January 3, 2023
Overview of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration Projects: Industrial Applications
This is the fifth post in a six-part series that discusses carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration. The series covers topics including industry background; market overview and drivers; past, current, and planned carbon capture projects; and overviews of typical carbon capture technologies.
As of February 2022, there are approximately 27 operational carbon capture projects globally, with 13 in the U.S.1 Several additional projects are planned or underway, with more than 50 projects planned for the coming years.2 This post discusses several representative examples of planned and operational carbon capture projects in various industries including the hydrogen production/methane reforming industry.
More than three quarters of global hydrogen production is generated via the steam methane reformation (SMR) process. In the SMR process, methane (from natural gas) is converted to hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2) using heat and pressure per the following overall reaction:
Thus, one molecule of CO2 is formed for every four molecules of hydrogen produced. Typically, the combustion of natural gas, which produces additional CO2, provides the required heat.3
Hydrogen produced by the SMR process is known as grey hydrogen when there is no attempt to capture the CO2 byproduct. The hydrogen becomes known as blue hydrogen when the CO2 formed in the SMR process, and optionally the CO2 formed during the associated combustion of natural gas, is captured and utilized or sequestered. By contrast, green hydrogen is produced through electrolysis of water using zero-carbon electricity (renewable energy).4 Figure 1 below depicts these three grades of hydrogen, in order of decreasing carbon intensity.
Figure 1: Hydrogen on the Path to Zero Emissions
Representative examples of carbon capture and sequestration projects in the blue hydrogen industry are discussed below.
- Air Liquide currently operates a blue hydrogen facility based on its CryocapTM technology in Port Jerome, outside of Normandy, France. The CryocapTM system, installed on Air Liquide’s largest SMR unit in France, came online in 2015 with a carbon capture capacity of 100,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. The captured CO2 is purified to food grade for utilization in the agri-food industry.5,6
- Air Liquide announced a partnership with TotalEnergies in 2021 where Air Liquide will take over operation of the TotalEnergies hydrogen production unit in Normandy, France. Air Liquide will install its CryocapTM technology to capture CO2 from the hydrogen production unit, and TotalEnergies will handle transportation and storage of the captured CO2. The partnership will reduce CO2 emissions from the hydrogen production unit by approximately 650,000 tonnes per year by 2030.7,8
- Air Products and Chemicals currently operates a carbon capture system on two of its SMR units at the Valero Refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, U.S.A. The system came online in 2013 and has the capacity to capture one million tons of CO2 per year for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR).9,10
- Air Products and Chemicals has also announced that it will build a US$4.5 billion blue hydrogen production and distribution project, the world’s largest blue hydrogen plant, in eastern Louisiana, U.S.A. The proposed project will capture 95% of the facility’s CO2 emissions, with the capacity to capture over five million tons of CO2 per year for sequestration. The project is planned to be online in 2026.11,12
- ExxonMobil has proposed the construction of a blue hydrogen production plant at its refinery in Baytown, Texas, U.S.A. The carbon capture project associated with the hydrogen plant will have the capacity to store up to 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year. A final investment decision for the proposed project is expected by 2025.13,14
Additionally, ExxonMobil has proposed to build carbon capture hubs to capture CO2 emissions from miscellaneous industrial processes, as detailed below:
- ExxonMobil has proposed a carbon capture hub in the Houston area with the capacity to store up to 100 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2040.15 Many of the proposed projects in Houston would be associated with blue hydrogen production.16
- ExxonMobil recently announced plans to develop China’s first offshore carbon capture and storage hub, with the capacity to capture 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year, through a partnership with Shell and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation.17
- ExxonMobil is part of the Port of Rotterdam CO2 Transportation Hub and Offshore Storage (Porthos) project in the Netherlands. Project Porthos will capture carbon emissions from industrial sites for storage in the depleted gas fields in the L10 area of the Dutch North Sea. The project was in the conceptual stage in 2022 with plans to be ready for front-end engineering design (FEED) by the end of 2022.18,19
- ExxonMobil is a partner in a carbon capture and storage project that plans to store CO2 from industrial sources at the Port of Antwerp in Belgium, Europe’s largest integrated energy and chemicals cluster. The project is seeking support from the European Union.20
- ExxonMobil is also planning a carbon capture and sequestration hub to serve the Asia-Pacific region. The proposed project will start by capturing CO2 emitted by manufacturing facilities in Singapore and transport the captured CO2 for storage elsewhere in Southeast Asia.21,22
Additionally, Summit Carbon Solutions has proposed a project to capture millions of tons of CO2 from 32 ethanol plants in the Midwestern United States and transport it through a roughly 2,000-mile pipeline for storage in North Dakota, U.S.A. The proposed project will take advantage of governmental subsidies for carbon capture and low carbon fuel to reduce the carbon footprint of the U.S. biofuels industry.23
As detailed above, there are several industrial carbon capture and sequestration projects worldwide, including in the methane reforming industry, that are in operation or planned in the coming years. The last blog post on this topic will provide overviews of typical carbon capture technologies.
1 Dayen, Dimitry, “Carbon Capture: Early Days of a $1 Trillion Industry?” ClearBridge Investments, February 22, 2022. Accessed September 20, 2022. https://www.clearbridge.com/perspectives/institutional/2022/carbon-capture-early-days-of-a-usd1-trillion-industry.
2 Norton, Kit, “Fueling Carbon Capture In the Oil Industry: Production, Net Zero And ESG.” Investor’s Business Daily, July 29, 2022. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.investors.com/news/carbon-capture-oil-industry-production-net-zero-esg/.
3 Howarth, Robert W. and Jacobson, Mark Z., “How green is blue hydrogen?” Energy Science & Engineering, 12 August 2021. Accessed 19 December 2022. https://doi.org/10.1002/ese3.956.
4 Howarth and Jacobson, “How green.”
5 “Carbon Capture,” Air Liquide. Accessed 19 December 2022. https://engineering.airliquide.com/technologies/carbon-capture.
6 “CryocapTM: an inside look at the Port Jérôme site,” Air Liquide, 10 November 2020. Accessed 19 December 2022. https://www.airliquide.com/stories/industry/cryocaptm-inside-look-port-jerome-site.
7 Dayen, “Carbon Capture.”
8 “Air Liquide and TotalEnergies partner to develop low-carbon hydrogen production in the Normandy industrial basin.” Air Liquide, 14 September 2021. Accessed 19 December 2022. https://www.airliquide.com/group/press-releases-news/2021-09-14/air-liquide-and-totalenergies-partner-develop-low-carbon-hydrogen-production-normandy-industrial.
9 Dayen, “Carbon Capture.”
10 “Carbon Capture.” Air Products. Accessed 19 December 2022. https://www.airproducts.com/company/innovation/carbon-capture#/.
11 Dayen, “Carbon Capture.”
12 “Louisiana Clean Energy Complex.” Air Products. Accessed 19 December 2022. https://www.airproducts.com/campaigns/la-blue-hydrogen-project.
13 Norton, “Fueling Carbon Capture.”
14 Guild, Sophia, “ExxonMobil Baytown leaders reinforce plans for first blue hydrogen plant.” Business & Industry Connection Magazine, 14 July 2022. Accessed 19 December 2022. https://www.bicmagazine.com/projects-expansions/downstream/exxonmobil-baytown-leaders-reinforce-plans-for-first-blue-hydrogen-plant/.
15 Dayen, “Carbon Capture.”
16 Kusnetz, Nicholas, “Exxon’s Long-Shot Embrace of Carbon Capture in the Houston Area Just Got Massive Support from Congress.” Inside Climate News, 25 September 2022. Accessed 19 December 2022. https://insideclimatenews.org/news/25092022/exxon-houston-ship-channel-carbon-capture/.
17 Norton, “Fueling Carbon Capture.”
18 Jacobs, Trent, “ExxonMobil Doubles Down on Carbon Capture in $3-Billion Plan to Lower Emissions.” Journal of Petroleum Technology, 2 February 2021. Accessed 19 December 2022. https://jpt.spe.org/exxonmobil-doubles-down-on-carbon-capture-in-3-billion-plan-to-lower-emissions.
19 “Companies Join Forces for Carbon Storage in Dutch North Sea.” Journal of Petroleum Technology, 5 July 2022. Accessed 19 December 2022. https://jpt.spe.org/companies-join-forces-for-carbon-storage-in-dutch-north-sea.
20 Jacobs, “ExxonMobil Doubles Down.”
21 Jacobs, “ExxonMobil Doubles Down.”
22 Tan, Florence, “Exxon Mobil keen to build carbon storage hubs in SE Asia, similar to Houston project.” Reuters, 24 October 2021. Accessed 19 December 2022. https://www.reuters.com/article/singapore-energy-exxon-mobil-idAFL4N2RI2QM.
23 Douglas, Leah, “U.S. Midwest carbon pipeline’s backers have close ties to Iowa government.” Yahoo News, 25 April 2022. Accessed 19 December 2022. https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-midwest-carbon-pipelines-backers-110800203.html.
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Carbon Capture – A Capital-Intensive Technology with Large Growth Potential
This is the first post in a six-part series that discusses carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration.
Overview of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration Projects: Post-Combustion Capture
This is the second post in a six-part series that discusses carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration.
Overview of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration Projects: Direct Air Capture
This is the third post in a six-part series that discusses carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration.