Turning down the Heat: Capturing Carbon for a Cooler World
Challenge: urbanization and the global climate dilemma
The world is getting warmer. Since Industrial Revolution, increasing use of fossil fuels and urbanization have contributed to rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The result: an 0.8°C increase in global temperature and billions of dollars of damage to the global economy. In Paris in 2015, the countries of the world pledged to limit global warming to 2°C. Yet even assuming all the commitments made under the Paris Agreement are instituted, the Earth remains on track for at least 3°C of warming. UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa has declared climate change to be "the single biggest threat to life, security and prosperity on Earth."
Rising to the challenge: innovative technology
One strategy for slowing global warming is carbon capture and storage (CCS) – the process of capturing and isolating carbon dioxide so it can’t enter the atmosphere. Japan CCS Co., Ltd (JCCS) was founded to answer Japanese government’s call for the development of such a system. The JCCS Tomakomai CCS Demonstration Project comprises a full-chain CCS system, from carbon dioxide capture to injection and storage below the seabed, in a saline aquifer composed of sandstone. The system relies on BASF gas treatment technology OASE® to capture carbon dioxide. From its commissioning in April 2016 to August 2018, JCCS captured 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide – on its way toward its goal of capturing 1 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.
The JCCS system is notable for several reasons. One is energy efficiency. When designing a CCS system, it’s imperative that the benefit of carbon sequestration isn’t offset by using vast amounts of energy (and carbon dioxide) in the process. The BASF technology was selected in part because it is the most energy efficient capture product on the market. A second feature is its location. JCCS is the first CCS system deployed near an urban area. The project leaders engaged extensively with the local population, both to earn their support and to elevate the site to a technological showcase and a place of pride for the community. From showing live video footage of the site’s construction, to hosting lectures, site visits and science classes for children, to publishing the injection monitoring data, the JCCS has made the local community a full partner in the project.
Carbon in the Bank
CCS systems can make a significant contribution to the Paris Agreement goals. The Tomakomai project has earned international acclaim for its model of engaging government, local community, and the private sector in a CCS collaboration. In addition, the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum declared the Tomakomai CCS Demonstration Project a “Recognized Project” and appointed JCCS as Regional Champion to accelerate CCS in Asia Pacific.
“JGC and BASF have jointly worked for ten years continuously,” said Koji Tanaka, Project Manager of JGC Corporation, the engineering company for the CCS Demonstration Project. “If you were to describe the relationship between the two partners in one word, it would be the word ‘Trust.’”
BASF is honored to contribute to this effort, and will continue to develop carbon capture technology to meet the challenge posed by climate change.
 Current Climate Pledges Aren’t Enough to Prevent Severe Warming,” Michael Greshko, National Geographic, October 31st, 2017, https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/10/paris-agreement-climate-change-usa-nicaragua-policy-environment/.
 Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Launches First Ever Annual Report, 30 April 2018, accessible at https://unfccc.int/news/un-climate-change-launches-first-ever-annual-report.