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12th CO2 GeoNet Open Forum

Lydia webLast week I was fortunate enough to be able to attend CO2GeoNet’s Forum, this year with the encouraging focus of ‘Driving CCS towards Implementation’. CO2GeoNet is a European Network body that currently comprises 26 research institutes from 19 European countries, and brings together over 300 researchers with the multidisciplinary expertise needed to address all aspects of CO2 storage.

The two day conference began by looking at the role of CCS in national mitigation strategies. A keynote by Niels Berghout from the IEA set the tone of the day, showing the significant progress CCS has made in the last 20 years (especially given the ups and downs that have been experienced in policy and political support). It was emphasised that CCS must now go beyond ‘clean coal’ to meet the challenges governments face to meet the ambitious Paris Agreement targets. This includes reducing emissions from industrial processes alongside power related sources, a task which is unlikely to be achievable without CCS.

A regular discussion throughout the forum was that to implement CCS, there needs to be an incentive and the motivation of avoiding climate change alone is currently insufficient without more economic benefits. IPCC reports have indicated the wide-spread commercial scale deployment of CCS is required as soon as possible in order to avoid the ‘2°C Scenario’. Currently this is not happening as quickly as it needs to with industry and government both pointing the finger at who is meant to be the driving force in implementing CCS commercially.

The second day focused on showcasing results from EU projects and the lessons learnt from international CCS projects. Global perspectives included updates from Shell (Quest), CO2CRC (Otway), RITE and the Kansas Geological Survey. The European project updates included talks from Ketzin, UK GeoEnergy Test Bed and Sintef of the Rotterdam Nucleus. Gassnova ended the day with an update on the upcoming Norwegian CCS projects and specifically the Smeaheia site. It was great to hear about so many different CCS projects with 22 large-scale CCS projects now in operation or under construction globally and a combined CO2 capture capacity around 40 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa).

One of the main conclusions that emerged from the forum was that to reduce the counter party risk (which is currently increasing the price of projects) there is the need for regional co-ordinating bodies and a hub and cluster approach. In particular, shared transport systems were considered essential in driving CCS forward.

Numerous workshops were held after the forum with a personal highlight being “Bringing CCS to new regions” looking at how to bring CCS to developing countries. The panel discussion highlighted the particular importance of communication and the language used when promoting CCS. The potential CCS has for producing more jobs and enabling cleaner industry needs to be the focus of future discussions rather than stressing the importance of climate change, as short-term economics are likely to play an even more vital role than they currently do in Europe.

Overall the forum provided informative lively debate on how to drive CCS forward, and how the incentives would vary from country to country. Carbon capture technologies have been tested, safe CO2 storage has been proven and CCS is considered by many as essential for climate change mitigation. The passion for CCS from those attending was clear and we must hope that Europe’s policy and regulations to support its implementation are to follow.

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IEAGHG 51st ExCo

Becky Kemp cropThe 51st bi-annual IEAGHG ExCo meeting has come to a close in the exciting Canadian city of Edmonton. The two day IEAGHG Executive Committee meeting began on Tuesday 9th May and was held in the wonderful Westin hotel, Edmonton. This regular meeting is held twice yearly, at different locations across the world each time, and gives IEAGHG an opportunity to provide our Members and Sponsors with programme progress, an update of recently completed and on-going activities and to approve any future work to be undertaken. It also gives our Members a chance to report back to the Programme on their activities over the last 6 months and any activities planned for the near future.

51 ExCoThe Programme’s ExCo Members were given a really interesting presentation from Wilfried Maas on Shell’s activities and also an overview of IEAGHG’s recent activities which included outcomes from GHGT-13 and an update on the High Temperature Solid Looping Cycles network along with an interesting update from Juho Lipponen on IEA’s activities. Tim Dixon eagerly presented on COP22 and COP23. There were also presentations on reports which are on-going and also proposals given for potential new studies for IEAGHG to carry out.

Members agreed to take forward 4 new studies this year – so do stay tuned to see the progress in these various areas; more details will come soon.

The ExCo dinner at this meeting was held in the hotel itself, where ExCo were treated to a private dining experience. Members were all very eager to discuss the outcomes of the first day and to have a chance to relax and enjoy the wonderful food.

A full-length article on the 51st IEAGHG ExCo meeting will be available in the upcoming June edition of the IEAGHG Greenhouse News.

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Boaty McBoatface meets CCS

New TD 2I went to Portland Harbour to see the results of the harbour trials of the UK Energy Technologies Institute funded marine Monitoring Measurement and Verification (MMV) system which has been developed for CO2 storage site surveillance. This has a strong emphasis on the utilisation of AUVs (autonomous underwater vehicles – now famous from “Boaty McBoatface”).

L MMVThe purpose of this project is to develop and demonstrate a cost-effective integrated MMV system for CO2 and environmental assessments in the marine environment. The project is led by Fugro in collaboration with Sonardyne, with input from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), the British Geological Survey (BGS), Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the University of Southampton. As well as adapting an AUV to mount the required sensors and equipment, Sonardyne have developed and tested two Landers with this project.

The detection performance in these shallow harbour trials is very impressive. The next stage is sea trials in the greater depths of the North Sea.

These developments will enable more optimised and cost-effective environmental monitoring at CO2 storage sites offshore.

And yes, if you were wondering, this AUV is a sister vessel to the now famous “Boaty McBoatface” AUV which is now on deployment in the Antarctic (see http://noc.ac.uk/education/educational-resources/boaty-mcboatface ).

Many thanks to Rob Hines of Fugro, Graham Brown and Rob Crook of Sonardyne, and the rest of their team at Portland Harbour for an interesting and informative visit. We look forward to hearing more on these world-leading developments at our Monitoring Network meeting and the Offshore CCS Workshop in June in the USA.

For more information see IEAGHG Information Paper 2017-IP18 and http://www.eti.co.uk/programmes/carbon-capture-storage/measurment-modelling-and-verrfication-of-CO2-storage-mmv .

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Advancing Environmental Monitoring for Offshore CO2 Storage Projects.

New TD 2The STEMM-CCS project held its first annual meeting last week. This is an EU Horizon 2020 funded project that will develop and test environmental monitoring at a controlled release of CO2 in the North Sea. The project is coordinated by The UK’s National Oceanography Centre, with a consortium of partners representing the leading marine science organisations in the EU and Norway. IEAGHG is on the Stakeholder Advisory Board.

STEMMThis first annual meeting was hosted by GEOMAR in Kiel. Good progress is being made especially on sensor development, and planning is well advanced on the development of the engineering and techniques to collect data and the planning of the research cruises using UK and German research ships. GEOMAR also hosted a visit to their marine research facilities to see up close some survey hardware which will be used.

This is an exciting and unique project that will advance offshore environmental monitoring, specifically CO2 leakage detection and quantification, and CO2 storage site characterisation. More details will be shared and discussed at the forthcoming IEAGHG Monitoring Network meeting in June 2017 in Michigan.

For more information and updates see http://www.stemm-ccs.eu/ .

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New Report: 2016-10 – Techno-Economic Evaluation of Retrofitting CCS in a Market Pulp Mill and an Integrated Pulp and Board Mill.

Stanley-Santos cropGlobally, the pulp and paper (P&P) industry is the fifth largest industrial source of CO2 emissions. Recently, the Paris Agreement has highlighted the target of achieving below 1.5oC temperature rise. In order to achieve this goal, bio-CCS has an important role to play to achieve this target.

In a pulp mill, the CO2 emissions arise mainly from its recovery boiler, multi-fuel boiler and lime kiln. The majority of this CO2 originates from the combustion of biomass, which renders it as carbon neutral if the biomass used as raw materials of the pulp production is grown and harvested in a sustainable manner. If the CO2 emission from pulp and paper industry is captured and permanently stored, then this could be considered as a potential carbon sink. As such, the pulp and paper industry could be regarded as an industry with potential for the early demonstration of both bio-CCS and industrial CCS.

This study provides an assessment of the performance and costs of retrofitting CCS in a Nordic Kraft Pulp Mill (Base Case 1A) and an Integrated Pulp and Board Mill (Base Case 1B). Different configurations of capturing CO2 (90%) from the flue gases of the recovery boiler, multi-fuel boiler and lime kiln were examined.

Key messages:

  •  This study has established the baseline information in evaluating the techno-economics of retrofitting post-combustion CO2 capture plant using MEA as solvent to (a) an existing Kraft pulp mill producing 800,000 adt pulp annually and (b) an existing integrated pulp and board mill producing 740,000 adt pulp and 400,000 adt 3-ply folding boxboard annually.
  • It should be highlighted that performance of retrofitting CCS in an existing industrial complex is very site specific. This is also true if CCS is deployed to an existing pulp mill.
  • For the market pulp mill, the excess steam produced by the mill is sufficient to cover the additional demand from the CCS plant. For an integrated pulp and board mill, there is less excess steam available for the CCS plant, therefore the addition an auxiliary boiler is required.
  • The retrofit of CCS increases the levelised cost of pulp (LCOP) produced by the market (standalone) pulp mill in the range of 20 to 154 €/adt (4 – 30%), and increases the LCOP produced by the integrated pulp and board mill in the range of 22 to 191 €/adt (4 – 37%). This translates to a CO2 avoided cost (CAC) between 62 and 92 €/t CO2 for the pulp mill and between 82 and 92 €/t CO2 for the integrated pulp and board mill.
  • This study assessed the sensitivity of the cost if incentives to the renewable electricity credit, CO2 taxes, and negative emissions credit are provided. It can be concluded that the most favourable route to encourage the pulp industry to deploy bio-CCS is by providing sufficient incentives for their negative emissions.

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Climate Change for kids

67 JG imageIt is pleasing to see that Ladybird Books (which publishes mass-market children's books) has published a title on Climate Change which has been co-authored by HRH the Prince of Wales.

The book, Climate Change, provides a short-format guide to the key scientific facts central to climate change. It explains the history, dangers and challenges of global warming and explores possible solutions to limit future changes to the climate. The book discusses the causes of climate disruption, such as heatwaves, floods and other extreme weather, and the consequences for people, wildlife and businesses.

ladybird-170x300This book should provide an educational reference point for young children on the issue of climate change and should be widely welcomed. And of course purchased by all those who want to see Climate Change education started from the grass roots level, for their children and grand children

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New Report: 2017-05 Combined meeting of the IEAGHG monitoring and modelling networks

Lydia webOverall good progress is being made with the experience gained in both monitoring and modelling from demonstration and pilot projects. There is real progress in streamlining MMV at projects and reducing the costs of monitoring. Several sites have now demonstrated conformance of a modelling-monitoring loop, leading to an improvement in the understanding of this principle.

Key monitoring discussion points:

  • The use of fibre-optic distributed acoustic sensors (DAS) at projects, including helical configured cables to overcome the limitations of directional signals.
  • Reducing the level (and cost) of monitoring for commercial scale projects compared with the initial research-orientated projects. This is now happening at Shell’s QUEST project in Alberta where the research team are able to streamline their initial modelling, monitoring and verification (MMV) strategy without losing monitoring effectiveness, including the use of a new laser-based low-cost leakage detection technique over the well area.
  • This reduced monitoring principle was also studied in the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) plan for Occidental’s CO2-EOR project.
  • Leakage detection discussions were centred on the temporal and spatial complexity of near surface baselines and the implications for near-surface monitoring, its purpose, optimization and value to stakeholders, and hence the need for attribution methodologies to identify genuine leakage. An example from Japan on a new technique for doing this for offshore leakage was presented.

Key modelling discussion points:

  • The complexities and challenges of upscaling from pore to core to reservoir, highlighting the importance of the influence of heterogeneity in the reservoir.
  • Modelling flow in wellbores was discussed with several examples showing that it can require a different modelling approach.
  • The US DOE’s (Department of Energy) NRAP programme has produced 10 ‘tools’ for reduced-order modelling of CO2 storage, these have been beta-tested and useful feedback was given in a dedicated session.

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New IEAGHG report: CO2 capture in natural gas production by adsorption

Jasmin cropCO2 capture from natural gas (NG) can be done by several technologies, e.g. solvent scrubbing, membranes, adsorption or cryogenic processes. The future demand in NG might trigger development of NG fields with high CO2 partial pressure, for which pressure swing adsorption (PSA) processes could be more suitable than the other options. Besides, PSA processes have the potential to reduce energy consumption and costs. Hence, there is a requirement to evaluate the feasibility of PSA processes for CO2 capture from NG at high pressures.

The aim of this work was to evaluate PSA processes for removal of CO2 from NG at high pressure. For this, the study performed a techno-economic comparison of PSA with an amine based solvent process and identified candidate materials for the PSA process. Researchers from SINTEF Chemistry & Materials and SINTEF Energy Research have carried out this study for IEAGHG.

The key messages from the report are:

  • An iterative pathway was applied to find a PSA cycle design with maximum CO2 purity. The final design consists of a 12-column multi-feed cycle with around 85% CO2 purity and is the first reported design for the separation of CO2 and CH4 at a pressure of 70 bar and flowrates of 500 000 Sm³/h.
  • The final PSA design has about 50% higher costs of CO2 removal (including CO2 conditioning, transport and storage) and NG sweetening than the reference amine process. However, the process is not yet optimised, so there is ample room for improvement.
  • Data availability for suitable adsorbent materials is severely limited. This study used a carbon molecular sieve (CMS) and identified other materials worthwhile of further investigation, such as certain zeolites, titanosilicates, metal organic frameworks (MOFs), zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) and honeycomb monoliths.
  • A combined approach of material and process optimisation could significantly reduce the cost of the proposed PSA design, potentially even below the cost for the reference case of amine scrubbing.
  • Improving the feasibility of the PSA process for CO2 capture from NG requires more work in several areas. This includes optimisation of the PSA cycle to minimise NG losses, investigation of novel cycle concepts (e.g. hybrid of single and dual PSA), evaluation of advanced adsorption materials and data for suitable adsorbents at high pressure. This is basic research and modelling work that should be taken up by related research groups from academia and industry.

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Early Career Researchers Winter School 2017

Lydia webThe Early Career Researcher Winter School held at the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training took place last week and with thanks to the UKCCSRC I was able to attend. It was a busy week with 7 keynote speakers covering topics including geological storage, the current status of CCS both internationally and in the UK, the economics and financing of projects and the energy industry as a whole.

The group work involved looking over recent UK energy sector consultation papers (a first for many in the room, myself included!). This group task gave all the attendees an insight into how their current work could fit into a larger picture and the importance evidence based policy making.

A highlight of the week was a trip to GE’s research facilities in Rugby where we were given a tour of the model turbines currently being tested. The trip gave me a new insight into the importance of the power generator’s efficiency and therefore the need for ever developing engineering research. As a geologist, I must admit the thought of learning the basics of turbine engineering was daunting but I would like the thank GE for a great overview and interesting tour!

Many thanks to everyone involved, your hard work was very much appreciated!

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News from Korea and Petra Nova at the 7th Korea CCUS International Conference.

TD 2The 7th Korea CCUS conference was held on Jeju island on 8-10th February. This annual conference brings together all the CCUS R&D in Korea. This is a respectably-sized conference, a total number of around 300 attended over the three days to hear presentations (in English) in three parallel streams: capture; storage; and CO2 conversion; plus some policy work, and further work was presented in posters.

The conference was organised by Korea Carbon Capture and Sequestration R&D Centre (KCRC). We were very pleased to attend, as Korean is a member country of IEAGHG. As well as showcasing Korean R&D, KCRC brought international updates in with plenary speakers from USA, Japan, China, and Italy. IEAGHG gave the introductory scene-setting on CCS and climate change from the Paris Agreement looking forwards.

The storage work presented at the conference included much work from the controlled release site EIT (Environmental Impact evaluation Test facility), on geochemical and tracer monitoring techniques for impacts in ground water and soil gas. The amount of work being generated from this site is impressive, reminding me of the ZERT facility in the USA.

The Korean work on CO2 capture includes on solvents for post-combustion capture and on membranes for pre- and post-combustion capture.

The CO2 conversion work covered various techniques of CO2 utlisation and conversion, including a focus on microalgae-based capture and product developments.

The plenary talk by Andrew Hlasko of US DOE on NRG’s Petra Nova project was particularly interesting, as this CCS project commenced full operation last month. It is capturing at the rate of 1.4mt CO2 pa, and sending the CO2 for EOR in West Ranch oil field Texas (in which NRG has a joint venture). This MHI capture plant with KS-1 solvent is scaled-up ten times the previous existing MHI plants around the world. To ensure the storage of CO2 they are using strict MMV protocol at the oil field. Also of relevance to this audience was that the large CO2 regenerator vessel was made in Korea and shipped in one piece to Texas. Petra Nova is the largest coal power station in the USA, at 3800MWe. Benefit was made from the learnings with the pilot CCS project with MHI capture technology at Southern Company’s Plant Barry. The DOE and NRG are proud that the Petra Nova project completed on schedule and within budget. I think this may have been the first conference to hear this much about the Petra Nova CCS project. The press release on becoming operational can be seen at http://investors.nrg.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=121544&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2236424

So all in all, with a wealth of Korean R&D on CCUS, an interesting two days in a rather stormy location on the edge of the Yellow Sea. The presentations will be available at http://www.koreaccs.or.kr/ .

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2016-TR6 National CO2 Storage Assessment Guidance

James-Craig cropThe effectiveness of CCS as a global solution to carbon emission abatement will depend on widespread deployment in both established industrialised and developing economies. One of the key stages for any country is the identification of a national CO2 storage resource. To help understand the challenges faced by different countries that have either conducted, or are planning such a resource assessment, a survey was commissioned by the UK and Korean governments. The responses to this survey have generated a useful foundation that can aid governments and other organisations who are less advanced in planning CO2 storage assessments. IEAGHG has now produced a guide based on the survey’s findings. It is designed to help government bodies and policy makers with limited CCS experience to identify and select information on assessment methodologies. The guide provides information on where to find the material required to undertake initial national scale storage assessments. The guidance also includes definitions of technical terminology, proposed steps to establishing a national storage assessment and recent up to date case studies from a variety of countries focussing on Africa and Asia. A variety of methods for capacity estimation have been used and this guide provides explanations of where to find these studies and sources of information including websites, papers and organisations. Most companies and organisations engaged in CCS development have stated their ambition to share knowledge and experience; and they actively collaborate at an international level to aid future projects. This guide provides a link with current expertise in CO2 storage to help facilitate new CCS projects especially in developing countries.

It should be stressed that many detailed storage assessments have been conducted and published in the past decade. A wide variety of techniques and technologies have been used to complete them given the varying nature of each country and individual sites. Although a standardised method has yet to be established, this guide aims to provide links to the most developed methodologies providing a direction on the most suitable approach to adopt.

At the conclusion of this guide there is a nine point summary of the key stages that are recommended for the establishment of a national CO2 storage assessment.

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