World Needs Big Drive for Carbon Capture-IEA

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"The world needs to build 100 major projects for capturing and burying greenhouse gases by 2020. . ."

The world needs to build 100 major projects for capturing and burying greenhouse gases by 2020 and thousands more by 2050 to help combat climate change, International Energy Agency chief Nobuo Tanaka said on Tuesday.

Energy ministers meeting in London said the world must start building by next year at least 20 commercial-scale pilot projects to test a technology, which U.S. energy secretary Steven Chu said could solve "20% of the problem" to curb carbon.

The drive, mostly to capture emissions from coal-fired power stations, would cost $56 billion by 2020 alone, said Tanaka. Carbon capture funding could be a key part of a new U.N. climate treaty due to be agreed in Copenhagen in December.

"We will need 100 large-scale projects by 2020, 850 by 2030 and 3,400 in 2050," Tanaka told the ministers at a carbon capture and storage (CCS) conference, adding that the rich world must take the lead but most projects must be in non-OECD countries by 2050.

A few industrial-scale projects are in operation, including in Norway, Canada and Algeria, but none tests all parts of the capture process. Heat-trapping carbon dioxide can be taken from the exhausts of a coal-fired power plant, for instance, and then piped underground into porous rocks.

The IEA estimates that after the $56 billion investment in CCS globally from 20102020, a further $646 billion will be needed from 20212030, Tanaka told the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum.

U.N. studies have indicated that CCS could do more to limit greenhouse gas emissions this century than a shift to renewable energies, such as wind or solar power. CCS has been limited by high costs.

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