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Journal of Energy in Southern Africa

versión On-line ISSN 2413-3051
versión impresa ISSN 1021-447X

J. energy South. Afr. vol.19 no.1 Cape Town  2008


A review of carbon dioxide capture and sequestration and the Kyoto Protocol's clean development mechanism and prospects for Southern Africa



M LotzI; A C BrentII

IPromethium Carbon. Graduate School of Technology Management, University of Pretoria
IISustainable Energy Futures, Natural Resources and the Environment, CSIR Graduate School of Technology Management, University of Pretoria




The clean development mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol is a financial incentive intended to make economically marginal greenhouse gas (GHG) prevention projects more feasible. Carbon dioxide capture and sequestration (CCS) is a possible GHG mitigating strategy. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines a CCS project as a process consisting of three phases: the separation of carbon dioxide from industrial and energy-related sources; transportation of the carbon dioxide to a storage location; and long-term isolation of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This paper focuses on prospects of CCS as CDM projects in general and in the context of Southern Africa. Currently there is no evidence of a long term proven track record of integrated CCS systems; only three industrial scale CCS projects exist globally. Nevertheless, new concepts have been proposed for CCS CDM projects such as long-term liability and certified emission reduction (CER) cancellation. However, these concepts are not in the current CDM framework at present. It is thus difficult to prove CCS as an eligible CDM project without first addressing possible expansion and shortfalls of the current CDM structure. More research is also required to quantify the trade offs presented between mitigating carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at the possible detriment of the areas of storage in the Southern Africa context. Only then may CCS projects be deemed more viable in the CDM context. Finally, although the potential for CCS in South Africa has been noted due to major point sources, the cost of capture and storage is a major obstacle; matching point sources and geological storage options is problematic for South Africa and neighbouring countries due to large transport distances. The regulatory risks associated with CCS are further deterrents for the implementation of CCS CDM projects in Southern Africa in the near future.

Keywords: clean development mechanism, capture, sequestration, carbon dioxide capture and sequestration, South Africa



Full text available only in pdf format.




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Received 8 August 2007
Revised 18 October 2007

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