The 12th Monitoring Network meeting concluded on Thursday 15 June after three days of the latest updates on monitoring technology developments and applications, healthy discussions, a group exercise, and a field trip to the MRCSP project. Many thanks to Battelle and Core Energy for hosting the meeting. It was so clear how monitoring has advanced and is evolving from the early R&D projects to application now at commercial-scale projects. The learning and experiences from the early projects has enabled more refined, optimised and reduced level of monitoring at larger projects, resulting in more cost-effective monitoring overall. This was seen from the SECARB Cranfield project to Petra Nova, from IBDP to ICCS Project at Decatur, and at Quest which has learnt from across the USA’s RSCP projects. We also saw collaborative developments offshore, UK and EU with Japan, and USA with Japan. Playing a central role in these technology transfers and collaborations is the IEAGHG Monitoring Network, where much cross-fertilization is facilitated. These developments also demonstrate the value and resultant benefits from US government and EU and UK funding into monitoring R,D&D. As a backdrop to the meeting, the same week saw new funding announced by US DOE in a call for further offshore and monitoring developments.
A theme for this Monitoring Network meeting was learning from oil and gas operations. This was successful by design from presentations and discussions, but the learning turned out to go both ways, thanks to the healthy and inquisitive participation by oil and gas industry companies, some of them new to IEAGHG Monitoring Network meetings, some of them sponsoring the meeting.
In terms of offshore CCS, new at this meeting were developments in offshore sensors and their deployment systems, including the sister vessel of the UK’s famous Boaty McBoatface AUV, prompting a suggestion that the CCS version could be named Carbon McCarbonface.
Overall, another productive IEAGHG experts meeting. A report of the meeting will be published in due course.
I attended the TCCS-9 conference by NCCS – International CCS Research Centre under auspices of NTNU and SINTEF. This conference takes place every two years since 2003 and run for two days in Trondheim. A total of 115 presentations and 10 keynotes were delivered, and topics covered carbon capture, transport, storage and utilization. Cross-cutting issues as power and industry sectors, policies, public acceptance, collaborative projects and CCS status in different locations were also presented.
Initial keynotes gave an overview of objectives within the Paris Agreement and the Norwegian Strategy. CICERO, ZERO SINTEF, Statoil, Gassnova and the Norwegian ministry of Petroleum and Energy commented on the role of CCS in Norway, highlighting the need of CCS as part of the energetic symbiosis. Moreover, views on the development of CCS in USA were given by DOE, who presented few projects as for example the Kemper site. However, behind Norway, USA has not advanced much in CCS applied to the cement industry. Northern Gas Networks commented on the H21 Leeds City Gate project in UK and the speakers agreed on the golden opportunity to play cards right and the ambition not only with regards to 2020 but for 2050. CCS has been proved for more than 20 years and the strategy to achieve a cost-effective solution will be based on Research+ Development+ Demonstration.
First round of research presentations focused on solvents, membranes, CCS in intensive industries and storage projects. I joined the session on new solvents, where few talks were focused on amines and NTNU presented their research on imidazoles. Results on ionic solvents were also showed by Tsinghua University and CSIRO. During the afternoon, pilot and large-scale testing, novel technologies, chemical looping, public acceptance, EOR and shallow monitoring were covered. I attended the session on pilot and large-scale testing, and this session covered multiple technologies, from emerging solvents (precipitating and non-aqueous), to interesting experience in Saskatchewan. A fascinating highlight was given from Colin Campbell on the need of standardized measurements. Additionally, the speech on the issues found during their demonstration was an exciting overview on real problems during implementation. It must also be noted the pilot plant demonstration on membranes for post-combustion, presented by the group of Emerita Professor May-Britt Hagg (NTNU), who received the SINTEF and NTNU CCS Award to recognise her career, emphasising her role in business and the recent exclusive license agreement with Air Product.
The second day opened interesting discussions on the role of CCU on mitigating climate change, presented by Imperial College London. The keynote from Christian Michelsen Research AS highlighted the need of global collaboration, while RITE addressed their talk on their research lines. The following sessions were focused on novel systems, modelling, transport, pre-combustion, CCUS, negative emissions, storage and international R&D. I joined the novel systems and modelling talks, where the flexibility of operations was covered as topic to reach long-term economic solutions on CCS. Moreover, new configurations were presented as strategies to obtain more efficient CCS systems.
I believe that the TCCS-9 was a good opportunity to see recent advances on remarkable international research. Discussions on financial aspects on CCS, how to make it profitable or when it will take place opened interesting debates. The inclusion of CCS within a new energy system instead of considering it as unique technology to achieve the decarbonisation goals was noticeable, although still more work is needed across technical, policy and society areas.
More information about this conference can be found in: https://www.sintef.no/projectweb/tccs-9/
I attended a workshop by the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) at their headquarters in Copenhagen 22-23 May. CTCN was established as the operational arm of the UNFCCC’s ‘Technology Mechanism’ and has been given increased emphasis by the Paris Agreement. IEAGHG was one of the earlier members of the CTCN’s Network and have undertaken a few activities with CTCN. There are now around 300 members, and CTCN has received over 180 requests from developing countries for assistance so far. We were originally interested in this workshop as it was announced as an R,D&D workshop, and we have been used by IEA as a good example of an international collaborative R&D programme. Although the workshop subsequently evolved to a focus on ‘first-of-a-kind’ technologies and financing, we still considered that we would have useful contributions to provide from CCS experiences especially in developing countries. The workshop explored opportunities for CTCN to support climate technologies (both mitigation and adaptation) drawing upon successful examples, and identified means of de-risking finance in such technologies. CTCN asked us to moderate and report on a working group session on mapping expertise and gaps and challenges. We were able to share relevant examples from our area, and we also shared the CCS activities by our member in South Africa as an example for other countries to learn from in a ‘South-South’ interaction.
This was an interesting meeting, with many rich discussions, and seeing the issues and challenges for a broad range of mitigation and adaptation technologies, not just CCS. It was well attended with participants from a large range of countries, and well organised by CTCN.
For more information on this meeting see https://www.ctc-n.org/calendar/events/ctcn-scoping-workshop-supporting-first-kind-climate-technology and https://www.ctc-n.org/news-media/galleries/first-kind-workshop-22-23-may-copenhagen-denmark .
Following our 51st Executive Committee meeting of IEAGHG members in Edmonton, Alberta, Shell invited attendees to visit the Shell Canada Quest CCS Project. This was a great opportunity to visit this large-scale CCS demonstration plant now in operation, and, with the SaskPower’s Boundary Dam 3 CCS project, one of two major CCS projects located in Canada. As the first CCS project applied to oil sands operations, it was designed to capture and safely store an average of one million tonnes of CO2 per year. Launched in November 2015, the project is already on track to store its 2 millionth tonne of CO2 within the next couple of months – ahead of schedule.
The group were told about the process of planning, construction and subsequent operation that led to a successful project. Indeed, the process needed skilful and careful management. It quickly became obvious that they would not only need to show to politicians and public alike that the technology would operate effectively, reliably and safely, but they would also need to engage them of the social, economic and environmental benefits of the project. Following local meetings, coffee mornings and educational events that began well before project construction, the value of the project was recognised.
The Quest CCS project was built to help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions by capturing one-third of the CO2 emissions from Shell’s Scotford Upgrader, transporting it via an underground pipeline 65 km north and injecting it into a deep saline formation 2,000 metres below the surface.
The storage reservoir consists of a thick sandstone formation just above the Precambrian crystalline basement. It was deposited in an ancient near-shore marine environment close to a river system. The rock formation has good porosity and permeability properties complemented by an excellent shale seal which will retain the trapped CO2. The area also benefits from an evaporite formation stratigraphically above the shale which provides a secondary impermeable barrier.
The Quest storage site is monitored constantly in the storage reservoir with seismic and pressure, and above which includes water chemistry in three different aquifers above the storage complex and a laser system which can pick up atmospheric anomalies across the site. Microseismicity is also monitored. Data from monitoring systems is relayed back to the control centre at the Scotford facility. The monitoring systems have been designed to detect subtle changes and offer reassurance to local communities as well as those with a more general interest in the technology.
The project had been working extremely well, from both capture and storage perspectives. Not only had Shell’s target for CO2 capture been exceeded but the favourable subsurface geology meant that less wells had been needed, and they have further improved the cost-effectiveness of the monitoring. And, importantly for the future of similar projects, they estimate that, if Quest were built again today, it would cost 20-30% less to construct and operate.
Members of the IEAGHG ExCo were given a tour of the refinery and capture facility before being taken north to visit one of the injection and monitoring sites. Being on-site enabled a greater appreciation of this world-leading project, complimented by extensive and informative Q&A sessions by the members and IEAGHG staff with the Shell team. Many thanks to Shell for the visit.
Last 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.
The 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.
The 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.
The 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.
This 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/ .
The 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!
The 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/ .
This was a lively well attended panel discussion which certainly sparked a lot of debate. My takeaways from this were:
- CO2 utilisation and conversion to chemicals is a hot topic in many countries, with many Governments funding research programmes
- To meet the below 20C target set at COP22 we need mitigation options that permanently remove CO2 from the atmosphere
- CO2-EOR is the leading form of CO2 utilisation and has the potential to store permanently some CO2
- Manufacturing chemical products like methanol and urea do not permanently store CO2 and therefore are not mitigation options.
- Utilising CO2 to make products like methanol and urea could help with the installation of capture plants on new industry processes, like SABIC’s capture plant on its polyethylene process in Saudi Arabia.
- Utilising CO2 from chemical industry is not likely to help develop a transport infrastructure that could take significant volumes of CO2 to offshore storage sites in Europe.
- Expecting large amounts of free renewable energy to be available to convert industrial CO2 to chemicals is improbable.
- Some CO2 based polymers could conceivably last for 50-100 years but that is still not long enough as a mitigation option.
- Mineralisation is a niche opportunity not a global solution and is at very best CO2 neutral as it only serves to recombine minerals that have been de-carbonated with the CO2 they lost during processing.
In short apart from CO2-EOR, coal utilisation is not a solution to climate change.