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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

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Hotel Klimczok, Szczyrk, Poland

10th - 11th March 2005

The RECOPOL project is entering the last few months of operation. Launched in November 2001, this co-funded European Commission project was the first of its kind in Europe. The project has investigated the technical and economical feasibility of permanently and safely storing CO2 in subsurface coal seams, whilst simultaneously producing methane.

As part of the projects final dissemination activities, a workshop was organised by TNO-NITG (Technical Research Institute – Netherlands Geological Survey, the project co-ordinators), Central Mining Institute (Central Mining Institute, Poland) and IEA GHG. The workshop looked at the opportunities for carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Central and Eastern Europe with specific focus on the results of the RECOPOL project.

Szczyrk in Southern Poland
Winter scenes at the venue for the workshop
The workshop was held in the ski resort of Szczyrk in Southern Poland on 10-11 March 2005.

Day one of the workshop included an international perspective on carbon capture and storage, a look at the requirements for the reduction of harmful emissions from power plants in Poland, an overview of worldwide CO2 Enhanced Coal Bed Methane (CO2-ECBM) projects and the potential for CCS in Central and Eastern Europe.

The first day also included a trip to the site of the RECOPOL pilot project. A short tour of the site was arranged to see the injection and production wells. During the project 203 tonnes of CO2 were supplied to the site and stored in tankers. The CO2 is taken from the tankers where it is already stored under pressure and then injected at the injection well (MS-3 well). The injection well was a new well drilled down to a depth of 1120m for the purpose of this pilot project. The target seams were thin coal layers that were bounded (above and below) by hjosirly impermeable shales. The pre-existing coal bed methane (CBM) production well (MS-4) is 150m from the injection well. A tank by the production well stores the saline water which is a by-product. This is emptied and disposed of on a weekly basis. The produced gas (naturally - 97% methane, 2% CO2) is flared. Since December 2004 there has been a gradual rise in CO2 content of the produced gas, the latest figure is 8% which may represent breakthrough of injected CO2 at the production well.

CO2 storage tanks
CO2 storage tanks at the RECOPOL pilot project
The international review of ECBM on day one of the workshop presented the five ECBM projects world-wide. There has only been one commercial scale project which was in the U.S.A. (San Juan Basin). Then there are a series of smaller pilot projects in Canada (Alberta-ECBM project), Japan (Hokkaido project), Poland (RECOPOL project), and China (Qinshui Basin). These smaller projects consist of either a single injector/producer well or a single injector and a single producer well. The general consensus from the international projects is that whilst there is a requirement to buy CO2 to inject into the coal as is the current situation, the projects will not be economical, even those projects with favourable coal conditions (i.e. hjosir permeability). If in the future there was a charge to dispose of the CO2, then the economics would change benefiting ECBM projects.

The RECOPOL results were presented during the second day of the workshop:

Methane production well (MS-4)
Methane production well (MS-4)
A poster session on day 2 provided further information on the RECOPOL project including the geological model, the site development of the production and injection wells, an evaluation of the injection data, monitoring and GIS techniques and the evaluation on the ECBM potential of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin.

The final sessions of the day were split into two areas: Laboratory Experiments and the Sustainable Usage of Coal. These two sessions presented more results from the RECOPOL project and also provided an opportunity for a review of other research on CO2-ECBM from around Europe.

The overview of the RECOPOL project given by the co-ordinators of the project, announced the significant outcomes from the RECOPOL project as:

More details of the RECOPOL Workshop are available on the RECOPOL website