GE is at the forefront of carbon capture technology development, exploring proven, scalable solutions that can decrease power plant CAPEX and OPEX.
related to NGCC/CCS integration
achievable with existing technology
CCS is the process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) formed during power generation, like from a natural gas or industrial plant, and storing it underground so that it does not enter the atmosphere.
Similar to introducing low carbon fuels to a power plant, CCS can be applied to both new and existing gas power plants to decrease the emission of CO2 over the life of the plant. The CO2 is captured from the exhaust gas of the power plant post-combustion before it can be emitted to the atmosphere. The CO2 is separated from the other exhaust gas components via an advanced chemical process to achieve a high purity stream of CO2. Once captured, the CO2 is compressed to a supercritical level and transported either by ships or pipelines (the US has approximately 5,000 miles of CO2 pipelines today) to a location where it can be safely stored underground. CO2 has frequently been used in the production of synthetic fuels, chemicals, and building materials. However, the demand for the CO2 for utilization is only a fraction of the potential level of capture. Therefore, the majority of CO2 captured will be sequestered in deep rock formations underground.
GE’s carbon capture initiatives are going global. Take a look at our interactive map to see where in the world we are.
Our carbon capture resources can provide more information on what you need to know when it comes to accelerating our energy transition. Want to dive deeper? Explore the resources below.
Norway's cool seawater and long hours of daylight during the summer allow the country to explore new industries such as kelp farming. Kelp and its ability to absorb and sequester large amounts of CO2 offers a window into Norway’s next vital maritime resource: the geology and capability to capture and sequester carbon in underground rock formations.
Carbon capture can be applied to both new and existing gas power plants to decrease the emission of CO2 while providing reliable power to customers, working towards the clean energy transition. Our carbon capture calculator can help you understand how much carbon-free power you can achieve per MWh depending on the desired CO2 capture rate, and how carbon capture compares to other methods of removing CO2 from the environment.
GE Gas Power supports ratification of the London Protocol. We believe carbon capture and sequestration can advance decarbonization and help to meet the climate targets set out in the Paris Agreement. But we know CCS can’t work without globally established laws and rules in place. We know we can’t do it alone—stakeholders at every level can support the London Protocol. Learn how the London Protocol can support decarbonization around the world.
One of the barriers to embracing carbon capture can be the high cost of construction of the capture plant and a lack of understanding as to how the capture plant will affect operations. More funding of research and development (R&D) can help reduce costs, improve efficiency, and accelerate the deployment of carbon capture solutions. Also, governments can help establish certain policies to accelerate these decarbonization technologies’ potential.
Integrating carbon capture and sequestration technologies into society depends on the contribution of many focus areas. The good news is, it's already in motion. Watch our webinar to learn more.
CCS is the process of capturing CO2 formed at the emission source, like from a natural gas combustion or at industrial plants, followed by the transportation of the CO2, and storing it deep underground—or even utilizing it. It can be reused for many industrial processes rather than just being stored.
Want to learn more? Our “Cutting Carbon” podcast can help you explore carbon capture.
CO2 is extracted from the flue gas that would otherwise be emitted using a chemical with an attraction to the CO2. The CO2 is produced as a byproduct of fossil fuel power generation and industrial processes, and is captured during the post-combustion phase, but can also be captured directly from the air—this is known as Direct Air Capture (DAC).
Once it’s been captured, the CO2 is compressed and transported either by ships or pipelines. Finally, the CO2 can be stored safely far underground—or, the CO2 can be re-used.
Existing options for capturing carbon dioxide include using liquid solvents which have an affinity towards CO2. The most mature technology option today for post-combustion capture is utilization of a chemical known as an "amine." A uniquely designed liquid amine is rained down from the top of a column and comes into contact with the exhaust gas entering from the column base. This column, known as the absorption column, allows for a selective transfer of CO2 into the solvent as the two streams pass each other. The CO2-rich liquid stream falls down the column and is then moved to a second vessel, where it is heated to drive off high purity CO2. That CO2 can then be compressed and transported to a sequestration or industrial site, and the amine gets recirculated to begin the processes again.
CO2 is compressed to the appropriate pressure on site and then transported via truck, train, ship, and pipeline to a final sequestration site or repurposing location. Pipeline transport is the lowest cost option for significant volumes of CO2 and allows for the smooth incorporation into the existing global infrastructure—and there are already 5,000 miles (~8,000km) of CO2 pipelines globally. The continued investment into expanding the pipeline network globally would promote the proliferation of CCS technology and enable power generation sites to reach even distant geologic resources for sequestration or industrial sites for repurpose.
The techniques, tools, and geologies for the safe and successful storage of CO2 underground are well-studied and matured out of the oil & gas industry. There is very strong evidence that we can safely store CO2 underground for hundreds of millions of years, just as hydrocarbons were stored underground before being intentionally extracted by humans. Over time, the CO2 becomes more and more dense, bonding with the porous rock layers to form carbonate rock and capturing it underground in perpetuity.
Want to learn more? We have a “Cutting Carbon” podcast episode all about storage.
The water table exists globally at between 100-300 ft (30-90 m) beneath the earth’s surface and is much higher than the injection location for CO2 at between 5,000-15,000 ft (1,524-4,572 m) beneath the earth’s surface. The geologic layers of porous and non-porous rock that separate the two zones eliminate safety considerations surrounding ground water contamination by captured CO2. The depth of injection of CO2 is such that no surface seismic activity would be registered on the surface. In reality, the pressure that builds in the rock formations over time would be mitigated with the structured injection technology and the rock formations stabilized as they are more comfortably redistributed. Fluid disposal technology is extremely mature and the injection of CO2 is not unique in terms of increasing seismic activity.
As both global emissions prices soar and pledges of decarbonization become more aggressive, the cost of adding a carbon capture system to any CO2-emitting asset becomes a viable technological pathway. Though often labeled as overly expensive and unnecessary, this holds true under circumstances where CO2 emissions may continue unabated. However, with the transition to a decarbonized future across multiple sectors, this is no longer the case. In fact, given the proper market structures and regulatory frameworks that already exist in certain regions, CCS is economical today, especially compared to alternatives to decarbonize thermal assets.
Yes, post-combustion carbon capture can be installed on both new and existing CO2 producing assets. For example, let’s consider retrofitting existing plants. The retrofit strategy helps de-risk both current and future carbon regulations that impact the decision to operate or build a gas-fired power plant today. Furthermore, retrofits can significantly extend the lifetime of operating assets, extending their economic viability and even deferring costly decommissioning expenses with forced retirements. In fact, according to the IEA, carbon capture retrofits are expected to account for 50% of all CO2 capture projects by 2050.
goal for removal of carbon dioxide emissions with CCS
plan to deploy the technology commercially
"CCS is a necessary solution to reduce emissions from the power and heat market in the EU. While green energy solutions such as solar and wind power are being developed, CCS contributes to reducing or removing emissions from hard-to-abate industries where limited alternatives are available. The collaboration between Northern Lights and GE seeks to reduce emissions from the power generation sector."