New Regs Would Limit Carbon for the FirstTime

April 24, 2023

Does not specifically mandate carbon capture, but would force limits on carbon emissions, which, barring some technological breakthrough, would probably force most fossil plants to close – if the regs indeed go into force, and survive future administrations.

New York Times:

President Biden’s administration is poised to announce limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that could compel them to capture the pollution from their smokestacks, technology now used by fewer than 20 of the nation’s 3,400 coal and gas-fired plants, according to three people who were briefed on the rule.

If implemented, the proposed regulation would be the first time the federal government has restricted carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, which generate about 25 percent of the planet-warming pollution produced by the United States. It would also apply to future plants.

Almost all coal and gas-fired power plants would have to cut or capture nearly all of their carbon dioxide emissions by 2040, according to the people familiar with the regulation, who asked not to be identified because the rule has not been made public.

The proposed rule is sure to face opposition from the fossil fuel industry, power plant operators and their allies in Congress. It is likely to draw an immediate legal challenge from a group of Republican attorneys general that has already sued the Biden administration to stop other climate policies. A future administration could also weaken the regulation.

The regulation, proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency, is being reviewed by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, and could still be adjusted.

Maria Michalos, an E.P.A. spokeswoman, said the agency is “moving urgently to advance standards that protect people and the planet, building on the momentum from President Biden’s Investing in America economic agenda, including proposals to address carbon emissions from new and existing power plants.”

It would not mandate the use of carbon capture equipment, a nascent and expensive technology; rather, it would set caps on pollution rates that plant operators would have to meet. They could do that by using a different technology or, in the case of gas plants, switching to a fuel source like green hydrogen, which does not emit carbon, according to the people familiar with the matter. But the regulation could lead to the broader adoption of carbon capture technology, the people said.


3 Responses to “New Regs Would Limit Carbon for the FirstTime”

  1. Gingerbaker Says:

    Clarence Thomas is having an orgasm in anticipation of erasing the EPA over this one. Which is unfortunate, because the EPA is – finally! – doing its job.

  2. John Oneill Says:

    There’s a new tech called the Allam cycle, which is supposed to allow gas to be burnt, and all the CO2 captured ready for storage, with energy efficiency equivalent to the best combined cycle plants (which burn the gas in a modified jet engine, then use the hot exhaust to power a second steam turbine.) Allam cycle runs on pure oxygen instead of air, so the oxygen has to be separated out first. Normal combustion is in ~20% oxygen, 80% nitrogen, so some of the carbon dioxide in the exhaust gas is recycled back and mixed with the fuel and pure oxygen. This eliminates the nitrogen oxides produced in most gas plants, which can be both a health hazard and a powerful global warming gas. The turbine is spun by hot, high pressure CO2 (with some water vapour, from the CH4 + 3O2 > CO2 + 2H2O reaction.) At these temperatures and pressures, CO2 becomes a supercritical fluid, neither liquid nor gas, more than twice as dense as equivalent steam, which allows a very small, high-rev turbine to be used. When it’s cooled, the water can be removed, and the CO2 is pipeline-ready, assuming there’s some geological formation nearby it can be pushed down into.
    Replacing current gas plants with Allam cycle would be an expensive option, but perhaps a more honest source of reliable, weatherproof electricity than the dozens of supposedly ‘hydrogen-ready’ gas turbines that Germany plans to build, with no plausible fuel in sight for them except good old methane.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      “…perhaps a more honest source of reliable, weatherproof electricity than the dozens of supposedly ‘hydrogen-ready’ gas turbines that Germany plans to build, with no plausible fuel in sight for them except good old methane.”

      Aye. In my mind, hydrogen’s biggest downside is the cover it gives to preserving methane infrastructure.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: