Assessing European Capacity for Geological Storage of Carbon Dioxide    

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Thomas Vangkilde-Pedersen
GEUS Denmark
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4. Relevance to the objectives of the Priority Thematic Areas

While considerable efforts should be directed towards reducing CO2 emissions through fuel efficiency measures (e.g. coal combustion techniques, increased mileage for vehicles, lower consumption/ higher waste heat recovery in industrial processes and reduced energy use in domestic situations) these efforts can only accomplish a fraction of the emission reductions required, and will not on its own be able to meet the demands of the Kyoto Protocol.

Other viable means of reducing CO2 emissions - such as geological storage - will have to be invoked, if we are not to face a serious shortage of environmentally acceptable energy sources (which could force expansion of nuclear power generation considerably) or alternatively, fail to meet the Kyoto agreement target for the EU and make impossible the much deeper cuts required over the next few decades.

If, in Europe, we do not develop the necessary technologies to implement CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS), someone else will, and we will have to import the technology in order to fulfil our carbon dioxide reduction commitments.

Extract of Call FP6-2004-Energy-3, published June 8, 2004-12-04

Mapping geological CO2 storage potential matching sources and sinks.

The assessment of the potential for storage in geological formations, in conjunction with the sources available throughout Europe is a critical issue for the uptake of CO2 storage on a large scale.

The main objective is to assess the potential for CO2 geological storage in areas of Europe where it has not been done yet, particularly in Eastern and Southern Europe, to complement the mapping already done in GESTCO.

Important elements will be to establish the CO2 sources in these regions and to develop site selection criteria such as a potential storage assessment versus major source characterisation.

Instrument: this topic is only open for STREP proposals. To address the goals of the topic, it is expected that one STREP could be funded. Opportunities for including research organisations from third countries should be fully explored including in particular those participating in the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF).

The above Call-for-proposals text appears under the overall heading of Power Generation.

4.1. Why geological storage of CO2?

Fuel switching and fuel efficiency measures will not be enough to meet the Kyoto requirements and the deep cuts, which must be anticipated later.

To produce such deep cuts CO2 emissions from power generation and major industry must be reduced significantly.

Geological studies mainly in Western Europe and including the Northern North Sea, map considerable potential but geographically unevenly distributed. Analyses show geological storage of CO2 to be a real option in the majority of the countries studied. Storage of about 1 million tonnes of CO2 annually at the Sleipner gas field demonstrates the technical feasibility of the method.

If long term storage capacity can be demonstrated close to the CO2 emission sources (e.g. within +/- 100 km) also in those European countries not covered by the GESTCO project, the geological storage method could potentially make the development of future fossil fuel based power generation environmentally acceptable.

The combined result of the GeoCapacity and the previous projects will provide coverage of the majority of the EU member states and a number of neighbouring countries.

4.2. Relevance of the GeoCapacity project

If CCS is ever to become a widely used carbon dioxide reduction method, it is essential that sufficient, high quality geological storage capacity is located, mapped and evaluated in the various area of Europe where power generation takes place, steel and cement is made et cetera. In brief it can be said, that if there is no storage capacity available, it does not matter how much CO2 can be captured, nor how cheaply it can be done.

The present project proposal has been designed specifically to assess the potential for CO2 storage in as much of the outstanding area of Europe as possible: 13 new countries, 4 neighbour country reviews and updates of 5 countries.

The project will provide the most up-to-date inventory of CO2 from major point sources (> 100 000 tonnes per year).

A small, but focussed effort will be dedicated to improving professional standards for CO2 storage capacity assessments, as a contribution also to the global work on this issue. This work will be supplemented with the development of a set of technical site selection criteria for CO2 storage.

Finally, an important component of the project will be to initiate international cooperation in the field of geological storage of CO2 with P.R. China, and by establishing suitable contacts with other CSLF members.

5. Potential impact >>>

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