On Saturday we reached the end of the first week of COP-23, which is meeting in Bonn from 6 to 17 November. Whilst physically in Bonn, the formal host is Fiji, the first time a small island state has presided over a COP. Fiji asked that a focus of this COP to be on oceans, and we responded in our UNFCCC Side-event on the 7th November (see earlier blog).
The focus of the negotiations at COP-23 is to make progress on the implementation of the Paris Agreement ready for the post 2020 climate regime. The adoption of an implementation ‘rulebook’ for the Paris Agreement is due to be completed at COP-24 in 2018. A ‘facilitated dialogue’ is being prepared to undertake a stocktake of progress and pledges at COP-24 also. At half way through COP, the process ‘stocktake’ by the presidency concluded there was progress in most areas needed. We are particularly interested in the technology aspects (under Article 10 of the Paris Agreement) and we await to see the outputs of these. There appears to be technology neutrality and encouragement of collaborative R,D&D in the discussions (which encourages our activities) as well as links to funding mechanisms. A draft ‘technology framework’ may be presented at SBSTA-48 in April 2018.
The COP is split into two sites, one for negotiations and one for side events and exhibits. There is concern that this separation reduces the ability of the side events to inform negotiators with the latest science and developments, the logistics are not conducive to moving between meetings in different zones (I found hiring a bike or the electric taxis to be the fastest way). However at our UNFCCC Side-event we were fortunate to attract a healthy number of country delegates.
In the other side events, there were several that I saw around encouragement of a move away from coal. Their messages on whether abated or unabated coal seem confused at times. I saw one of these criticise CCS as too expensive and as having a smaller role in achieving 1.5C, which is different to what is shown in IEA’s ETP 2017 scenario which I pointed out.
Also of note was the unofficial American pavilion, which brought in several Senators, City Mayors and business leaders such as from Microsoft, Mars and Walmart.
In the first week there were several other side events on CCS as well as our UNFCCC Side-event. An interesting one was held in the China Pavilion on the 8th, organised by NDRC, GCCSI and ADB. Several speakers presented China’s CCUS outlook. China plans to have CCUS contributing 10-15% of its emissions reductions by 2050. It was suggested that capturing CO2 from coal chemical plant is a cost effective way for China to deploy large scale CCS projects. China is also preparing for implementation of two large-scale integrated CCS projects in coal-fired power plant. Five CO2-EOR projects are underway to test the efficiency of CO2 flooding in China, and EOR could be a driver for CCUS in China. Presentations also included updates from the IEA, Norway, UK and the International CCS Knowledge Centre. This was well attended, maybe around 50 attendees.
In terms of IEAGHG involvement at COP-23, as well as our main Side-event, we helped organise and co-chair an event on CCUS in the EU in the EU Pavilion. The organisation was led by CO2GeoNet, with CCSA, GCCSI and Bellona. A presentation from ZEP showed that CCS is indispensable for the EU reaching its climate targets, particularly when levelised system costs are considered, and the significant role of ambient heat as a renewable resource in the ZEP analysis. The event also show cased cement industry and Norwegian achievements. A Norwegian trade union representative said “there are no jobs on a dead planet”. In addition, IEAGHG presented at an event on the need for CO2 storage, organised by CO2Geonet and hosted in the Energies2050 pavilion. IEAGHG was also asked to speak at an ocean science event “Ocean options: Climate challenges and science responses” in the UK pavilion on 8th. This was well attended for the room size, maybe 40 people. This event covered an update on climate impacts of heating and acidification on the oceans, and responses in terms of blue carbon and IEAGHG presented on marine monitoring arising from CCS work, and in particular the UK and EU work by STEMM-CCS and ETI’s AUV. IEAGHG also contributed to a booth with the University of Texas, Bellona and CCSA, which proved to be well located and very popular at key times.
I also followed updates from the CTCN and the Green Climate Fund. CCS is an eligible technology under both.
Despite the grey and wet weather outside, there was a warm atmosphere of hard work inside COP-23. We will see what progress is made under all the negotiation streams towards the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Yesterday was our Side-event, co-organised with The University of Texas, Bellona and CCSA. It was well attended, with around 150 attendees, and lots of good questions.
The side event started with Dr Carol Turley OBE presenting an update on ocean acidification and its significant impacts on the planet; even the NDCs pledged so far will still cause a very high risk to marine ecosystems such as warm water coral reefs, and hence why we need to stop putting CO2 in the atmosphere and to start removing it. Of course, CCS technologies help do this CO2 reduction, and I explained how the London Convention responded in 2006 to the very real impacts of ocean acidification by amending itself to allow CO2 geological storage offshore, with appropriate regulatory guidance to protect the marine environment.
Dr David Alexander of the University of Trinidad and Tobago presented on the climate impacts already happening there and the considerable potential for CCS they have from their ammonia and LNG production. The best CO2 storage potential exists in depleting oil and gas fields and saline formations offshore. Dr Alexander is an IEAGHG Summer School alumni from 2009.
Mike Monea presented an update from Boundary Dam project knowledge sharing. Vice-Mayor Geir Lippestad presented Olso’s plans to reduce GHG emissions from waste using CO2 capture. Keith Whirisky of Bellona presented on the need for infrastructure development to join up industrial sources to storage. Finally, thinking about encouraging renewables, Clara Heuberger of Imperial College presented from a system perspective on CCS supports renewables, an area needing more recognition.
Questions ranged from the more technical aspects of flexible CCS in energy systems and Trinidad and Tobago’s CCS potential, to basic principles around waste reduction options.
Overall, the session showed why the oceans need CCS, and how it can be done in the perspective of small island states who need to move beyond their first NDCs to decarbonise their industrial sources. This will be increasingly important as NDCs are updated and as countries submit their long-term GHG mitigation strategies.
Many thanks to all who participated, especially the audience.
IISD coverage is provided at http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop23/enbots/7nov.html#event-1 and the presentations will be available at https://seors.unfccc.int/seors/reports/events_list.html?session_id=COP23
Image above: Tim Dixon Speaking at the Side-Event. Photo courtesy of Ton Wildenborg
A new technical review from IEAGHG summarising the current research on the reducing emissions from the natural gas supply chain.
This technical review has been undertaken with the aim of providing a summary of the current status of research into greenhouse gas emissions in the natural gas supply chain. Although 90% or more of the CO2 produced at gas fired power plants can be captured, emissions from the supply chain may reduce the near-zero-emission image of gas as an energy source.
As part of the CO2STCAP project, last week I went to the review meeting in Stockholm. Concurring with this, the 4th October was the Cinnamon Buns Day in Sweden and we celebrated both, the last advances on the project and such a nice local pastry.
This project, funded by the CLIMIT program, Swedish Energy Agency and participant partners, is coordinated by Tel-Tek and counts with the presence of 11 partners (Chalmers, Telemark University College, Norcem, Elkem, GCCSI, Swerea Mefos, RISE Bioeconomy, SSAB, AGA Linde and IEAGHG).
The objective of this initiative is to apply partial CO2 capture to the most emitting industries to obtain more cost-effective solutions to reduce carbon emissions in steel& Iron, cement, pulp& paper and metallurgical production of silicon for solar cells. As interesting approach, the consortium is working on their cost assessment, developed by Tel-Tek, together with experimental tests and modelling tasks, supported by the rest of the partners.
During one day full of presentations, we saw the project updates and discussed on the next steps. As highlights, this project is proposing novel ideas and the interface with the cost tool is fascinating.
Regarding the cement industry, a presentation based on the Norcem case was given by Tel-Tek. With 33MW as waste heat available in the process, four cases have been studied, which will be reported in the coming months.
Four different full capture scenarios have been studied for the steel&iron production. Based on the results from the different simulation models constructed, we had an interesting discussion on the following partial capture cases.
Within the results from the pulp& paper industry, we saw one study on the optimization of the capture configuration and the sensitivity analysis to clarify the influence of the assumptions on the results. Operating hours, lifetime and OPEX are the most influencing ones. As one of the conclusions from this presentation, CO2 capture applied to the pulp&paper sector is a cheap solution compared to other industries
During the next period, other configurations will be studied to minimize the cost of CO2 Capture in those industries and the use of biomass will be explored. We are looking forward to attending the next meeting
For more information about the project, there was a recent article published within the framework of GHGT-13: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1876610217319690
Previous IEAGHG Technical Reports on those industries can be found in:
The IEA Greenhouse gas R&D programme is formed under an agreement framed by the International Energy Agency in Paris. There are nearly 40 such agreements, which used to be called Implementing Agreements. The term Implementing Agreement caused a lot of confusion and what it stood for was difficult to communicate especially to non-native English speakers. So the IEA in its wisdom changed the name of these agreements to Technology Collaboration partnerships, or TCPs for short. At the second gathering of all TCPs held this week in Paris, there was universal approval for the renaming.
So, we are the IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme TCP, and what a Technology Collaboration Programme does is easy to communicate to prospective members. So progress has been made.
However, when I think of TCP I recall vividly from my youth that it was a particularly smelly antiseptic that was dosed liberally by both parents on my scratches and bruises. I was also required to gargle the liquid version for a sore throat. Not pleasant I can assure you.
I also note that when you goggle TCP, it tells me that TCP or Transmission Control Protocol is a standard that defines how to establish and maintain a network conversation via which application programs can exchange data. TCP works with the Internet Protocol (IP), which defines how computers send packets of data to each other.
So there you have it TCP is either the abbreviation for:
- A Technology Collaboration Programme
- A Transmission Control Protocol
So, let's hope the next person that asks me to tell what a TCP is/was never a computer programmer or was from a region that TCP was never exported to.
It is the 39th meeting of the London Convention and the 12th meeting of the London Protocol this week, the global treaties that protect the marine environment. The detailed work on transboundary CCS was completed in 2012 (see IEAGHG 2013-IP26 and 2014-IP19) but outstanding is the ratification of the 2009 amendment for CO2 export which would remove a barrier to transboundary CO2 storage projects offshore. Whilst the 2009 export amendment was adopted in 2009, two thirds of the 49 Parties to the London Protocol need to ratify the amendment for it to come into force (ie 32). So in terms of ratification progress, new at this meeting was the announcement that Iran and Finland had ratified. Previously, Norway, UK and Netherlands had ratified, but no other countries in recent years. So it is welcome that there is progress, but still very slow towards it coming into force.
IEAGHG gave an update on activities relating to offshore CCS, and Norway gave an update on the progress with developments towards a full-scale industrial CCS project, which would have the potential to receive CO2 from industrial projects across Europe and so would benefit from the export amendment coming into force.
The International CCS Knowledge Centre held its first Global CCS Symposium with a theme of “Advancing a Path Forward”, supporting the goal of the Centre to advance CCS globally. Some 160 attendees from 11 countries participated, including from China, Mexico, Indonesia, Bangladesh, South Africa, and from India by video, as well as Norway, Australia, UK, and from Asian Development Bank and World Bank.
The symposium brought together coverage of technical aspects in capture and storage, application in power and industrial sources, economics, policy aspects, climate-need aspects, CCS in the Paris Agreement, and perspectives from developing countries including much from China, and also Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and India.
There was a common recognition in the need and challenges in going from the million tonnes scale now to the gigatonne scale. Mike Marsh CEO of SaskPower gave an update on Boundary Dam CCS Project (BD3). David Greeson of NRG gave an update on the Petra Nova project. Brent Jacobs and Corwyn Bruce provided updates and learnings from BD3 operational experience, for example the use of activated carbon to stop foaming of the amine, and the benefits of testing capture systems in flexible operation load-following conditions, and differences to Petra Nova in construction materials for the absorber. Experiences from Shell’s Quest were also shared. Mona Molnvik of SINTEF gave an update on Norwegian developments, including the news that Shell and Total were joining Statoil in development of the Smeaheia storage site. ADB described their CCS technical assistance projects, which are to be extended from China and Indonesia to India, Vietnam, Kazakhstan and Bangladesh, including an interest in capture-ready regulations (for which IEAGHG has its 2007 report).
The Saskachewan Minister for Environment the Honourable Dustin Duncan spoke and described CCS as a “Saskachewan success”. Several media attended, interviewed and reported on the event.
IEAGHG was involved in moderating an ‘armchair dialog’ on “CCS: Essential Now!”, drawing upon IEA ETP 2017, IPCC and personal experiences and views of the panel.
The presentations will be made available by the Knowledge Centre. The symposium was followed by a visit to Boundary Dam, Aquistore and CCTF. Overall there was an air of positivity in the symposium, from the sharing of learnings from the large-scale operational projects with an international audience, including with some new countries.
Image of the ADB Delegation
Mission Innovation (MI) is an international initiative seeking to double each government’s investments in clean energy research and development over the next five years, with the goal of accelerating the pace of technology innovation to meet economic competitiveness, environmental, and energy security demands. It is estimated that the clean energy baseline doubling would make available an additional $25 to $35 billion in clean energy R&D, on top of a business-as-usual baseline investment of about $75 billion over 5 years. New investment will be focused on transformational clean energy technology innovations that can be scaled to varying economic and energy market conditions. Mission Innovation consists of the following Innovation Challenges (ICs):
- Smart Grids
- Off-Grid Access to Electricity
- Carbon Capture
- Sustainable Biofuels
- Converting Sunlight
- Clean Energy Materials
- Affordable Heating & Cooling of Buildings
The goal of the Carbon Capture IC, which is led by the USA and Saudi Arabia, is to identify Priority Research Directions (PRDs) that will lead to breakthrough technologies. This workshop covers three major themes centred on carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). The workshop focuses on identifying breakthrough low technology readiness level (TRL) research directions, i.e. TRLs 1-3/4, that are needed to achieve long-term technologies for CCUS.
The product of the workshop is a report that will be issued. The report has two high level purposes:
- Inspire the global research community to develop breakthrough research concepts.
- Convince the general readership, including governmental policy and funding decision makers, that these research directions are critical to meeting future global energy needs.
Some 240 experts from 22 countries attended the workshop in Houston. Work was carried out in teams in the following focus areas:
- CO2 capture
- Sorbents and looping systems
- Combustion and other technologies
- CO2 utilization
- Thermochemical conversion and hydrogenation of CO2
- Electrochemical and photochemical conversion of CO2
- CO2 conversion to solid carbonates
- Biological conversion of CO2
- CO2 storage
- Injectivity and capacity
- Monitoring, verification and performance metrics
- Forecasting and managing induced seismicity
- Well diagnostics
Crosscut was not broken down into panels but followed the developments in the other panels and produced nine PRDs itself, providing some reality-tests at the systems level for the other topics.
A total of 33 PRDs were identified and described by the teams. These will be written up into the final report.
At the workshop, IEAGHG input directly to the “Crosscut” and ”CO2 storage: Monitoring, verification and performance metrics” panels. We look forward to seeing and using the results of the workshop.
Tim Dixon and Jasmin Kemper
As part of the Mission Innovation CCUS workshop in Houston, we visited the Net Power project at La Porte. This is a pilot-scale demonstration of a novel direct-fired oxy-fired supercritical-CO2 gas turbine based on the Allam Cycle. In fact Rodney Allam himself was present and co-hosted the visit with Bill Brown the CEO of Net Power. The partners in this project are 8 Rivers, Exelon, and CB&I. We learned that the combustion chamber is scaled at 50 MWth, and the turbine at 200 MWth and it is a first-of-a-kind by Toshiba. The inputs will be mostly CO2, some O2 and a small amount of CH4. A significant feature is the recycling of heat and CO2, and the production of water (when air-cooled), N2, Argon and CO2. The result is hoped to be an economical gas turbine with low cost electricity and a high-pressure supercritical CO2 stream output ready for pipeline transmission. The pilot project is at an advanced stage of construction. The expectation is testing of the combustion chamber in Q4 2017, and full operation in Q1 2018 with grid connection. The O2 and CO2 is supplied by Air Liquide nearby. The next phase will then be a 500MWth scale up of the turbine, and no scale up required for the combustors, and engineering design is underway. If successful, the technology offers a number of advantages over conventional plant: inherent CO2 capture, no NOx emissions, smaller physical footprint and low water usage. We will watch the testing developments later this year with great interest and wish them good luck. Many thanks for an interesting visit.
The Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships Program (RCSP) in the USA has been engaged in its third phase of operation since 2008. This phase has involved large scale (0.25 to 1 Mt/y) injection of CO2 into six geological formations across North America since 2013. The DOE, through the National Energy Technologies Laboratory (NETL), manages the RCSP Initiative. The NETL required a fourth independent peer review of the Initiative in 2017. Three previous independent peer reviews, by international experts, were completed in 2008, 2011 and 2013.
The 2017 international independent expert review of the RCSP had the following aims:
- To follow up progress in addressing the recommendations of the third review in 2013, both in terms of the overall RCSP and individual regional partnerships and their Phase III projects;
- To assess the progress on the individual Phase III projects (7) and consider whether the proposed technical work program for each project has achieved its goals and those of the overall RCSP. Each project was expected to respond to the recommendations made in the previous review in 2013 and whether any subsequent modifications to project plans had achieved their desired effect;
- To assess results and key findings from the Phase III tests across the RCSP;
- To assess the overall technical program of the RCSP, address the synergies between the 7 Phase III projects and how they complement each other and how collectively they can provide a technical basis for future commercial scale projects in the USA;
- To assess how the RCSP compares, complements and contrasts with similar projects underway worldwide and how the information from these projects can help build an international knowledge base on CO2 capture and storage.
The review meeting was held in Pittsburgh, USA in January 2017. Each partnership presented a summary of their project’s progress and key findings since the inception of Phase III. The panel consisted of eight international experts. Each RCSP team outlined the technical and non-technical scope of its project and presented interim results. The panel discussed the merits and challenges of each project in view of objectives and goals and then made a series of recommendations to improve and enhance each work program.
A publically available summary of this review is now available on the IEAGHG website: http://www.ieaghg.org/publications/technical-reports/129-publications/new-reports-list/827-2017-tr11