Carbon capture and storage (CCS) will be a key technology for reducing emissions from fossil-fuelled electricity generation. The UK is developing demonstration plants and UK Government strategy proposes the clustering of CCS facilities, having identified significant cost-savings from shared pipeline infrastructure. However, cooling water use from CCS power plants are almost double those of conventional plants. There are concerns about the volumes of freshwater used and vulnerability to low river flows, particularly in areas identified for CCS clusters. Two innovative approaches may reduce water use in CCS clusters by exploiting synergies with other infrastructures; district heating and municipal wastewater. Our analysis indicates that cooling water reductions from district heating may be feasible in the northwest, but less likely in Yorkshire. We also find that across the UK there are numerous, sufficiently large wastewater treatment plants capable of providing alternative cooling water sources for large power plants. Feasibility of these promising options will be highly contextual, require detailed analysis and may face economic and regulatory barriers. Historically, ad-hoc development of energy infrastructure has struggled to exploit such synergies, but may now be facilitated by the clustering of CCS facilities.
Carbon capture clustering: the case for coordinated approaches to address freshwater use concerns
Carbon capture clustering: the case for coordinated approaches to address freshwater use concerns. International Symposium For Next Generation Infrastructures, 30 September – 1 October 2014, Vienna, Austria.