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Shell exec speaks on carbon dioxide capture and storage

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Photo: Hamad Saber

John Barry: We know that the C02 concentration in the atmosphere has gone up measurably in recent years. We also know that it’s not what’s happened so far that is the problem. It’s what’s going to happen over the next 100 years if we don’t start to manage the problem.

That’s John Barry with Shell. He leads one of Shell’s efforts to manage carbon dioxide emissions – thought to be changing Earth’s climate. He spoke of carbon dioxide capture and storage.

John Barry: Carbon dioxide capture and storage is one of the technologies that offers the most promise for making a difference to CO2 emissions in the short to medium term – I’m thinking 10 or 20 years. A hundred years out, maybe there will be technologies we haven’t thought of today.

He said the best hope of capturing CO2 is at what he called point sources.

John Barry: Think of oil refineries in my own business. They use a lot of energy to make the fuel we use to drive our vehicles. You actually have a hope of capturing that CO2 at the point source, using some sort of a chemical technology to capture the carbon dioxide and take it to a point where you can store it safely, deep underground.

So the idea is to filter the carbon out of the exhaust from a power plant with a chemical before it reaches the smokestack. The CO2 gas is then sent via pipeline under thousands of feet underground or below the sea floor, in a sense back where it came from. Or the carbon can be captured before anything is burned in newer plants that first convert coal into a gas, where the CO2 is more easily separated out. Either way, Barry is hopeful about carbon capture and storage.

John Barry: That’s potentially one of the most promising technologies, because about a third of the emissions today are coming from things like power stations, where this sort of technology might be applicable and might make a radical difference to the CO2 emissions from those power stations.

Barry said Shell is in an early stage of rolling out full scale projects after proving each part of the technology over many years, and spoke of efforts underway in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere.

He also pointed to the FutureGen in the US and the European Technology Platform for Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power Plants as efforts underway now to build coal-fueled, near-zero emissions power plants.

John Barry: We’ve done some calculations, and we think that rolling out carbon capture and storage, from about 2020 onwards on a large scale, will avoid about 230 gigatonnes, or 230 billion tonnes.

That’s close to eight years worth of CO2 emissions at today’s levels.

This podcast was made possible in part by Shell – encouraging dialog on the energy challenge.

Our thanks to:

John Barry
Shell International 
Exploration and Production

Vice President for Unconventional Oil and Enhanced Oil Recovery



Jan van der Eijk of Shell on ‘three hard truths’


Listen or download (to the right) to hear this 12-minute presentation

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Image credit: Greg Foley

Jan van der Eijk is Chief Technology Officer for Shell. He spoke with EarthSky’s Jorge Salazar about what he called the ‘three hard truths’ of meeting the world’s energy needs.

To subscribe to this and other free science podcasts, visit the subscribe pageat

This podcast was made possible in part by Shell – encouraging dialog on the energy challenge.


Harold Vinegar on retrieving oil via in-situ upgrading

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Image Credit: Shell

“I think the unconventionals will play a major role in the world’s energy future. I think they have to,” said physicist Harold Vinegar of Royal Dutch Shell.

Those “unconventionals” are reserves of oil that can’t be easily pumped to the surface. Dr. Vinegar spoke of their potential for the coming century with EarthSky’s Jorge Salazar – and about a new way to recover unconventional oil by drilling holes and placing heaters underground.

This podcast was made possible in part by Shell – encouraging dialog on the energy challenge.


Carl Mesters on gas-to-liquids technology

GTL bus trial around Shanghai, China 2007. (Photo: Shell)

Carl Mesters is an internationally recognized chemist and Chief Scientist for Chemistry and Catalysis for Shell.

Masters spoke with EarthSky’s Jorge Salazar from his office in the Netherlands, about creating synthetic fuels from natural gas. This process is known as gas-to-liquids technology.

To subscribe to this and other free science podcasts, visit the subscribe page at

This podcast was made possible in part byShell – encouraging dialog on the energy challenge.


Lee Schipper looks ahead at transportation choices

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    Image Credit: N-O-M-A-D

    Expert Lee Schipper describes transportation in the years ahead as “a gradual shift toward people and goods needing to go less distance to enable us to lead enriched lives.”

    In this Clear Voices for Science podcast, Schipper speaks to EarthSky’s Lindsay Patterson about the way we humans move around now – and how that might change as the 21st century progresses.

    Now a Visiting Scholar at Berkeley, Schipper is a former director of research for EMBARQ – the World Resources Institute Center for Sustainable Transport.

    This podcast was made possible in part by Shell – encouraging dialog on the energy challenge.


    This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

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