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AEP’s Carbon Capture Fantasy

October 20, 2020

By Paul Homewood


h/t Philip Bratby


Ambrose Evans-Pritchard gets more absurd every day!



Just as high finance and elite opinion writes off the fossil fuel industry as irretrievably doomed, a fresh twist in the global energy saga is again starting to upset all calculations.

The oil and gas fraternity has embraced carbon capture with the zeal of the converted, betting that this neglected technology can be made cheap enough – quickly enough – to head off the seemingly unstoppable march towards electrification and the green hydrogen economy.

The British Government has had its own eureka moment, seeing it as a path to net-zero and economic revival at the same time. “We want to lead on carbon capture and storage, a technology I barely believed was possible, but I am now a complete evangelist for,” said Boris Johnson at the Tory party conference.

Big Oil & Gas has become an advocate of a high carbon price, calculating that it can turn the price signal to advantage, mobilising its engineering muscle to beat renewables at their own game in the net-zero arms race.


Having spent years telling us how wonderful and cheap renewable energy is, he now expects us to believe that fossil fuels can be competitive as long as they are used in conjunction with cripplingly expensive carbon capture!!

As ever, his article is full of holes, one commenter sums up it up neatly:



  1. October 20, 2020 10:27 am

    To get rid of oil and gas, you have to get rid of the demand. Not happening.

  2. cajwbroomhill permalink
    October 20, 2020 10:30 am

    Carbon capture is not only costly for use at least in the UK but, like all the other examples of climate greenery, dispensible entirely since we release well under 1percent of the planet’s CO2,
    a negligible amount, even if greenhouse gases do significantly influence the climate, a moot point.

    • spetzer86 permalink
      October 20, 2020 1:28 pm

      The real point against carbon capture is that it decreases efficiency. Similar to RE generating lots of green jobs, where each green job is really a drain on the overall system.

  3. Ian Magness permalink
    October 20, 2020 10:42 am

    My general view is that CCS must be an expensive extra industrial process to be tacked on to existing processes and can only be justified financially (eg in EOR or contained agriculture) by a quantifiable return elsewhere. So a key question would be: how much CO2 can sensibly be used for EOR and other industrial processes world-wide? Would that even scratch the surface of global “carbon emissions”? I suspect we know the answer.
    The great idea with the residual CCS CO2 seems to be that much will just be shoved down old wells and similar and left worthless. This seems incredibly stupid to me on a number of levels. AEP’s point seems to be that oil companies will have to do this and the sole economic justification for them is not the selling of a useful product but the avoidance of punitive carbon taxes that will be imposed upon them otherwise. At this point I just press the “insane” button. It’s all so unnecessary anyway.

  4. October 20, 2020 10:44 am

    This is like a catch22 trap for climate science because the real underlying movement of the climate change movement is anti fossil fuel activism.

  5. Geoff B permalink
    October 20, 2020 10:54 am

    Surge in news about renewables, carbon capture, insulation, net zero, what’s going on? The MSM conspiracy to promote our green future, at whatever cost is going flat out, the Telegraph has another article on insulating a cottage and saving money.
    Could it be that this winter is going to be wet, cold, bleak and long, with electricity shortages and by March the whole climate change scam will finally be demolished. Time to test the generator.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      October 20, 2020 6:42 pm

      As UK electricity supply has been on a knife edge a few times this year and Boris seems intent on winding up Macron who could turn off a crucial 2GW, particularly if Merkel needs a bit more than usual then a January/February blocking high could trigger interesting times.

      • October 20, 2020 7:31 pm

        Popinjay Macron certainly won’t want to kiss goodbye to the income from selling power, not to mention the fees he’ll get from France’s share of the I/C

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        October 20, 2020 7:33 pm

        More interesting would be if the Continent bid for 3GW of UK export, leaving us short. Supposedly the interconnectors have guaranteed availability to the UK, but I’m not sure how that works. The French were operating at half cock during most of the low wind tight supply episode.

      • Steve permalink
        October 21, 2020 2:25 pm

        Are we still allowed to call Micron a popinjay or say that Boris has lost his marbles since he became an evangelist for shoving carbon dioxide under the North Sea at great expense?

  6. Vernon E permalink
    October 20, 2020 11:06 am

    Can we ever put an end to the confusion? Let’s try to be clear. CCS in conjunction with fossil fuels (i.e by combustion) cannot be done at any price. If combustion by air is followed the volume of nitrogen that accompanies the CO2 prohibits CCS and if oxy-combustion (mentioned in AEP’s nonsense) is followed the production of the oxygen uses more electricity (by the air compressor) than the combustion produces.

    • MikeHig permalink
      October 20, 2020 12:53 pm

      You should have a look at the Allam cycle for a better understanding of the potential for oxy-fuel.
      CCS post combustion can be viable in the special circumstance where there is a market for the CO2, such as a couple of enhanced oil recovery projects in the US. Government policy may come to drive it as they “put a price on carbon”.

    • Steve permalink
      October 21, 2020 3:03 pm

      The oil and gas business has a representative on the CCC and has supported methane reformation. It is heated and splits into hydrogen CO2 and water, making carbon capture easier. The gas supplier sells more methane to split and heat for the plant, for which they charge and then they are paid to liquefy the CO2 and pump it down their old oilfields. No wonder they prefer carbon capture to nuclear. They could always give Boris a job as a gas evangelist if he decides to retire.

  7. jack broughton permalink
    October 20, 2020 11:17 am

    Much of the media are trumpeting CCUS and “green or blue” hydrogen as the answer to “saving the world”. They will not accept that neither technology is developed to any real scale or proven other than in speciality applications like Enhanced Oil Recovery. As you note they are all fantasy world, un-costed and undeveloped solutions. Even the National Grid plans and forecasts assume that all problems are solved and rapid progress occurs. Few of the advocates give any sort of cost indications of course.

  8. Gerry, England permalink
    October 20, 2020 12:41 pm

    Perhaps the media had all this crap prepared for the cancelled UN COP in Glasgow and don’t want to waste them. After all, there would be a deluge of warmist crap from all sections if it was being held just like before every other one.

    Sad news that sea level expert Nils-Axel Moehler has passed away on WUWT with a great piece by Lord Monckton. The tree story is a shocking example of warmists’ behaviour.

  9. ThinkingScientist permalink
    October 20, 2020 12:46 pm

    I think you will find the “Big Oil” referred to is in fact the oil industry woke company – BP – Beyond Petroleum – or BS as I call them (Beyond Sanity, amongst other acronyms that work with those initials). Plus the “me too” companies that Shell seems to be falling into.

    Not sure Chevron, Exxon etc are not just playing the long game of waiting for this all to fail.

    • Sobaken permalink
      October 20, 2020 4:09 pm

      Gazprom publishes annual “sustainability reports”, and Aramco’s website is pretty much all about “diversity” and “social responsibility”. Doesn’t matter if they or their directors or their home countries as a whole don’t believe in that nonsense one bit. If your company wants to work with the West, and they all do since that is where the main market for oil and gas is, it has to follow the frameworks set by powers that be (the globalist elites that rule the West and their pet activists).

  10. October 20, 2020 12:57 pm

    Would Carbon Capture make sense if carbon dioxide was a pollutant and was much of a greenhouse gas ? But it is neither. End of story….

  11. bobn permalink
    October 20, 2020 1:20 pm

    Not worth debating the CCS lunacy.
    CO2 is a wonderful gas of life. We need to release more of it so as to green the planet and feed the trees.
    No-one has demonstrated that CO2 has any measurable effect on climate!
    And if it did it would be beneficial!
    I love CO2!
    Free the Carbon!
    CCS is a crime against nature!

  12. Broadlands permalink
    October 20, 2020 1:35 pm

    The problem with CCS technology is very simple. The amounts required to make a difference to the Earth’s climate are massive. Billions of tons are required, but globally the technology operates in millions annually. The current worldwide storage is about 40 million tons a year. But just one part-per-million is only 7,800 million tons. That’s almost 200 years to safely store ONE ppm?? That is beyond stupid. NET-zero means billions. Renewables store nothing and would be required to make CCS viable. Total waste of time and lots of money.

    • dennisambler permalink
      October 20, 2020 3:20 pm

      Funny they never invoke the Precautionary Principle on CCS. Vast quantities of CO2 stored underground, legacy for the future? What could go wrong?

      • Broadlands permalink
        October 20, 2020 7:26 pm

        What could go wrong? They keep on trying to bury it, even try to turn it into carbonate, put it into soils and trees. NASA’s Jim Hansen wants us to go back to 1987 and to 350 ppm. So does activist Bill McKibben. That would now mean storing a total of 65 ppm which is about 500 BILLION tons. Completely absurd.

  13. Peter permalink
    October 20, 2020 1:39 pm

    Carbon dioxide is chemically fairly unreactive and has a small molecule therefore it is not going to be easy to capture or fix. It has not much value or use either. In other words capturing it will be difficult, expensive and probably pointless.

    As usual, Mother Nature knows best and uses photosynthesis to create plantlife in the most efficient carbon capture way known to science.

  14. Peter permalink
    October 20, 2020 1:51 pm

    I get the impression that wind turbines, solar, carbon capture, hydrogen as fuel and all the other green initiatives are primarily promoted to enable certain people to become extremely wealthy at the expense of the taxpayer.

    The steps are create a scare, propose a solution, collect the money thrown at it, then get out before reality become obvious. The politicians fall for it every time.

    • A C Osborn permalink
      October 21, 2020 9:34 am

      No, they don’t “fall fot it”, they embrace it as a means to make money for them, their families and friends at the expense of the tax payers.

  15. Phoenix44 permalink
    October 20, 2020 3:16 pm

    Boris and others have embraced it because somebody has explained to them that Net Zero otherwise cannot work without the banning of most flying and many other activities. But instead of retreating they simply decide to engage in further fantasies around CC. It can only be vastly expensive on a scale that makes it wholly unaffordable.

    The absurdity is that embracing nuclear would make far more sense, drive actual sensible technological development and go some distance towards reducing emissions. But for some reason nuclear is off the table, despite our nearest neighbour’s huge and safe success with it .

  16. Ian D permalink
    October 20, 2020 3:47 pm

    “We want to lead on carbon capture and storage, a technology I barely believed was possible, but I am now a complete evangelist for,” said Boris Johnson

    Carbon capture is a joke. As fast as CO2 could be removed from the atmosphere,
    nature would put it right back in.

  17. tom0mason permalink
    October 20, 2020 6:57 pm

    The GREAT STUPIDITY of the CCS paradigm is the belief that atmospheric CO2 is somehow an insular quantity unaffected and unaffecting other natural processes. IT IS NOT!

    Atmospheric CO2 levels are in balance with oceanic CO2 levels, depending on the ocean surface temperature. Any major change of atmospheric CO2 levels would cause a partial pressure change (pCO2) with the oceans — oceans that are ~70% of the Earth’s surface, and have at least 50 times more CO2 than the atmosphere dissolved in it.
    This change in atmospheric CO2 levels in turn would initialize aquatic processes in the oceans that ensures that CO2 is vented from the oceans, restoring both the pCO2 and the atmospheric CO2 levels to their NATURAL balance.

    Nothing can be gained from CCS, the whole idea is just a waste of money.

    Many humans have the pseudo-religious belief that humans control atmospheric CO2 levels, the weather, and the climate. This belief is without proper scientific evidence, just tainted computer models’ output.
    Nature, not humans, controls the atmospheric CO2 levels.
    Nature, not humans, controls the climate.

    • cajwbroomhill permalink
      October 20, 2020 8:13 pm

      That represents reality, which eludes the great, the good, the corrupt and the foolish, ignorant group thinkers, to our cost.

  18. Mack permalink
    October 20, 2020 8:47 pm

    In addition to getting paid by the DT for producing this green slavering rubbish, a cynic might conclude that Mr Pritchard had a nice little earner on the side from the alarmist/renewable lobby to encourage him to repeatedly churn out similar bunk. Which, it would appear, he seems to do on a regular basis. Of course, in these increasingly litigious times, I wouldn’t dream of casting such aspersions but some folk, less discerning than my good self, might conclude that he’d sold his soul to the doomster devil. Surely not?

  19. It doesn't add up... permalink
    October 21, 2020 9:19 pm

    The real fantasy is in National Grid’s 2020 Future Energy Scenarios

    Without negative emissions
    from bioenergy with carbon
    capture and storage (BECCS),
    net zero cannot be achieved.

    If we then combine CCUS with bioenergy, to trap and store recently
    absorbed CO2, this will result in negative emissions. For example,
    generating electricity by burning organic matter (biomass) rather than
    coal or gas, with the resultant CO2 emissions being captured will result
    in negative emissions. This process is known as BECCS (bioenergy
    with carbon capture and storage).

    We have considered low, medium and high levels of bioenergy feedstocks and applied them across our scenarios. The low case assumes limited UK policy support and poor global governance, leaving available supply largely the same as today. The medium case assumes UK policy support enables domestic production to increase. Strategically managed land use and waste products lead to around 220 TWh of bioresource, the majority domestically produced. In the high case scenario, there is a favourable global context for sustainable biomass production. The UK becomes an early mover in the developing global import market2, resulting in access to around 275 TWh of bioresources (domestic and imported) by 2050.

    Probably the greatest uncertainty around the amount of future biomass
    is whether a global market could develop. We have already seen countries with smaller populations and large amounts of land exporting biomass such as wood pellets to the UK. In addition, the UK has excellent potential for future carbon storage – for instance in depleted North Sea gas fields – which many other countries do not have. With the right incentives, a market could develop where countries export biomass to the UK for use in negative carbon processes

    Is China signing up to that?

  20. Michael permalink
    October 21, 2020 9:34 pm

    Boris Johnson (and his cronies) behave like a kid in a toy shop. He visits a fusion research facility and declares -this is the future. Yea, maybe in fifty years! Then someone suggests Wind Power – and the hyperbole goes into overdrive. North Sea, Saudi Arabia of Wind, yea, yea. Then eureka,the answer is Carbon Capture. Will somebody please mention Gen IV nuclear to him and take him to visit Moltex in Stratford on Avon where he can find out about a reactor that can produce low cost energy, addressing climate change using recycled nuclear waste. Above all safely. No contest? (Unless you are a politician and influenced by big business)

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