Ever since the Department of Energy cut its support of the FutureGen project, the fossil fuel-based energy industry, so dependent on effective carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology for the future of their business, has been rather directionless in its approach to CCS. The latest attempt to grasp this holy grail comes in the form of a newly announced partnership between General Electric and Schlumberger Ltd., one of the world’s largest oil field operators. The agreement is intended to connect GE’s integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power generation and carbon capture systems with Schlumberger’s geologic storage experience.
But don’t get too excited yet. Like we’ve said before, carbon capture and sequestration technology is still a ways off. “It’s more of a long-term alliance,” Diarmaid Mulholland, regional general manager for GE’s energy services in Europe, told Reuters. “It’s going to take a number of years for this really to get up and going.”
So far, the most promising advances in carbon storage have been inextricably linked to enhanced oil recovery methods, largely because it yields more salable oil. As the world’s leading oil field operator, Schlumberger has quite a bit of experience in this technology.
This agreement represents one of the largest efforts to tackle carbon capture and sequestration and make “clean coal” more than an oxymoron since FutureGen. Notably, it does not include any representatives from the coal industry.