Sunday, April 29, 2012

Small Step Forward for Biochar in Australia, Big Step Back for CCS in Canada

The Australian government has announced AUD$2 million ($2.1 million) in new biochar research funding.  Funds will go to support five separate projects, including research conducted by the South Australian No-Till Farmers Association.  According to Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig, "What's really important is that we use field trials to study the impact, to find how carbon is sequestered into the soil, to be able to demonstrate how successful it can be for farming."

Meanwhile, a showcase CCS project in the Canadian province of Alberta has been abandoned.  The CAD$1.4 billion ($1.4 billion) Pioneer Project would have augmented a new 450 MW coal-fired power plant with an advanced CCS system for use in EOR.  Participants had included TransAlta Corporation, Capital Power Corporation, and Enbridge, Inc., and significant funding was to be provided by both federal and provincial governments.  TransAlta CEO Dawn Farrell explained: "The key for these projects is you need to be close to oilfields that can then use the CO2, and then you have to have enough of a price on the CO2 for the reduction offsets.  And it was those two other pieces that wouldn't work at this time."  Despite this setback, Alberta still plans to move forward with three other CCS projects.

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