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We are finding ways to provide cleaner products to our customers, such as removing sulphur, enabling the cleaner use of coal, and taking out polluting particles from fuels.

Carbon dioxide capture and storage

While there is no silver bullet to eradicate the threat of global warming, one of the most promising technologies for rapidly reducing global emissions has been identified as carbon capture and storage (CCS).

The idea is simple: capture CO2 from power plants and refineries, for example, and store it safely underground. The technology for CO2 capture and storage (involving capture, transport, re-injection and underground storage) is already in operation today. 

But with a wide range of geologic variations around the world a number of technical challenges remain to ensure the safe, large scale and long term underground storage of CO2. We are involved in a number of demonstration projects around the world to advance CCS.

Other than storing the CO2, we have also found other uses for it: for example, Shell’s Rotterdam refinery collects around 400,000 tonnes annually of pure CO2 and pipes it to Dutch greenhouses to boost growth of vegetables, and a smaller amount is transported by truck to the soft drinks industry.

Putting sulphur to use

More sulphur is being extracted from oil and gas to make cleaner transport fuels and reduce the sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere. To put the sulphur to good use we have developed SEAM asphalt modifier, which makes road surfaces more durable by using a combination of sulphur pellets and bitumen asphalt.

We have also developed sulphur concrete, which is tougher than traditional concrete and can withstand acidic and salty conditions, making it excellent for sea defences and waterworks. It also generates 30-50% fewer CO2 emissions compared to the traditional production of concrete.

Coal gasification

Coal storage facility at the Yueyang Coal Gasification plant.

Coal storage facility at the Yueyang Coal Gasification plant.

Coal is the world’s cheapest and most abundant fossil fuel. But burning it releases greenhouse gases, toxic heavy metals, and sulphur, a major cause of acid rain. Our technology can now turn virtually any coal – even the lowest, dirtiest grades – into synthesis gas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide that burns as cleanly as natural gas

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