The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), Taiwan’s most prestigious research and development organization, has signed a letter of intent to cooperate with Taiwan Cement Corp (台泥) to commercialize its cutting-edge carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.
The Chinese-language Economic Daily News reported on Tuesday, citing ITRI Green Energy and Environmental Research Laboratories director Tung Chien-hsiang (童遷祥), that the institute began research aimed at developing CCS technology in 2009.
The institute’s intention was to develop a system that slashed the massive cost of preventing large quantities of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere from fossil fuel power plants.
The report cited Tung as saying that ITRI researchers discovered that their carbon dioxide capture system worked just as well when installed at a cement factory as it did at a power plant.
The new technology quickly won the support of Taiwan Cement, the largest cement producer in the country, he added.
Since the beginning of the second half of the year, Tung said, carbon dioxide capture equipment has been operating on a trial basis at the company’s cement factory in Hualien.
Tung said the cooperative venture between ITRI and Taiwan Cement highlighted the feasibilty of fully integrating CCS technology into the cement industry in Taiwan.
He also said that the locally developed technology could slash the carbon dioxide capture cost from the current international level of more than US$45 per tonne to below US$26.
The CCS process works by capturing carbon dioxide from large point sources, such as fossil fuel power plants, and storing it in a way that keeps it out of the atmosphere. Storage methods include injecting the carbon dioxide into geological formations or oceans, or even recycling it for other uses, Bureau of Energy Deputy Director-General Wang Yunn-ming (王運銘) said.
Three of Taiwan’s leading state-run enterprises — Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電), CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) and China Steel Corp (CSC, 中鋼) — formed a strategic alliance with several government agencies late last year to develop CCS technology. The alliance plans to complete a pilot project to store 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2015 and to begin commercial operations by 2020, Wang said last month.
The Environmental Protection Administration cited an International Energy Agency report that said CCS technology was now capable of cutting 19 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.