Utility-Scale Carbon Capture and Storage
STAXCO2™ is STAX's utility-scale CO2 capture technology that provides a realistic and economically-viable approach that can be sufficiently scaled to achieve a massive change in a short period of time using a STAGED APPROACH as follows:
STAGE 1: Coal-fired power plants are firmly set to produce 300 GT of the remaining ~400 GT CO2 budget to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. STAX's modular approach can be applied to any power plant quickly by dramatically reducing the amount of engineering and planning. STAX's proven technology is only 13% of the capital cost and 27% of the operating cost of the incumbent technology. This low cost means this solution does not have the typical economic barriers that slow or prevent adoption. Thus, dozens of power plants could be retrofitted within a decade.
STAGE 2: Many coal-fired power plants are transitioning to natural gas for economic reasons. New gas-fired plants are also being built. Even though gas-fired plants emit only half the carbon of coal plants, these emissions are still massive. STAX's low net cost allows economical treatment of gas plants as well. Also, as coal plants are converted to natural gas, the "paid-for" STAX units may continue to operate to further capture CO2 from the exhaust from the gas-fired boilers thereby giving a second life to these capital assets. Furthermore, as the cost of carbon increases, the economics for gas plants will become even more attractive.
STAGE 3: As bio-energy becomes feasible in the coming decades, then STAX modules can be re-deployed to collect CO2 from bio-energy plants. This means that massive amounts of carbon will be captured from the atmosphere, converted to bio-fuel, whereby the bio-fuel is consumed in power plants, and resulting CO2 is captured. This approach is known as Bio-energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS). The net effect is carbon-negative power generation. Using BECCS we can ultimately reverse global warming by capturing carbon from the atmosphere to make up for today's inaction and to "dial in" the optimum atmospheric CO2 concentration.
Initially, the only known way to permanently sequester billions of tons of CO2 is to pump it deep underground. At today's carbon prices, enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is the only economically-driven method that uses existing infrastructure to use CO2 to recover trapped oil from spent oil fields. Although EOR seems counter-productive because it results in the production of even more fossil fuel, this is more than offset because up to 2.5 times the CO2 is sequestered net overall. Since the STAX method is about 75% less expensive than the existing alternative, a powerful economic engine already exists which will lead to rapid deployment. This method is not constrained by waiting for rising carbon prices or government action which could take decades - which is key to making a significant difference in climate change quickly in the next few years, when it matters most. Currently, EOR remains the world’s most-effective path to sequester globally-significant amounts of CO2 as quickly as possible. The infrastructure needed to transport the CO2 gas already exists because an extensive pipeline system already exists to transport CO2 from natural sources to the oil fields. However, these natural sources are rapidly being depleted. Thus, with EOR, we can get a jump on climate change immediately while all the other approaches may take many decades to implement. Once carbon prices rise sufficiently to drive dedicated underground storage, then we can transition to this preferred approach.
Using the modular techniques developed by STAX Engineering, STAX is ready within the next decade to deploy its technology on the estimated 10% of power plants that are already located near pipelines across the country. Ultimately, this proven approach could be used to solve up to about 30% of the climate change problem.