It has struck me when listening to astronauts that very often their concern for the earth’s environment is much enhanced after their experiences. Perhaps because of their unique perspective from space looking back at this planet, I guess they see that this bright blue/green planet is a small oasis of life in the vastness of space.
This was reinforced most recently when I had the privilege of meeting US astronaut Scott Kelly in Austin Texas. He had recently spent nearly a year in the International Space Station (ISS), a record for a US astronaut, and was on a lecture-tour about it. He is known for his prolific tweets and great photos from his year on the ISS, many on climate change. One of the messages he wants to share with the public is that the atmosphere is “as thin as a contact lens on the planet…and needs to be protected”. He said he had seen the increasing effects of pollution and climate change over his 17 years of experience in space, and it was bad. He urged us to protect the planet in general and the atmosphere especially. “If we can build a space station, if we can get to the moon, then we can find solutions to Earth’s environmental problems”. “It needs international collaboration, like the International Space Station”.In this context, he was very interested to hear about CCS and IEAGHG.
Previously I had the honour of meeting another astronaut, the late Piers Sellers at COP-20 in Lima in 2014. He made his vocation in his career to work for NASA on their climate programmes, and communicated their work powerfully to UNFCCC attendees using the NASA ‘hyperwalls’ at COPs (see photo). “The stuff we breathe, there’s not much of it. It’s a very thin atmosphere. We better pay attention”.
Astronauts make good communicators on climate change.
News came out on 9 February that the US Budget Bill passed by congress and signed by the President into law included “FUTURE Act”. This act contains an extension to the US tax credit for CCS and CCUS, known as 45Q.
The existing version of 45Q provided a tax credit of $10 per tonne of CO2 for anthropogenic CO2 going to enhanced oil recovery, and $20 per tonne if going to straight storage. This was very useful and assisted with the economics of CCUS and CCS projects, however the total national volume was capped and this cap was potentially being reached. The new Bill removes the cap and increases the value of the tax credit, with it rising to $30 and $50 per tonne respectively. There are several conditions, including that it is for new plant that commences construction before 2024, there is a 12 year time limit on the tax credits, and the CO2 is sent to “secure” storage, which will have to be demonstrated by appropriate regulation and monitoring strategies.
The Bill, which also contains support for nuclear power (45J), was supported across the political spectrum by both Republicans and Democrats.
It is hoped that this will stimulate the business case for more CCS and CCUS projects in the USA, including potentially a revisit of Kemper project’s economics.
The 45Q Bill amendment can be seen at: https://www.heitkamp.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/a2af9a24-ada4-4df4-a08d-12c2708e7c19/heitkamp.whitehouse-45q-ccus-act-final.pdf
There has been much commentary on this good news, some can be seen at :
The University of Texas held their biennial conference on CCUS, UTCCS-4 on the 30-31 January. This conference combines the Texas Carbon Management Program’s amine-based capture research, the Gulf Coast Carbon Center’s applied research in storage, and the Center for Frontiers of Subsurface Energy Security program’s more fundamental research in storage.
The Gulf Coast Carbon Center (GCCC) at the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) at the University of Texas has been running as an industry sponsored programme since 1998. Of particular note here was the reflection and summary on the last four years of work and results. Their programme has covered storage capacity and behaviour, fluid chemistry from deep reservoir to near-surface, unconventional EOR, monitoring methods, offshore storage, and knowledge sharing. The monitoring area’s objectives have included streamlining monitoring design for large-scale projects, testing this in commercial-scale projects (for example they monitor the CO2 injection and storage for the Port Arthur Project and Petra Nova project), extracting lessons from such large-scale projects for application to other large-scale projects, cost optimization and inputting to evolving regulatory and certification frameworks.
They have many examples of achieving their objectives, including successful monitoring tool development and commercialisation, for example with pressure-based monitoring in the above-zone interval and process-based monitoring at the near-surface. In terms of monitoring methodologies, GCCC have successfully developed and applied the ALPMI and attribution approaches (ALPMI is assessment of low probability material impacts). They have also developed a widely-applicable methodology for determining the carbon footprint of CO2-EOR, which on their case studies shows net carbon negative oil can be produced at earlier stages of a project. .
In terms of offshore CCS, the offshore storage assessments undertaken over many years by GCCC/BEG were impressive and provide very beneficial knowledge feeding into their CarbonSAFE project and their new GoMCARB project which further the assessments of storage and sources and potential project options in the Gulf of Mexico. They have just published the first CO2 storage atlas for the offshore Texas ( see http://www.beg.utexas.edu/node/4059 ). Their experiences in offshore monitoring at Japan’s Tomakomai project using high resolution seismic and environmental techniques were described, and their planned involvement with the UK’s ACORN project announced. The GCCC has also initiated the international Offshore CCS workshop series, with CSLF and IEAGHG.
Also impressive was the knowledge sharing of all of the above by GCCC in the last four years, with 117 publications and 207 presentations. They have also hosted 19 meetings and workshops, including the GHGT-12 conference and the IEAGHG Summer School in 2014 (with the other UT teams above). New collaborations with China, Mexico and monitoring work in the Surat Basin in Australia were announced.
Plenary talks at UTCCS-4 were provided by Howard Hertzog of MIT on the issues with CCU and negative emission technologies, and by myself on the impacts of knowledge sharing by GCCC (and IEAGHG) in the global CCS scene.
So a very impressive review of achievements by the three teams at the University of Texas, in collaboration with their industry partners and US DOE.
For more information on these programmes see http://rochelle.che.utexas.edu/ , http://www.beg.utexas.edu/gccc/ , and http://www.utcfses.org/ .
The origin of the word 'sandwich' for an item of food may have originated from a story about John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. It is said that in approximately1762, he asked for meat to be served between slices of bread to avoid interrupting a gambling game. This story may have been rumour but soon people are reputed to have started ordering “the same as Sandwich”, and the name stuck!
From that day the great British sandwich went on to establish itself as a “culinary masterpiece” that is enjoyed around the world.
Whilst enjoying a “sandwich” myself for lunch, I was surprised to read an article in the Guardian newspaper that suggested scientists had been studying the greenhouse gas emissions arising from different sandwich types. Surely a joke, but no, scientists from the University of Manchester have published their research in the peer reviewed journal of Sustainable Production and Consumption. For those that sill doubt me follow this link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352550917300635?via%3Dihub
It seems the scientists considered 40 different sandwich recipes focusing on the most popular consumer choices in the UK. The estimated impact from ready-made sandwiches ranges from 739 g CO2 eq. for egg & cress to 1441 g CO2 eq. for the bacon, sausage & egg option. The carbon footprint of the breakfast option it seems is equivalent to driving a car for 12miles (19km) – wow!!
In contrast, the carbon footprint of the most popular homemade sandwich (ham & cheese) varies from 399–843 g CO2 eq. per sandwich, depending on the recipe. The average carbon footprint of the homemade sandwiches is half that of the ready-made equivalent with the same ingredients. Only the equivalent of driving a car 4 to 7 miles!!
The greatest contributor to the carbon footprint of both types of sandwich is the agricultural production of ingredients; for ready-made sandwiches but the preparation and retail, stages are also significant.
The good news is, if you like read-ymade sandwiches, their carbon footprint can be reduced by 50% by changing the way some ingredients are grown, recipe changes, reduction of food waste, alternative packaging and different waste management options.
So what can you understand from this research well my big takeaway message is:
“Get up earlier, make your own sandwiches from healthy options, eat the lot and don’t wrap them in packaging you will throw away after if you care about climate change”
The Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) meetings in Abu Dhabi, UAE, were held from 4-6 December and concluded with the 7th CSLF Ministerial Meeting. The CSLF is a government-to-government agreement on developing CCS, it started in 2003 and now has 25 member countries and the European Commission, and consists of a Technical Group, a Policy Group, and Ministerial meetings.
The Ministers and other heads-of-delegation agreed a Ministerial Communique “Advancing the Business Case for CCUS”. This agreed key actions to progress CCS as follows:
- Ensure CCUS is supported as part of a suite of clean energy technologies in clean energy policies
- Leverage the success of operational projects while emphasizing the urgency of developing new projects, noting the opportunities on industrial processes
- Development of regional strategies to strengthen the business case, including for governments to support infrastructure onshore and offshore.
- To explore new utilisation concepts beyond CO2-EOR.
- Collaborative R&D on next generation CCUS technologies for power and industry, including under Mission Innovation.
- Expand stakeholder engagement and strengthen links with other global clean energy efforts, including Mission Innovation, Clean Energy Ministerial, IEA, and the IEAGHG.
- Increase global shared learnings and disseminating best practices from CCUS projects and strengthen coordination on R&D globally, including for offshore.
- Continue to engage the public on CCUS.
As well as updates on CCUS developments for the region and globally, the Ministerial Meeting included a session on CCUS infrastructure, where John Gale presented IEAGHG work on the business models for CCUS hubs and clusters.
The CSLF Policy Group endorsed one new project as recommended by the Technical Group: the CO2CRC Otway Stage 3. Japan, on behalf of the Regulatory Task Force, presented the report and conclusions on “Practical Regulations and Permitting” based upon learnings from seven project case-studies (Japan led this Task Force and IEAGHG was one of the supporting co-authors).
The CSLF Technical Group presented an updated “2017 Technology Roadmap”. This report provides a good review of technology progress and needs (it will be summarised by IEAGHG in an Information Paper). Norway, on behalf of the Offshore CO2-EOR Task Force, presented its report and conclusions on the potential for CO2-EOR offshore and how to progress it (IEAGHG will produce an Information Paper on it also). IEAGHG were co-authors to both these reports. Updates were given from other Task Forces: BioCCS; Improved Pore-space Utilisation; and Industrial CCS. The CSLF Technical Group agreed to start a new Task Force on hydrogen and CCS, and is considering a new task force on mineralisation. IEAGHG’s work will be relevant to both of these.
The International CCS Knowledge Centre presented a review of their recent Global CCS Symposium, which had focused on the good news and positive developments and learnings from operational projects. In contrast, there was an interesting presentation by the Netherlands on lessons from the ROAD project not proceeding.
IEAGHG presented an update on its activities and how its work has been used recently to inform UNFCCC at COP-23, the London Convention, and IPCC. IEAGHG also presented the outcomes of the 2nd Workshop on Offshore CO2 Storage (see IEAGHG report 2017-TR12 and earlier blog in July). This included the background of this work and how the results have been used to inform the London Convention and UNFCCC. The offshore idea was first presented to CSLF in 2013 by the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas. The CSLF created an Offshore Task Force led by the US DOE, which reported at the CSLF Ministerial in 2015. This report and the two workshops on offshore subsequently hosted by the University of Texas, have stimulated new sharings between countries and new countries to be interested in CCS and for these to also use UNFCCC Technology Mechanism funds for the first time. The US DOE has now very recently announced two new projects to develop offshore CCS in the Gulf of Mexico. So overall a success story for CSLF Technical Group work being used and creating positive impacts. This good news story was included by the chair of the Technical Group in her message to the CSLF Policy Group and to the CSLF Ministerial.
IEAGHG participates directly in the CSLF through an Agreement with the CSLF Technical Group, and frequently contributes in its Task Forces.
This was a very well attended CSLF Ministerial, chaired by the new US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, with Ministers from the hosts UAE and Saudi Arabia, plus several Deputy-Ministers and senior civil servants. Compliments to the hosts, the Ministry of Energy of the United Arab Emirates for a very impressive set of CSLF meetings. Details of the Communique, the final CSLF reports, and other meeting documents can be found at https://www.cslforum.org/cslf/Events/7thMinisterialAbuDhabi
There will be much analysis into the details coming out of COP-23, but my short summary is as follows.
Progress was made in general in the details of the ‘rulebook’ for the Paris Agreement, but there is a lot of work still to do. As a result it is suggested there may need to be an extra UNFCCC Parties meeting before COP-24 in order to be ready at COP-24. A Decision text was produced as the high-level agreements out of COP-23, called “Fiji Momentum for Implementation”. Of note is that, as well as encouraging urgency in developing the Paris ‘rulebook’ for post 2020 implementation, it puts an emphasis on undertaking and reporting pre-2020 ambitions and funding, by implication by developed countries. In the same context, this Decision urges countries to complete ratification of the “Doha amendment” which was an extension of the Kyoto Protocol from 2013 to 2020 (ie filling in the gap before the Paris Agreement starts). This Decision sets up the facilitated dialogue, now known as the “Talanoa dialogue” to be undertaken during 2018 to undertake a stocktake of pledges and progress to date to be reported at COP-24.
What is lacking from this Decision is any mention of oceans. From a scientific perspective this is disappointing given the importance and interdependence of oceans and atmosphere in climate change and impacts on oceans of CO2, and given the theme of the COP by Fiji on oceans, resulting in a great number of side-events and initiatives on oceans (including our UNFCCC Side-event). Well at least the relevant ocean science got good exposure in the COP, and hopefully this will continue.
Also of note from COP-23 was the “Powering Past Coal Alliance”. This was an agreement outside the formal UNFCCC processes by some 19 countries and several US states and Canadian provinces to phase out “traditional” coal power by 2030 in OECD/EU and by 2050 in the rest of the world. By traditional, they mean unabated. Specifically they call for no new build or funding for such unless built with operational CCS. These countries included UK, Canada, France and the Netherlands, but not heavy coal users such as USA, Germany, Poland, Australia, China and India. As I mentioned in my previous blog, there were many side-events around encouraging the move away from coal power.
So a work-in-progress COP and we look forward to seeing more progress in the details in 2018, perhaps with an extra SBSTA meeting, and to countries not overlooking their pre-2020 ambitions as they look to their future pledges under the Paris Agreement. COP-24 will be in Katowice, Poland.
A review of COP-23 will be provided by IEAGHG webinar soon.
CEMCAP held its second ECRA/CEMCAP workshop in Dusseldorf, Germany, on the 7th November. CEMCAP is a collaborative project funded by the H2020 program which aims to increase the TRL of carbon capture systems applied to the cement industry and decrease the costs associated. Within the innovative concepts under development, we can find new construction and retrofitting of cement plants with post-combustion (chilled ammonia, membrane-based and calcium looping technologies) and oxyfuel systems. The approach of this consortium is not only experimental but also based on modelling to optimize the operation conditions and show transparent techno-economic information. In addition to full capture, partial capture is considered as an alternative configuration, which could be beneficial at specific conditions.
This event was a great opportunity to see updates on advanced carbon capture technologies applied to the cement industry. As shown by Norcem Brevik, where 4 different technologies are being tested (RTI absorbent, NTNU/Air Products membrane, Aker Solutions amine and Alstom Power calcium looping), CCS is technically feasible but must be economically supported.
Within the CEMCAP overview, TNO opened interesting discussions regarding CO2 utilization to increase the revenue. Although at lower rate than the use of CO2 for EOR or the invested CO2 in storage, this option was shown as an available alternative to keep in mind. Contrary to the basis scenario, TNO presented the possibility to reuse part of the CO2, in combination with storage and/or reuse part of the CO2 stored.
In addition, the LEILAC project gave a presentation about their Direct Separation technology, which will be tested at the Heidelberg Cement plant in Belgium. The pilot plant is expected to start operations late next year after reaching the final investment decision (FID) in August. Moreover, following the contribution on the calcium looping system, Politecnico de Milano also presented their recently started H2020 project CLEANKER.
As conclusion from this workshop, we saw great interest from academia and industry (developers, suppliers and cement producers) on CCS applied on cement production. It is essential to reduce CO2 emissions in the industry context to reach the decarbonized scenarios and cement is one of the main emitter industries. In this line, we can see several projects running and including several technologies, which exhibits the international interest on cutting emissions in the cement sector. While few systems are at an advanced TRL, others need to be tested but exhibit a great integration potential.
IEAGHG has, in the past, studied CCS technologies applied to the cement sector (as included in http://ieaghg.org/docs/General_Docs/Reports/2013-19.pdf) and we will soon deliver an updated techno-economic review, carried out together with our colleagues at the IEA.
More information about the projects presented in this workshop can be found below:
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.
Dr Katherine Romanak presented on the learnings from US DOE projects in developing monitoring for CO2 storage, now taking it from onshore to offshore. “We know CCS works, and we know how to show it works”.
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.