Fin24

Cabinet approves CO² capture plan

2012-05-04 14:11

Cape Town - A plan to capture and store carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, in deep geologic formations was approved by cabinet on Friday.

"Cabinet endorsed the carbon capture and storage (CCS) roadmap," Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane said at a media briefing in Pretoria, broadcast via a video link to Cape Town.

CCS has been identified - in government's long-term mitigation scenarios plan - as one of the options to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, one of the main drivers behind global warming.

"One of government's strategic objectives is mitigation against carbon emissions and adaptation to the impact of climate change," Chabane said.

Cabinet held its fortnightly meeting on Thursday.

South Africa relies heavily on fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil) for its energy production.

Chabane said it had voluntarily committed to reduce CO² emissions by 34% in 2020, and by 45% in 2025, on condition that the requisite technological and financial support was provided.

"CCS can reduce CO² emissions by 80% to 90%... particularly CO² from sources such as electricity generation plants, coal-to-liquid plants and cement manufacturing plants," he said.

CCS involves capturing CO² from a point source, such as a power station or coal-to-fuel plant; transporting it, usually by pipeline; and, pumping it down a borehole into porous rock formations deep underground, where it is contained and stored.

A recently-released Geological Storage Atlas has identified potential CCS areas in South Africa.

It is understood the next step in the CCS "roadmap" process will be a test injection of CO² into a suitable geologic formation, to determine whether such storage can be safely undertaken in South Africa.