• Kyodo

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A trial operation for capturing carbon dioxide emitted by factories and power plants for undersea storage began Friday at the nation’s first major facility for that purpose in Hokkaido.

The government-backed project is aimed at putting the so-called CCS (carbon-dioxide capture and storage) technology into practical use by around 2020 to enable a large cut in emissions and to tackle global warming, officials said.

At the test facility built by Japan CCS Co., whose stakeholders include major energy companies, on the premises of an oil refinery run by Idemitsu Kosan Co. on the coast of Tomakomai, gas emitted from the factory will go through pipelines into a carbon dioxide separation and collection device.

The gas will then get absorbed by a special liquid solution that will be heated or otherwise treated to raise the carbon dioxide concentration to more than 99 percent, the officials said.

Commissioned by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan CCS plans to transfer the concentrated carbon dioxide through wells to two layers under the seabed that are 2,900 meters and 4,300 meters off the coast, respectively, and 1,100 meters to 3,000 meters deep.

It plans to send 100,000 to 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year for three years starting next April and check the layers’ temperature and pressure to see whether any will leak or cause a risk of abnormal earthquakes.

The capacity to store 800,000 to 1 million tons of carbon dioxide per annum is said to be required for practical use of the technology.

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