GHG Monitor Vol. 1 No. 1
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Article 5 of 5
January 06, 2017

Indian CCUS Project Proving Economically, Environmentally Beneficial

By Abby Harvey

A commercial carbon capture and storage project in India is proving environmentally beneficial, even if that isn’t what the plant’s owner had in mind.

The plant was launched in October 2016 and has been actively capturing CO2 from the flue gas of a 10-megawatt coal boiler owned by Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals & Fertilizers near Chennai, India. The CO2 is then converted into soda ash, which in turn can be used in chemical and glass manufacturing as well as paper production.

The project, which received no financial support from the Indian government, was initially built simply to serve as a new source of pure carbon for Tuticorin, according to managing director of the Tuticorin plant, Ramachandran Gopalan. The CO2 is essential to the production of soda ash. “I am a pure businessman so we thought of this carbon dioxide plant out of sheer necessity first because we are going to run out of this vital raw material for us,” he told BBC Radio in a documentary broadcast Tuesday.

However, the plant has not just helped Gopalan’s business. “Incidentally, it turned out to be an excellent decision because we could see in these last two months what the change of environment that is coming in this area because we have stopped putting so much of ash and dust and coal into the atmosphere,” he said.

The plant’s successful operation has earned international recognition and applause from the Global CCS Institute. “The Tuticorin Project is proving the commercial viability of carbon capture and storage and the ability to apply CCS-related technology without subsidy in specific circumstances. The cost reductions claimed by the project demonstrate the ongoing cost reductions in CCS which the Institute has been observing for some time. Further cost reductions will come with further deployment,” Global CCS Institute Asia Pacific General Manager Alex Zapantis said in a prepared statement.

The kit installed at the plant was developed by Carbon Clean Solutions, a U.K.-based developer of carbon capture solvents. The company said the unit has been performing as expected. “It was completed on time and on budget, and is performing very well. The plant’s emissions are now close to zero,” Carbon Clean Solutions spokeswoman Mariko Shaw told GHG Weekly by email.

The process is estimated to capture approximately 60,000 metric tons of CO2 annually from the chemical plant.

The technology was tested from November 2015 to March 2016 at Norway’s Technology Center Mongstad, capturing more than 25,000 tons of CO2 during that period. Testing reportedly also revealed that the solution used in the process, which pulls carbon out of flue gas, is far less corrosive than traditional solvents, allowing plants to be built with less expensive materials. “This ground-breaking achievement can reduce the capital expenditures for commercial scale plants by over 25%,” according to a Carbon Clean Solutions release.

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