Carbon Capture and Storage project could trap 95% of a plant’s emissions

The project will make use of a chemical solvent that will bind with carbon dioxide in the plant’s flue gas.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Storage tanks at an LNG plant.jpg
Storage tanks at an LNG plant.


On Friday, the Calpine Corp. power plant located near San Francisco announced the unveiling of a $25 million project that will test a technology that could capture 95 percent of a plant’s carbon emissions.

This is according to a Bloomberg report published on Friday.

California officials said the new development will play a crucial role in the state’s climate battle. But not all are happy.

Carbon capture technology has been fiercely criticized by many environmentalists who claim the technology provides a license to keep burning fossil fuels rather than switch to cleaner energy sources. 

However, at the launch of the Calpine project Friday, California’s top climate change regulator noted that some fossil fuel plants are still required to be operational in order to keep electricity service continuous and reliable despite the state’s ambitious plans to eliminate its net carbon emissions by 2045.

“Capturing that carbon, starting as soon as possible, will allow us to stop emitting in situations where we absolutely need these plants for reliability,” said Liane Randolph, chair of the California Air Resources Board.

The new facility is a pilot project that will be located at Calpine’s Los Medanos Energy Center in Pittsburg, California. CEO of Calpine Thad Hill told Bloomberg carbon capture will play a crucial role in his company’s operations. “For us, it represents the energy transition and natural gas’s role in it,” he said.

The project will make use of a chemical solvent developed by ION Clean Energy Inc. that will bind with carbon dioxide in the plant’s flue gas, essentially trapping it and preventing its release into the environment. 

ION claims its process is both more effective and cheaper than previous carbon capture tools, according to Bloomberg. The initiative was funded in part with a $19 million federal grant.

Carbon capture and storage has grown in popularity in the last few years with projects creeping out around the world. Last May, the NextGen CDR Facility, a collaboration between the Swiss carbon finance consultant South Pole and the Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Corporation, announced the purchase of 193,125 tonnes of carbon dioxide removals (CDRs) from three projects, producing the world's largest portfolio of CDRs. 

The purchase consisted of CDRs from the world's largest DACS project, which is being developed by 1PointFive in Texas and is estimated to remove and permanently store up to 500,000t of CO2 per year once fully operational. 

Together these CDRs formed the world’s largest carbon capture and storage facility.

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