IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme


CTCN Makes Significant Progress

67 JG imageThe Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) set up in 2003 is the implementing arm of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Technology Mechanism. The CTCN, promotes the accelerated development and transfer of climate technologies for energy-efficient, low-carbon and climate-resilient development. On November 4th 2016 the CTCN published its 23year progress report, ahead of COP22. The report can be found at:
CTCN works as follows: Countries, working through national representatives, convey their technology requests. The CTCN then mobilizes relevant technology experts from a global network of 230 technology institutions to design and deliver a customized solution. 

Between January 2014 & August 2015 the CTCN received 44 requests for Technical Assistance between September 2015 & August 2016 the number of request jumped to 96. These requests were submitted for assistance as follows: 31% Adaptation, 40% Mitigation & 29% Adaptation & Mitigation. Mitigation related requests were predominately for renewable energy (36%) and energy efficiency projects (34%). Of the requests 66% were national in nature and & 75% were considered eligible for support. Requests were broken down as follows: 15% Policy, planning & law, 11% Project readiness & facilitating financing, 5% Research & development, 24% Tech identification & selection, 16% Training, awareness raising & sharing experience 29% Tech feasibility, piloting & selection.

Going forward if COP22 and future COPs are successful in getting countries to commit strong mitigation actions, the CTCN will able to support the countries actions.


COP22 Starts

67 JG imageComing straight on the heels of the ratification of the Paris Agreement COP22 in Marrakech starts today. the COP22 will focus on action items in order to achieve the priorities of The Paris Agreement, especially related to adaptation, transparency, technology transfer, mitigation, capacity building and loss and damages.

At yesterday’s opening ceremony, Salaheddine Mezouar, President of COP22 declared that COP22 will be one of action. We thoroughly hope so.

The focus going forward starting at COP22 is to encourage countries to commit to a low-carbon economy.
Nizar Baraka, President of the COP22 Scientific Committee, “we must encourage our respective countries to commit in a strong way to sectors related to the green economy in order to take advantage of associated growth and job opportunities.” This means preserving the sustainability of our development models and improving the access to, conditions of use and development of green technologies.


New IEAGHG Report: 2016-13 Fault Permeability

James-Craig cropFault zones are widely recognised as being important to the secure long term storage of CO2 as they could provide a leakage pathway out of the target reservoir. Fault characterisation within reservoirs, especially where they extend into caprock, and other overlying formations, needs to be thoroughly understood as part of any risk assessment for CO2 storage. The aim of this study is to review what is known about the permeability of fault zones in order to highlight under what circumstances faults may impact overall storage integrity.

The behaviour of fault zones in relation to sub-surface fluid migration is important to many industries and consequently has been comprehensively documented in the literature. CO2 operations involve the injection and pressurization of reservoirs usually resulting in changes to the state of in-situ stresses which may modify fault properties. Instability could lead to slippage along pre-existing faults or fracture systems, which may be associated with seismicity. In addition, the movement of faults, and the generation of factures within the damage zone adjacent to the core, may create conduits that lead to the leakage of fluids to the surrounding overburden or even to the surface.

In 2015 IEAGHG published a study reviewing the geomechanical stability of faults during pressure build up which provided a helpful background to the behaviour of faults in stress regimes relevant to CO2 storage. This study is designed to build upon the previous work and provide a significantly broader review of the current state of fault zone permeability and also to investigate what mitigation options may be available to CO2 storage operations if leakage was to occur.

Key Messages

  • CCS requires the secure retention of CO2 in geological formations over 1000’s of years.  To achieve this, characterisation of target injection formations, and their structural features including faults, is essential to ensure leakage does not occur.

  • Faults can either act as barriers to fluids, or as conduits for migration.  Consequently, the properties of faults that dissect or form a boundary with potential CO2 reservoirs, need to be determined.

  • The significance of faults has long been recognised in the petroleum, mining and geothermal industries, but CO2 storage is less mature and more experience and research related to faults would be beneficial.
  • The objective of this study was to review recent research on the permeability (a measure of the ability of rocks to transmit fluids) of faults in CO2 storage, particularly how different geological processes can either cause faults to help retain fluids within a reservoir, or lead to migration along or across faults.  It builds upon an earlier study which looked at the role of geomechanical stress on faults.
  • There is widespread experience of working with faults and fractures and provided there is sufficient characterisation of their properties they should not restrict storage development.
  • If fault zones are present they need to be carefully characterised to ensure the development of an effective containment assessment and to inform the development of operational constraints and monitoring plans.
  • A number of mitigation measures have been proposed to counter potential leakage.  These include hydraulic barriers, biofilms and reactive cement grout.  Changing subsurface pressure has been seen to be effective: there is strong evidence of the reduction in flow of a natural hydrocarbon seep caused by depletion of an offshore oil reservoir hydraulically linked to the seeps.


Regional Assessments of the Economic Barriers to CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery in the North Sea, Russia and GCC States

James-Craig cropThe use of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is a well established commercial practice in the United States where it has been used for over 40 years. There is widespread potential for CO2-EOR in other mature petroleum producing regions. If CO2-EOR could be implemented it would offer an economic stimulus to develop CO2 storage. There are, however, a number of barriers, not least the installation of infrastructure and modifications that would be necessary to supply CO2 and inject it into target reservoirs. This study has looked at the challenges faced by the prospect of CO2-EOR in three regions: the North Sea; Russia; and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states which is a regional political organisation comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. In addition to the technical challenges the study included two hypothetical examples, one based on the North Sea and the other in a GCC state, to explore what economic conditions would be necessary for CO2-EOR to be implemented. The most significant factor that influences of CO2-EOR uptake is the prevailing price of oil. The injection rate, capital expenditure (CAPEX), operational costs (OPEX) and tax incentives are of secondary importance. Despite the challenges posed by this form of EOR there is growing interest in its use in Saudi Arabia where and Saudi Aramco launched the Uthmaniyah CO2 EOR demonstration project in July 2015. There are also plans for CO2-EOR in China for a potential project offshore Guangdong Province.

Key Messages:

  • Approximately 95% of all CO2 EOR activity takes place in the U.S., and in 2010, CO2 EOR projects were producing approximately 300,000 barrels of oil per day, close to 4% of total U.S. oil production.  To achieve this quantity of oil, approximately 60Mt of CO2, is injected annually into oil fields.
  • Investment in CO2 EOR is highly constrained by the volatility of the price of oil.  For EOR projects to remain profitable over their operational life the cost of supplied CO2 supplied needs to fluctuate.
  • Offshore production relies on fewer deviated wells with less spatial coverage of producing areas which is less advantageous for CO2 EOR compared with onshore 5 or 9 spot closely-spaced injection and production well configurations commonly used in North America.  This configuration provides a higher density and control for EOR operations.
  • Experience with CO2 EOR shows that the projected incremental recovery ranges from 7% to 23% of Original Oil in Place (OOIP).  Estimates for CO2 EOR recovery rates for the North Sea range from 4 – 18%.
  • Based on previous estimates of suitable fields, and a 3 barrel/tonne of CO2 recovery rate, the estimated incremental oil potential for the Norwegian sector could be 3,535 M barrels that would require 1,180 M tonnes of CO2.  In the UK sector an additional 2,520 M barrels could be recovered with 840 M tonnes of CO2.
  • The main factors that currently inhibit investment in offshore CO2 EOR are the upfront investment costs, loss of oil production during work-overs and lack of significant CO2 volumes.


New IEAGHG report: Evaluation of process control strategies for normal, flexible and upset operation conditions of CO2 post combustion capture processes

Jasmin cropIt is important for power plants to be able to operate flexibly to respond to changes in consumer demand for electricity. Flexibility is also becoming increasingly important due to the greater use of other low carbon generation technologies, particularly variable renewable generators. The issue of operating flexibility of power plants with carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been the subject of a previous technical study by IEAGHG (“Operating flexibility of power plants with CCS, IEAGHG report 2012/6, June 2012”, see here: The new report contributes to the knowledge base on flexible operation of power plants with CO2 capture by focusing on process control issues.

A team from Imperial College London and Process Systems Enterprise has undertaken this work for IEAGHG.
The study focuses on performing an evaluation of process control strategies for normal, flexible and upset operation conditions of CO2 post-combustion capture (PCC) processes based on solvent scrubbing. PCC is currently the leading near-term technology for large-scale deployment of CO2 capture in the power generation sector. The aim of this study was to develop process control strategies PCC, to select appropriate control variables, and to design efficient control structures for operation with minimum energy requirements and costs for both pulverised coal (PCPP) and combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plants.

The key messages from the report are:

  • Electricity market models suggest power plants with CCS will need to adopt flexible operation in the future. Appropriate control strategies will be necessary to ensure their ability to operate in such a market and their profitability.
  • An evaluation of process control strategies for normal, flexible and upset conditions of PCC processes (considered the leading technology for deployment in the power sector) based on amine scrubbing has been undertaken.
  • This work used a high-fidelity modelling tool that can describe the dynamic operation of the CCS chain to investigate 3 different process control strategies for both PCPP and CCGT, each with PCC.
  • The power plant modelling showed the performance of the CO2 capture unit can be maintained even during periods of significant load fluctuation, using industry standard control techniques, thus avoiding other more expensive solutions.
  • Manipulating the solvent flow rate generally provided better control of the CO2 capture rate than varying the solvent lean loading, as it results in less oscillation, i.e. more constant hydraulic conditions in the CO2 capture plant.
  • For the PCPP, a control strategy that manipulates the CO2 capture rate by varying the solvent flowrate is the more profitable option. For the CCGT, all strategies provided the same benefit, due to the dilute nature of the CCGT flue gas.
  • The CO2 capture plant was able to continue operation for a limited amount of time, i.e. 3.5-5 hours, in case of hazardous events, such as injection shutdown or loss of compression.
  • In conclusion, this study has shown that simple and well-tuned control strategies can maintain critical operational parameters of a CO2 capture plant.


Visit to Tomakomai Project

67 TDcroppedDuring the CSLF week of meetings in Tokyo, the Japanese hosts RITE and JCCS Company arranged for a day visit to the Tomakomai project on the northern island of Hokkaido. This project is capturing CO2 from a gas stream from the hydrogen production unit at the Tomakomai refinery using a unique two-stage pressure swing absorption system, and injection of the CO2 into one of the two deep saline formations selected started in April 2016. The intention is to capture and inject 100kt CO2 per year. The two injection wells are onshore, and deviate to inject offshore, with well lengths of 3.6km and 5.8km. There is an intensive monitoring strategy, with observation wells, ocean bottom seismometers, an ocean bottom cable for natural seismicity and microseismicity measurements, and environmental monitoring at the seabed and water column (much of which has been shared at IEAGHG Network meetings – with good international cross-fertilisation of ideas). This is all done in a busy offshore environment, with an offshore oil terminal for the refinery close by to the injection site. Injection will continue to 2018 and monitoring for a further two years. There is a good public engagement campaign which involves the local fishing industry and also monitoring data being shared in real-time at the City Hall.


We look forward to learning a lot from this project, particularly in terms of the detailed monitoring and regulatory aspects. We are very pleased that METI will be giving a talk on the Tomakomai project as one of the technical plenary talks in GHGT-13, and Japan CCS Company will be showing more about Tomakomai in their booth at GHGT-13.


Congratulations to JCCS Co Ltd, and METI, RITE and other partner organisations in achieving successful construction and commencing operation of this demonstration project, and thank you for the visit.


Climate Scientists say 1.5C is inevitable.

67 JG imageIn a recently published paper called “The Truth about Climate Change”, a group of climate scientists tell us that,

“By 2015, the global temperature had risen by 1°C above pre-industrial levels, that it is certain to rise another half a degree by 2030 and will continue to rise to 2°C by 2050 unless drastic action is taken to reduce emissions”

The scientists inform us to have any hope of solving the problem, the world needs to reach net zero emissions by 2060 to 2075. Switching to renewables and planting more forests are important components of how to do this, it cannot be achieved by these methods alone, only by deploying carbon capture and storage do they feel can zero emissions be achieved in time.


Paris Agreement Enters into Force.

67 JG imageThe Paris Agreement has now entered into force. To date 74 countries have joined the agreement, 55 were needed. These countries represent 58.83% of global greenhouse emissions, breaking the required 55% threshold.

That was the easy bit, now the hard work starts, there a big hill to climb to get to below 2 degree C temperature rise.


Keeping up Momentum on HFC reduction.

67 JG imageThe Montreal Protocol is expected in October 2016 to agree an amendment to phase down HFC emissions. Ahead of that decision the US Government has this week hosted a meeting with over 100 delegates who called for securing an ambitious amendment with an “early freeze date”. The freeze date is the year when countries stop increasing the production and consumption of HFCs and begin the process of phasing them down, and it is therefore critical to achieving the emissions reductions associated with any amendment. Securing the amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs could avoid up to 0.5°C of warming by the end of the century, making a major contribution to the Paris Agreement goal to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C.

In addition with the call for an ambitious amendment, a group of donor countries and philanthropists announced their intent to provide $80 million in assistance to countries to implement any amendment and improve energy efficiency.

The amendment to the Montreal Protocol is expected to be agreed at the 28th Meeting of the Parties to be held in Kigali , Rwanda , between the 10th - 14th Oct 2016


Ratification of Paris Agreement moves closer.

67 JG imageAccording to the UNFCCC as of today (23rd September 2016) 62 countries representing 49.3% of global CO2 emissions have now ratified the Paris Agreement. To enter into force the agreement needs 50 countries representing 55% of global emissions to sign. So milestone one has been passed and milestone 2 is close to being achieved.

At a single event hosted by the UN on 21st September 2016 31 countries signed up in one day. The UN says that 14 more countries have indicated they will sign before the end of 2016 which will take the deal past the second milestone.


China and USA Ratify Paris Agreement

67 JG imageAt the G20 meeting in Japan China and the USA have both announced their intention to ratify the Paris Agreement. This means that he two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases have committed themselves to the principle of moving to a temperature target of below 2 degrees centigrade.

Both countries have now formally lodged their instruments of ratification with the UNFCCC. In total now 26 countries have ratified the agreement which represent 39% of global greenhouse gas emissions. For the Paris Agreement to come into legal force at least 55 countries representing 55% of emissions need to ratify.

Given the USA did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol this is a great step forward towards a global agreement on greenhouse gas mitigation.

The third largest emitter is the European Union (13% of emissions) which needs agree with all member states to ratify the agreement. Of the individual EU countries so far only France and Hungary have complete their domestic ratification processes that will allow the EU ratification process to go ahead.


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