the development of GHG control technologies in China – China’s Scientific and Technological Actions on Climate Change (2007-2020), and Ministry of Science and Technology issued it with other 14 Ministries together 2007 – a large number of CO2 Capture pilot plants are and will be emerging in China in the coming years.

The final objective of this project was for students to propose a new business concept that would contribute to the development of CO2 capture, transport and utilization in China, while, of course, being commercially viable and sustainable, students considered and chose a realistic business model.

CO2 utilization can be defined as any process making use of carbon dioxide, these processes are often categories into two groups: either without CO2 conversion as for EOR or ECBM… or with CO2 conversion.

“Concerning CO2 re use, we have examined several possible uptake routes in detail such as EOR/ECBM, polyalkylene carbonates & cyclic carbonates, and methanols, according to what we thought were the most promising options for CO2 utilization. We have also looked at the social and economic context for developing such activities in China: assessment and outlook of the current technological and socioeconomic context for investing in CO2 utilization technologies in China, Government’s support through taxes, subsidies or marketable permits has been studied, and the changes that would be mandatory to lift off CO2 utilization technologies in China or elsewhere

Research schematic for CCUS investigation in China

Research schematic for CCUS investigation in China

The study includes the following steps: 

  • Conducting an extensive literature review of different technologies
  • Conducting an extensive literature review of the Chinese socioeconomic context.
  • Developed an appreciation of the present and future of these technologies and regulations in China, this was the assessment and outlook transition part of the work
  • Build the business concept.

Concerning the question of utilization as either short or long term storage, CO2 based products will usually replace conventional products on the market and CO2-based products have lower carbon footprint than conventional products, therefore CO2 recycling contributes to climate change control – in all cases the overall CO2 life cycle and the estimation of the amount of CO2 avoided has to be considered

 “After having conducted an extensive review of the different technologies and of the socioeconomic context in China, we determined that though CCUS holds considerable potential to reduce China’s greenhouse gas emissions, significant technological advancements are needed and strong price signals from the government in order to imagine the sector taking off today beyond a few demonstration projects and pilot plants”.

Workshops and debates

Finally Workshops and Debates has been organized both in China and in France:

  • Workshop in School of Environment at Tsinghua University Beijing, has been organized by the EnvIM Students December 16th 2013
  • A final Presentation, followed by a debate has been held at Air Liquide R&D research Center in France February 5th 2014