SAfrica plans carbon capture storage plant by 2020 | Reuters

JOHANNESBURG, March 27 South Africa, the largest

emitter of carbon dioxide on the continent, expects to build its

first pilot plant for the capture and storage of emissions by

2020, a government official said on Friday.

The country, often commended for being most active among

developing countries in fighting climate change, set a target to

cap emissions by 2020-25, and to reduce them by mid-century.

Carbon capture storage has been identified as one of the

ways to mitigate the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica said the

government would ensure that funds were available to make this

happen, along with industry and international support.

«If there is a need we will respond accordingly… we want

to meet the target and by 2020 see the plant established,»

Sonjica said at the launch of the carbon capture storage centre

that will drive the research and progress in CCS.

The government-led agency in charge of the process, the

South African National Energy Research Institute (SANERI), said

it had already secured 25 million rand ($2.65 million) for the

centre for the next five years.

«It's not sufficient to build the plant or do the test

injection, but enough to get us up and running and complete the

capacity building component,» said SANERI's Acting Chief

Executive Tony Surridge.

South Africa, Africa's largest emitter and 12th in the

world, depends on coal for 90 percent of its power.

Sonjica commended the industry's involvement in the project.

The signatories include petrochemicals group Sasol (SOLJ.J),

state-owned utility Eskom [ESCJ.UL], together responsible for

more than half of the country's emissions, which altogether

amount to more than 400 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

Other partners include the British and Norwegian government,

miner Anglo American's (AAL.L) coal unit, diversified miner

Exxaro (EXXJ.J), and Xstrata Coal XTA.L.

SANERI said 60 percent of South Africa's emissions are

potentially capturable.

A study to identify the possible storage capacity is

expected to be completed by April 2010, with a commercial

decision for the demonstration plant to be made by 2016.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Giles Elgood)
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