With thanks to the Gulf Coast Carbon Center for this article
The Gulf Coast Carbon Center was delighted to host the first International Workshop on Offshore Geologic CO2 Storage. GCCC's Katherine Romanak was instrumental in organizing the workshop with IEAGHG's Tim Dixon, who is currently an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at BEG.
Dixon emphasized the value of bringing together an international contingent to discuss carbon storage in offshore reservoirs. "Over 50 experts from 13 countries came together in a common recognition that there is a nexus of interests and needs converging in progressing CCS offshore, and that momentum is being created towards international collaborations not just in knowledge-sharing but towards pilot and demonstration projects."
The workshop evolved as an outgrowth of BEG's interaction with the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum and IEAGHG. In addition, Tony Surridge from the South African National Energy Development Institute was a co-host.
The workshop made a notable historical mark as the first carbon sequestration-related effort to take advantage of the new financial instruments provided by the United Nation's Climate Technology Centre & Network, which provided Funding for Joseph Essandoh-Yeddu from Ghana and Felicia Mogo from Nigeria to attend.
The aim of the workshop was to develop the first global needs assessment for offshore carbon storage. Its goals included initiating a discussion about the various aspects of offshore transport and storage; building an international community of parties interested in offshore storage; and facilitating countries to identify their specific issues, challenges, and opportunities.
Topics of interest identified by the attendees included transitioning from pilot project to full-scale deployment; funding and finance; accelerating knowledge and technology transfer; regulatory development; infrastructure; and public engagement. Participants identified and defined synergies, common gaps, and goals in each of these areas, and action items, including future workshops and potential projects, were developed.
Summarizing the importance of the workshop, GCCC's Tip Meckel explained, "This is the first time that we've ever had so much international diversity and experience all sitting down with the common goal of figuring out how we can collaborate to make offshore CCS work. You can either dip your toe into the offshore or take a deep dive. This was a deep dive."
The world of offshore CCS gathered together over the 19-21 April 2016 at the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) at The University of Texas, Austin, Texas, for a workshop on offshore geological storage of CO2. The workshop was organized by the Gulf Coast Carbon Centre at BEG, IEAGHG, and the South African National Energy Development Institute, and was supported by the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF). Over 50 people attended from 13 countries, including from six developing countries.
The workshop followed a recommendation in the report by the CSLF’s Task Force on Offshore Storage for international knowledge-sharing through such activities.
The aims of the workshop were to undertake a global needs assessment for offshore geological CO2 storage, to initiate a discussion about the various aspects of offshore transport and storage, and to build an international community of parties interested in offshore storage. This was achieved by bringing together those who are doing offshore CCS to share knowledge with those who are interested in doing, and by facilitating countries to identify their specific issues, challenges, opportunities, and then to Identify synergies, common gaps and goals, and define common action items. There was a pre-workshop survey to assess the status and needs assessment survey for each country.
Experts shared their knowledge and experiences on the first day, with the current state of knowledge from Norway (Statoil), The Netherlands (TNO), Brazil, Japan, and the UK. These “How To….” talks covered storage assessments, CO2-EOR, transport options, risk management, monitoring, environmental impacts, infrastructure and regulations. Of particular interest were the subsea engineering solutions being developed by Aker Solutions to take gas-processing systems off the platforms and onto the seabed, and the potential for shipping with hubs
Other countries then presented their status and needs, including South Africa, China, USA, Nigeria, Ghana, Korea, Mexico, and Australia. Information was also provided on the East Asian CCOP initiative and the CGS Baltic programme, both undertaking regional storage assessments. It was notable that although each country is in very different stages of pursuing offshore CCS, there are common interests.
Participants formed breakout groups to discuss issues around themes identified by the workshop, including technology transfer, infrastructure, moving from pilot to larger-scale projects, and regulations. This activity developed a list of recommendations on areas to be addressed and actions to be taken. Common issues were how to assess storage potential, and the many aspects of re-use of existing offshore infrastructure.
In a very brief form, the list of recommendations included:
- International collaboration and funding mechanism for a demonstration project
- Development of a test programme and pilot project for infrastructure developments.
- Workshops and training on a range of topics including: on storage resource assessment, on funding sources for early stages of CCS resource assessment in developing countries, on platform infrastructure and transport infrastructure issues and developments, and on comparing specific aspects across projects such as environmental monitoring.
- Assistance with access to existing key information sources, and a common language on storage.
- Creation of an ‘Offshore Network’ or other means of continuing the momentum from this workshop.
The workshop concluded with demonstrations and posters of offshore work, including a demonstration of the P-cable monitoring system and its results from the Gulf of Mexico.
To note that the UNFCCC’s Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) supported attendees from Nigeria and Ghana, and this was possibly the first activity on CCS supported by CTCN. There was a lot of interest from all the developing country attendees in the CTCN (IEAGHG and The University of Texas are members of the Network).
A report of the meeting will be produced and the presentations made available. A follow-up up survey will review the benefits of the workshop and gather views on how best to take-forward recommendations and actions.
Many thanks to the Gulf Coast Carbon Centre at BEG for hosting, to the International Steering Committee, and to CSLF and CTCN for their support to delegates.
Overall, the enthusiasm from attendees suggested they considered the workshop a success. There was common recognition that there is a nexus of interests and needs converging in progressing CCS offshore, and that momentum was being created towards international collaboration not just in knowledge-sharing but towards pilot and demonstration projects
I was honoured to be invited to give the opening keynote at the UKCCSRC Biannual Meeting in Manchester on 13 April (talking on COP-21 and CCS). It was especially rewarding to see the UKCCSRC’s Call 1 and Call 2 projects now producing results and I was sorry to only be able to attend the first day.
Howard Hertzog presented a plenary talk reviewing international experiences of financing CCS demonstration projects, and Alissa Cotton of Shell gave a plenary talk to update on the QUEST project in Alberta, now that it is up to 500,000t CO2 injected. All is going well with that project, and of particular note were their reflections and lessons learnt, so that they estimate a 20-30% cost reduction in construction of any subsequent similar project. So another large-scale project highlighting the cost benefits of learning-by-doing.
Also presented in plenary was some UK work on BECCS (ie BioCCS). Several presenters calling for more scrutiny of BECCS given its contribution in IPCC AR5 in that 100 of the 116 IPCC scenarios rely on BECCS. Also of note was the GHG LCA applied to the Drax CCS project with three units running on biomass, showing an 80% reduction in GHG from harvest to use. UKCCSRC are planning dedicated workshops on BECCS later this year.
It was good to see the nanoseismic monitoring project of Strathclyde University now getting data from the Aquistore project’s injection of CO2, although early days yet in its interpretation. The overall seismic monitoring from the extensive permanent arrays will produce a lot of data from that CO2 injection associated with the Boundary Dam project. Many posters were presented on the other projects, including on the Value of CCS Flexibility study which IEAGHG are involved in. This shows that the cross-interaction of CCS with intermittent renewable capacity is decisive to achieving total system cost reduction in electricity production. With integrated CCS and renewable technologies they were are able to achieve a low-carbon and lower-cost future electricity system.
The event was well attended, reflecting the healthy level of research activity run by the UKCCSRC, which also gains and benefits from international collaboration. For more information, including the ppts, see the UKCCSRC website.
If ever we needed proof that the CCS Community are a hardy bunch, this seems to have come in the shape of the 1,017 abstracts submitted to the GHGT-13 conference. Despite the news late last year of the cancellation of the UK competition which could potentially have seen many hang up their hats, it seems the technical community has become used the to the turbulent ride that is getting CCS to deployment. Just days after the UK announcement, Paris and COP21 brought hope once again that CCS will have a place in the low carbon future and it is as a result of the work done by this community that this will be possible.
The Steering Committee for GHGT-13 are extremely humbled by the support, resilience and determination of the authors submitting to the conference and are looking forward to hosting the conference where academia, industry and policy makers all meet with the sole purpose of progressing this technology. No other conference has the breadth of subjects and expertise on display that GHGT is able to accommodate making it the one stop shop for getting up to speed with the latest projects, newest developments both in the laboratory and the field and the latest legislation and regulations for ensuring CCS can make a significant contribution to the greenhouse gas mitigation pool of technologies.
With a growing number of sponsors pledging their support for the conference and the endorsement from the submitting authors, GHGT-13 has much to offer delegates, exhibitors and the CCS Community as a whole. With information dissemination and networking as core values it promises to be an informative, invigorating conference and for those of you who have never been to a GHGT conference, bring comfy shoes, it is also an intense week where much can be learnt, contacts and new working partnerships made and we get to remember why we are doing all of this.
How has your country done? Below is the remarkable spread of countries we have received abstracts from – welcoming Turkey and Iceland as first time submitters but how has your country done, is it a world leader or pioneer for the smaller more surprising nations?
16th – 17th December, 2015, Athens
The 2nd International Forum on Recent Developments of CCS, held between 16th and 17th December in Athens, brought together pan European expertise from SINTEF in Norway, Ruhr-Universität Bochum and BRG from Germany, University of Leeds, Warwick, and Imperial College from the UK, OCAS, from Belgium, the Dutch research institute, TNO, the University of Zaragoza and CIUDEN from Spain, NCSR Demokritos from Greece plus representatives from USA, China and IEAGHG. The two day meeting covered recent research supported by EC 7th Framework under the CO2QUEST and IMPACTS programmes.
Theme of the meeting was the impact of impurities in CO2 across the entire CCS chain from capture and transport to storage. There were a series of presentations on the thermodynamic properties of CO2 with varying levels of impurities which clearly highlighted that small amounts of impurities can have a big impact on operational conditions. The gases of interest include N2, O2, Ar, CH4, H2O, CO, H2, SO2. The composition of impurities, and their concentration, can influence viscosity and pressure which are key parameters for the design and operation of pipelines. Much of the research under the IMPACTS Programme has focussed on the development of modelling CO2 mixtures and subsequent verification from experimental data. Pipeline specifications have also been tested by conducting fracture propagation tests at different scales including external field-scale tests in UK and China. Rupture experiments measured the impact of high pressure releases providing valuable experimental data on the pattern of gas release and rate of fracture propagation. The refinement of model prediction is fundamental for design parameters especially safety. Experiments are also an important technique to observe atmospheric dispersion of gas clouds.
The meeting concluded with a brief review of CO2 mixtures on storage conditions. The presence of SO2 as well as CO2 can form acidic conditions in the presence of water. Calcium rich minerals can be dissolved altering porosity, but sulphate minerals such an anhydrite can be precipitated. Modelling suggests long term impacts are very limited at low SO2 concentrations, but cement mineralogy in wellbores can be altered. More research is necessary and field tests are planned.
The meeting has successfully highlighted the significance of impurities across the CCS chain and provided some guidance on the thresholds for impurities in CO2 streams. IEAGHG has an active and ongoing interest in the impact of impurities. A recent study on flexible operation entitled “Operational Flexibility of CO2 Transport and Storage”, as well as previous research, has investigated the how impurities affect transport and storage.
The general feeling around COP21 at the close of Day 7 was that there would be a text by the end of the week. What the text will contain is very much open to conjecture.
The small island states have led the charge for agreement that calls for a target of 1.50C rather than 20C. This call have been picked by many environmental NGO’s who see it as a route to phase out all fossil fuel use. Although it seems “coal” is enemy number 1, and one NGO was promoting the phase out of coal from the energy mix by 2020.
CCS got mentioned in two sessions that I attended yesterday, first by Saudi Arabia in a session Chaired by Ernie Moniz, Secretary of State for Energy, USA on the activities of the Clean Energy Ministerial. The second in a press announcement of the Innovation Action, where Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director, was talking about the role of fossil fuels in the 2DS and made the comment that CCS was needed to use fossil fuels in an environmentally friendly manner. Of course this brought a comment from an NGO in the question session, that CCS was unproven and too costly!!!
Clean Energy Innovation is the new buzz word it seems. We got a little more information on the topic from the press release; the 20 countries that have committed to increase their R&D spending in this area over the next 5 years, will choose the technologies of their choice, but it is hoped that there will be more pairing and sharing and knowledge transfer between them. There was also discussion of joint road mapping, the benefits of road maps I am always sceptical of. As the IEA is heavily committed to this, we should watch this space for any impact it might have on activities like our own.
Another area where the IEA is making noise is on fossil fuel subsidies, Fatih BIrol made a statement that we need to phase out the $500 billion subsidies that currently go to fossil fuels around the globe. The benefits are multiple; reduced greenhouse gases, reduced air pollution, increased government revenue, which could be used to invest in health care, renewable energy, mass transit and other public services.
There were two CCS specific sessions on Tuesday, one related to the North Sea by Bellona and one on financing CCS in developing countries by GCCSI, the former had some 20 attended the latter 60. Many of the attendees at both are from the “CCS Community” and I have reflected if these sessions are too deep for Developing Country delegates, who are looking for more basic information at this stage.
Short Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP’s) was the subject of a Focus Event led by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC). The consensus now is that it is very important to deal with both CO2 as well as SCLP’s and that dealing with SLCPs makes it easier for us to stay inside the 2°C limit. The added benefit is according to the World Health Organisation, reducing SLCP’s can prevent approximately 3 million premature deaths a year. Key commitments made include:
- Reducing Hydrofluorocarbons HFC’s by 30 to 50% from refrigerant servicing within 10 years
- A Green Freight Action Plan to fight black carbon and fine particle pollutants
- Over 50 cities to reduce methane emissions from municipal solid waste
Yesterday saw the main UNFCCC Side-event on CCS, organised by IEAGHG, University of Texas, CCSA and CO2GeoNet. The event was titled “Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): Achievements and Opportunities for Developing Country Involvement”. The event was very well attended, with around 200 attendees, many from developing countries, and various media.
After scene-setting by myself, Philip Ringrose of Statoil presented on 19 years of operations in the North Sea region, which appeared to be impressive news to some that CCS had been in operation so long. Ton Wildenborg of CO2GeoNet presented on EU pilot projects which have collectively demonstrated the safety of storage. We were privileged to have The Honourable Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan, Canada, provide a politicians perspective and to introduce Mike Marsh President of Saskpower to talk about the first year of operation at Boundary Dam. This included their global knowledge centre which is going to be launched and will be supported by BHP Billiton. This will be a new international research centre based around SaskPower’s facilities and experiences with capture at Boundary Dam and storage at Aquistore, and which will be open to international participation. Katherine Romanak of University of Texas BEG presented on new collaboration opportunities in offshore storage, referring to the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum’s recent report, and sa planned international workshop to share knowledge between “those who do and those who are interested in doing”. The event concluded with a talk on the Climate Technology Centre and Network, a funding source for technology transfer and capacity building in developing countries, by its Director Jukka Uosukainen.
The excellent quantity and quality of questions that followed demonstrated the high level of interest and positive engagement in the event and the topics, such that discussions had to continue after the event outside the room, with panel members also being interviewed by various media. Not surprisingly, questions was asked and concerns were expressed around the UK government’s recent policy change on the CCS Competition.
Overall, I think that the Side-event achieved its objectives of communicating the messages that CCS projects have successfully operated for many years, from small pilot-scale projects to large-scale such as at Boundary Dam, and new opportunities are becoming available to share this knowledge and these experiences, such as through SaskPower’s new global knowledge centre and in offshore storage.
Reporting of the event at COP by IISD can be seen at http://www.iisd.ca/climate/cop21/enbots/1dec.html#event-6 , and the ppts are available on the UNFCCC Side-event website at https://seors.unfccc.int/seors/reports/events_list.html?session_id=COP21 (see Tuesday 1 December 15:00).
In addition, the exhibit booth on CCS, run jointly by University of Texas, CO2GeoNet, CCSA and IEAGHG, was proving very busy, with a continuous flow of COP delegates seeking a range of information on CCS. IEAGHG are using it in particular to promote the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control Special Issue and the new report on Boundary Dam.
Elsewhere in the COP, the main negotiations started yesterday. Good luck to all involved.
(photos' courtesy of UKCCSRC)
A group of 21 countries have come together to launch Mission Innovation to reinvigorate and accelerate public and private global clean energy innovation with the objective to make clean energy widely affordable at COP21
In their joint statement which can be found at: http://mission-innovation.net/statement/, they wish to accelerate widespread clean energy innovation as part of an effective, long-term global response to their shared climate challenge. Energy innovation they believe is necessary to provide affordable and reliable energy for everyone and to promote economic growth; and critical for energy security. They collectively feel that whilst important progress has been made in cost reduction and deployment of clean energy technologies, the pace of innovation and the scale of transformation and dissemination remains significantly short of what is needed.
The countries involved include: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, the UK , the UAE, and the USA.
Each country has committed to:
- Double their current Investment in Clean Energy Innovation
- Implement Mission Innovation in a transparent, effective, and efficient manner
- Provide, annually, transparent, easily-accessible information on its respective clean energy research and development efforts to promote transparency, engage stakeholders broadly, spur identification of collaborative opportunities, and provide the private sector more actionable information to improve its ability to make investment decisions
The countries also recognise that business needs to play a vital role in the commercialization and cost-effectiveness of clean energy breakthroughs, and participating countries commit to work closely with the private sector as it increases its investment in the earlier-stage clean energy companies that emerge from government research and development programs. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition, of these investors from 10 countries has also been created see http://www.breakthroughenergycoalition.com/en/index.html
As we start what may be the most important UNFCCC meeting of all time, the UNFCCC has just produced a new report ’Climate Action Now’ to highlight early actions “with significant mitigation potential” at 2020, so as to encourage countries and organisations to act sooner than the INDCs’ pledge period (2020-2030). This reports builds upon the UNFCCC’s Technical Expert Meeting on CCS in 2014. We are now familiar with the IEA stating the needs for CCS up to 2050, and the IPCC AR5 stating the need for more CCS up to 2100, this new report from UNFCCC focusses on actions to 2020 and it includes CCUS as one of the six priority areas for this early action. The report acknowledges the importance of Boundary Dam and Peterhead (ironically). It also emphasises solutions through international collaboration where it mentions IEAGHG as an example (with CSLF and GCCSI). The report can be found at http://climateaction2020.unfccc.int/media/1173/21789-spm-unfccc-lowres.pdf .
This high-level report’s emphasis on international collaboration and reference to Boundary Dam as an example of best practice is very welcome in particular as these are also the main themes of our Side-event at COP-21. The Side-event has the overall theme of opening up international collaboration in CCS projects, especially to developing countries. Information on this event is given below. IEAGHG is also collaborating with the University of Texas, CCSA and CO2GeoNet in an exhibition booth on CCS inside the UNFCCC area (booth 43a), and contributing to one in the public Climate Generations Area also, so please drop by or direct others to these for information on CCS.
Unusually, the World’s leaders are coming to the start of the COP instead of the end, to set it off with the right spirit and intentions. Let us hope this is a good COP, the world needs it.
“Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): Achievements and Opportunities for Developing Country Involvement” Tuesday 01 Dec 2015, 15:00—16:30, COP-21 Paris UNFCCC Observer Room 04 . 1 year of CCS at Boundary Dam, the world’s first full-scale project on a coal power plant; 19 years of CCS in the North Sea region; EU pilot projects; and new project collaboration opportunities at Boundary Dam and in offshore storage open to developing countries and CTCN. Speakers: Tim Dixon, IEAGHG (Chair); Philip Ringrose, Statoil; Ton Wildenborg, CO2GeoNet; The Honourable Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan; Mike Marsh, Saskpower; Katherine Romanak, University of Texas; Jukka Uosukainen, CTCN. Organisers: IEAGHG, University of Texas at Austin, CCSA, CO2GeoNet
Australian activists 'Climate Guardians' protesting outside COP 21 in Paris
Ministers and high-level officials from all 29 IEA countries and nine partner countries met in Paris this week for the International Energy Agency’s 2015 Ministerial meeting. The theme for the meeting was, “Innovation for a Clean, Secure Energy Future,” The chair for the meeting was under the US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
The new IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, laid out his vision for modernising the IEA and making it a truly inclusive, global energy organisation. The three main pillars for modernising the IEA are:
- Opening the doors of the IEA to emerging economies. On Monday, Mexico announced its decision to pursue IEA membership.
- Broadening the IEA’s core mandate of energy
- Transforming the Agency to become a global hub for clean energy technologies and energy efficiency, which involves strengthening the role of the IEA’s Technology Collaboration Programmes, an existing network of 6,000 energy technology experts worldwide.
As a member of the IEA Technology Collaboration Programme we at IEAGHG look forward to seeing how the director’s new vision will work through and we look forward to working more closely with the IEA.
If you want to read more on the outcomes from the IEA Ministerial Meeting go to http://www.iea.org/newsroomandevents/pressreleases/2015/november/energy-ministers-set-course-for-new-era-at-iea-.html