IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme


Risk Management Network and Environment Research Network Combined Meeting

James-Craig cropA Research Management Network and Environmental Research Network Combined meeting was held at the UK’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC), in Southampton. The meeting was attended by 62 delegates from 11 countries. The three day meeting included themes on risk assessment methodologies, risk communication and mitigation strategies as well as environmental research. There was an emphasis on potential impacts of CO2 in marine environments, natural variability and the unscheduled release of CO2 from pipelines. Coverage also included formation fluid release, overburden features, international initiatives and environmental impact assessments notably the Peterhead – Goldeneye project.

039During the meeting representatives from National Grid explained the background to their Endurance project which will be Europe’s first CO2 superstore. A large deep saline aquifer off the east coast of England has been identified as a potential storage location for multiple carbon emission point sources in the Yorkshire-Humberside region. The company is also engaged in a series of R&D projects under the COOLTRANS programme to assess the risks of CO2 pipeline transport which will lead to best practice, safe and long-term conditions for CO2 transportation.

The environmental research topics highlighted by the meeting focused on the environmental changes caused by CO2. In shelf seas with a high tidal flux, like the North Sea, there is rapid dispersion so the impact of CO2 anomalies are likely to be limited. There are also wide natural variations which need to be distinguished from any artificially induced changes. The importance of overburden characterisation above caprock and storage complexes with multiple seals has been recognised. For example, chimney structures in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea are evidence of natural fluid flows through the overburden succession. These features need to be investigated to distinguish the origin of naturally occurring seeps and any other anomalies.

The meeting concluded that the risk assessment for CO2 geological storage is maturing. If leaks do occur they are likely to have low environmental impacts. Wellbore issues are still the predominate risk. There are established technology solutions but more work to test and apply them was suggested. The meeting has clearly shown that great developments in understanding environmental aspects in the marine environment are taking place. Mobile sensor technology is also improving especially with the advent of long-range AUVs. The meeting concluded on a successful note and clearly highlighted the advances in research on marine impacts around the world.

047After the meeting some of the delegates visited two key sites on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. The guided tour’s first destination was the Bridport Sands. This formation is an important reservoir rock for the Wytch Farm Oilfield further to the east near Bournemouth. The formation includes calcified bands and vertical fractures. These features are important to understand because they influence fluid movement and help to explain the challenge of monitoring CO2 injected into similar reservoirs. Delegates also visited Lulworth Cove where there is a succession from the Portland Limestone of the Upper Jurassic through the Purbeck Beds into the Cretaceous Wealden, Gault Clay, Greensands and finally Chalk. The location also displays evidence of significant folding caused during the Alpine Orogeny known locally as the Lulworth Crumple. These two locations, and other exposures along this World Heritage coast, enable geoscientists to gain a broader insight into subsurface complexities which are inferred from geophysics and wellbore sequences. The identification of secure, long-term storage reservoirs for CO2 ultimately depends on understanding such geological complexities.


Project news at Risk and Environment Meeting – Endurance

67 TDcroppedAs well as the technical programme and discussions in the Risk Management Network and Environmental Research Network meeting, there were also announcements on projects.

The week before there had been headline-grabbing news about one of the UK’s two CCS projects in the UK DECC Competition, that Drax were not proceeding in the White Rose project. The media took this that the project would not be able to proceed. However this was clarified by participants from National Grid at the meeting, who said that in fact the Capture Power Ltd (which includes Drax, Alstom, and BOC) and National Grid remained committed to delivery of the CCS project, and that Drax was only one of the investors. Drax itself remains committed to supporting the project up to the final investment decision (FID) and will continue to make the site and infrastructure available to the project afterwards. There was further news that National Grid’s storage site in the North Sea had now been named as “Endurance”, with the objective of being “Europe’s first CO2 Superstore”. We look forward to hearing more about Endurance!


Risk and Environment Meeting Concludes

67 TDcroppedThe three days of presentations and discussion in the Risk Management Network and Environmental Research Network meeting have concluded. The meeting had an offshore theme, and was hosted by the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. The sixty attendees discussed over 38 presentations on the latest work on topics including risk assessment methodologies, mitigation strategies, projects’ risk management, impacts of CO2 in the ocean, natural variability in environments, pipeline environmental impacts, formation fluid release, overburden features, international initiatives, and environmental impact assessments.

RA 1Of particular note was a session on formation fluid release into the marine environment, and the development of sensors for marine monitoring. Attendees were given tours of the AUV workshops (autonomous underwater vehicles). One of these is being kitted-out for CCS monitoring research. Great advances in offshore monitoring are being developed and applied.

The meeting concluded that the risk assessment for CO2 geological storage is maturing, recognising that with leaks from storage, if they occur, are likely to have low environmental impacts. Wellbore issues are still the predominate risk, an area of known technology solutions but more work to test and apply these was suggested. There are great developments in understanding environmental aspects in the marine environment. A sense of perspective was seen also, in comparison of potential impacts with those from other activities. Further work looking at formation fluid releases was encouraged, and field tests of new sensors eagerly anticipated.

Overall it was good to see the progress in all areas, and to facilitate discussions and developments of new collaborations.


CO₂MultiStore: Optimising CO₂ storage around the UK - London launch

James-Craig cropThe CO2MultiStore project is a research endeavour sponsored by the Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage Centre, the Scottish Government, the Crown Estate, Shell, Scottish Enterprise and Vattenfall. The distinguished former Shell director and crossbencher, Lord Oxburgh, chaired a meeting in the House of Lords to launch the publication of two complementary studies1,2. Lord Oxburgh opened the meeting by stressing the necessity for CCS and the drive to facilitate offshore, shelf areas for CO2 storage. With multiple industry co-ordination storage assets could be opened up over a wide area, but collaboration between industry, government and regulators will be essential. A planning and co-ordination role, currently under the remit of Crown Estate, needs to be extended across all offshore responsibilities.

Maxine Akhurst, from the British Geological Survey, outlined the two key objectives of the project: the secure containment of CO2 in two or more sites within a single formation; and to determine how multiple sites can operate using a practical and feasible approach that combines academic research and industry expertise. The study area focussed on the Captain Sandstone a formation that extends across a wide area beneath the outer Moray Firth. This formation occurs at a depth of 2,400m in the area of interest. Two different models, the Scottish Study Captain Model and the Shell Captain Fairway Model, were applied, one to each injection site. The re-use of existing industry derived data, including production metrics, were used to validate the models. The change in the pressure regime induced by simultaneous injection was then predicted from these models over a 30 year period. Evidence from this study clearly shows that both sites can be operated without adverse effects on the other location. Pressure monitoring in the storage formation, and in overlying formations, is essential to provide the key data to manage increases during injection. Additional monitoring by other storage sites may be required to ensure that they do not adversely affect existing storage or hydrocarbon extraction operations. It is clear from this work that oil industry data, and expertise, increases certainty and confidence in assessments.

The predicted outcome of injection at both sites was presented by Chris McDermott, from the University of Edinburgh. The modelled scenario assumed injection began five years after initial injection at the other site. Both sites injected 6 M tonnes for 30 years. A dynamic model was used to check how the pressure increase disseminating from each site. The model also showed how formations above, in the overburden, and below reacted to the pressure change. The impact of thermal stress, pressure stress induced by an increase in fluid pressure, and physical stress changed as CO2 was injected. This study has provided a formative background showing that 360 M tonnes could be stored across an area equivalent to one sixth of the Captain Sandstone formation.
Stuart Haszeldine, from the University of Edinburgh, summarised the main conclusions that can be drawn from the study. The amount of CO2 that can be securely stored, and the associated risks, have been identified. The study has shown that commercial storage can be de-risked and a lease application could be prepared and submitted to Crown Estate. Hydrocarbon industry experience, knowledge and software can be adapted to any UK site. Stuart also concluded that following this study potential CO2 storage sites can be characterised and prepared for storage within six years.

1Optimising CO2 storage in geological formations ; a case study offshore Scotland, CO2MultiStore project September 2015.

2Assessing interactions between multiple geological CO2 storage sites: generic learning from the CO2MultiStore project, 15th September 2015, WP SCCS 2015-03


Early Autumn Highlights

67 JG imageSeptember has so far been a great month for IEAGHG. On the 1st of the month we were pleased to announce the launch of the IJGGC Special Issue commemorating 10 years since the IPCC SRCCS was launched.

On the 8th and 9th we held our third Post Combustion Capture Conference in Regina Canada with our co-hosts SaskPower. We had 185 registrants for the 2 day event with 65 technical papers presented and 30 posters. We also had three excellent plenary speakers; John Litynski from the USDOE, Terfumi Kawasaki from JCOAL and a update on TCM from Roy Vardeim the new managing Director of that facility.

On the 10th we attended the 2015 SaskPower seminar, where I was honoured to give the plenary lecture. To follow that our joint report with SaskPower was released at the meeting and the highlights presented to the 200 attendees.

The 11th was a quiet day we took part in the Saskatchewan Grand CCS tour going to Boundary Dam 3 CCS Demonstration plant, where we were also given a virtual guided of the Shand PCC test facility. All that was followed by a visit to the Aquistore CO2 injection project.

In addition staff from IEAGHG attended the ISO meeting in Oslo, Norway thus assisting in developing international standards.
From here on it will get a bit quieter but not a bad way to kick off a month.


Post combustion capture experts flock to Regina

67 Sian-Twinning webWe are fortunate enough to be able to facilitate the gathering of the world’s experts in post Combustion Capture (PCC) through our PCC conference series (PCCC) every two years and the last few days has seen the latest instalment – PCCC3.

Having had Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM) present their results after one years’ operation at the previous conference, expectations were high when we announced a partnership with SaskPower to reveal their results and finding from building and operating the world’s first integrated carbon capture power plant.

We were humbled to have 190 delegates make the effort to travel to Regina, Canada to attend, present and knowledge share.

The first two days of the conference set the scene with highly technical presentations providing the background to the development of the technology now in use at Boundary Dam. It was a packed programme, with 3 parallel sessions allowing 77 presentations and a dedicated poster session with a further 33 posters. The final two sessions provided results from demonstration and pilot scale projects which led us very nicely to the handover from the IEAGHG PCCC3 conference to SaskPower for their CCS Symposium.

Expectation was high and SaskPower did not disappoint, presenting the business case for CCS at Boundary Dam in the morning, and results and learnings inn the afternoon. The presenters were grilled by the audience, all keen to learn as much as possible form SaskPower’s experience, with the questioning going on well into tea breaks and the evening dinner.

A special report was presented to the audience, commissioned by IEAGHG and funded by US DOE, the author; Carolyn Preston was given access to the Boundary Dam team and has produced the report outlining the journey from decision to operation.

SaskPower also used the Symposium to make a special announcement of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with BHP Billiton to share information.

All in all, a very busy, exciting three days and with 150 now off to tour Boundary Dam, what a way to round off such a successful event!


ISO learns about cement plant CO2 capture and eight-legged horses in Norway

67 TDcroppedThe ISO TC265 met in Oslo this week and had a break from the work of standards development to visit the capture test facility at Heidelberg’s Norcem Brevik cement plant. The cement industry is responsible for around 1.9GTof global CO2 emissions, so Europe’s first CO2 capture test facility in the cement industry is an important development, and is organized by Heidelberg Cement, Norcem and the European Cement Research Academy (ECRA) . Commencing in 2013, so far it has tested four capture technologies, based on amine, solid sorbet, membrane, and calcium looping. The latest of these to be tested is Aker’s amine capture and this was seen in-place by the ISO group. This option is capturing over 90% of the CO2 from the slip-streamed flue gas stream, producing 99.9% CO2 stream, with full utilization of the waste heat. This stage of testing of these four technologies ends next month, but more R&D and benchmark evaluations are being planned for this facility. The ISO attendees also found it interesting just to experience an operating cement plant up close, providing an education on cement production from a historic plant that achieves its 100 year anniversary next year and exports its cement products widely around the world. Heidelberg uses a range of options to reduce its CO2 emissions, CCS just being one. The others include the use of alternative fuels, including, RDF, bone meal and other wastes, such that these now make up around 60% of the plant’s fuel, displacing coal as a fuel. Seeing the capture test facility at such a historic plant provided an appreciation of the retrofitability of these capture technologies.

The ISO TC265 week-long meeting was provided with another break from standards development with a half-day seminar on CCS in Norway. The 20 years and 20 million tonnes of CO2 injected by Statoil and the CCS policies and R&D programmes were shared and celebrated. News included that the US DOE have recently announced funding for GE, Alstom and the University of Kentucky to test their capture technologies at Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM). Also interesting was the work by Aker Solutions on doing CO2 EOR offshore, with some novel ideas of placing components subsea. We also learned that Sleipner was named after an eight-legged horse in Norse mythology, apparently the best horse available for Odin to ride, so quite appropriate perhaps for that project.

This ISO TC265 meeting was attended by over 70 experts in CCS and standards from its 20 member countries and Liaison organisations such as IEAGHG. As this ISO world progresses with producing technical reports and standards development for all parts of the CCS chain (several draft standards now exist for transport, storage and terminology), IEAGHG contributes the results of its technical programme, and presented an update on recent and forthcoming activities. Of particular relevance to the work of TC265 is the Special Issue of the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control on the developments since the IPCC Special Report, which provides excellent summaries of the status of CCS technologies.


IEAGHG’s 6th High Temperature Solid Looping Cycles Network (HTSLCN) Meeting

Jasmin cropThe 6th High Temperature Solid Looping Cycles Network Meeting took place from 1st to 2nd of September 2015 and was jointly organised by IEAGHG and di Milano, in Italy. The 72 attendees from 19 countries enjoyed a two day programme with 45 presentations, a site visit to research facilities at Politecnico di Milano and “La Dolce Vita” during the conference dinner with a stunning view over Lake Como. Day 1 started withCarlos Abanades (INCAR-CSIS) who brought everyone up-to-date on the progress in calcium looping post-combustion technologies, before the agenda went on to provide the latest research and advances in calcium and chemical looping pilot plant testing, solid carrier fundamentals and process integration. On the second day, Tobias Mattisson’s (Chalmers University) provided delegates with review on the progress in chemical looping technologies, analogous to Carlos’ presentation on the day before. The following technical programme then got deeper into calcium and chemical looping processes again, including e.g. the utilisation of biomass as a fuel, techno-economics of a large-scale packed bed reactor for chemical looping, or the application of calcium looping in cement plants. The last two parallel sessions in the afternoon subsequently covered heat integration approaches, process modelling and sorption enhanced reforming technologies. The meeting closed with a discussion forum that summarised the main conclusions from the earlier presentations and the most burning issues for the future. 

The 7th HTSLCN Meeting will be in August 2017 at Swerea MEFOS in Luleå, Sweden and will showcase the demonstration plant that is currently underway in the EU project STEPWISE (sorption enhanced water gas shift technology platform for cost effective CO2 reduction in the iron and steel industry).

We would like to thank all attendees again for contributing to this excellent meeting and hope to see you in about two years’ time in Sweden.

The presentations of the meeting will be available soon for download in the members’ area of the HTSLCN and we will also produce a summary report about the meeting.

For any enquiries about the HTSLCN please contact Jasmin Kemper at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Updating the SRCCS

67 JG imageI am very pleased to announce that a Special Issue commemorating the 10th year anniversary of the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on CO2 Capture and Storage is now on line for all to view.  


Free promotional access of the Special Issue can be found at:


The Special issue has been over a year in preparation and contains an Editorial and 17 papers that chart the progress made in key areas of CCS in the last ten years. It was deliberately timed to come out in advance of COP21 to provide an update on technical developments on CCS to demonstrate that the technology has not stood still since the IPCC SRCCS was issued in 2005.

The take away message from the Special Issue is:

“We can be certain that the science and the technologies supporting CCS as a climate change mitigation tool have experienced a great advance in the last 10 years, consolidating and expanding the knowledge base to estimate more accurately the impacts, risks and cost associated with large CCS projects”

I would like to thank Elsevier for granting free promotional access to the papers in this SI until 31st December 2015 through the link above.

John Gale

Editor in Chief


New IEAGHG report 2015-5: Oxy-combustion turbine power plants

John-Davison cropIEAGHG undertakes studies on the performance and costs of plants incorporating various CO2 capture technologies. A technology which has been receiving increasing attention lately, including from some major industrial companies, is oxy-combustion turbine power cycles. These involve burning gaseous fuel in high purity oxygen to heat high pressure CO2 and/or H2O, which is then expanded in a turbine. Various oxy-combustion turbine cycles have been proposed, some of which are still academic concepts but others are the subject of industrial development activities.

IEAGHG has engaged Amec Foster Wheeler, in collaboration with Politecnico di Milano, to carry out a study to assess the performance and costs of various oxy-combustion turbine power cycles, in particular the supercritical oxy-combustion combined cycle (SCOC-CC), S-Graz cycles and cycles being developed by NET Power and Clean Energy Systems (CES).

The main highlights of the study are:

  • The predicted thermal efficiencies of the cycles assessed in this study range from 55% (LHV basis) for the NET Power cycle to around 49% for the other base case cycles. For comparison, a recent IEAGHG study predicted an efficiency of 52% for a natural gas combined cycle plant with post combustion capture using a proprietary solvent.

  • There was shown to be scope for improving the thermal efficiencies in future for example by making use of materials capable of withstanding higher temperatures. Proprietary improvements by process developers may also result in higher efficiencies.

  • The levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of base-load plants using natural gas at 8 €/GJ are estimated to be 84-95 €/MWh, including CO2 transport and storage costs. The lowest cost oxy-combustion plant (NET Power) has a slightly lower LCOE than a conventional gas turbine combined cycle with post combustion capture using a proprietary solvent.

  • The cost of CO2 emission avoidance of the various cycles compared to a reference conventional natural gas combined cycle plant is 68-106 €/t CO2 avoided.

  • The base case percentage capture of CO2 in this study was set at 90% but it was determined that it could be increased to 98% without increasing the cost per tonne of CO2 avoided, or essentially 100% if lower purity CO2 was acceptable.

  • The base case percentage capture of CO2 in this study was set at 90% but it was determined that it could be increased to 98% without increasing the cost per tonne of CO2 avoided, or essentially 100% if lower purity CO2 was acceptable.

  • The water formed by combustion is condensed in oxy-combustion turbine cycles which would mean that if air cooling was used, the power plants could be net producers of water, which could be an advantage in places where water is scarce, although air cooling would reduce the thermal efficiency.

  • Oxy-combustion cycles could have advantages at compact sites. The total area of an oxy-combustion combined cycle plant is estimated to be slightly less than that of a conventional combined cycle with post combustion capture. The ASU could be located off-site if required to further reduce the power plant area. In addition, regenerative oxy-combustion cycles are significantly more compact than combined cycles.

  • Oxy-combustion turbines could be combined with coal gasification. The predicted thermal efficiency of a coal gasification plant with a SCOC-CC is 34% (LHV basis), which is similar to that of more conventional CCS technologies (IGCC with pre-combustion capture and supercritical pulverised coal with post combustion amine scrubbing) but the estimated capital cost and cost of electricity of the oxy-combustion turbine plant are significantly higher.


US DOE Carbon Storage Meeting and IEAGHG Monitoring Network

67 TDcroppedThe US DOE’s annual Carbon Storage R&D Project Review Meeting was held in Pittsburgh this week. These meetings present all the current DOE funded research and development projects in CO2 storage, and are impressive gatherings of US research activity. The theme for this year was ‘Transforming technology through integration and collaboration’.

IEAGHG were invited by the US DOE to present in plenary the highlights of our recent Monitoring Network Meeting hosted by Lawrence Berkeley in June. As well as fitting well with the theme of collaboration, this also linked nicely on from high-level messages given by the Director of NETL Grace Bochenek, Mark Ackiewicz of DOE, and Traci Rodosta of NETL for increased strategic partnerships and international collaboration.

The Monitoring Network highlights were presented by a panel consisting of Tim Dixon, as chair and context-setter, Tom Daley of LBNL (a member of the International Steering Committee of the Network) providing highlights from a geophysics and deep monitoring perspective, Katherine Romanak of GCCC BEG University of Texas (a member of the International Steering Committee) providing highlights from a shallow monitoring and geochemical perspective, Don Lawton of CMC in Canada providing highlights relating to overburden topics, and Owain Tucker of Shell in the UK providing an overall perspectives from a project operator.


Highlights shared by the panel included the use and potential of pressure monitoring for reservoir monitoring and leakage detection, the use of microseisimcity as monitoring tool, continued advances in 4D surface seismic, the great potential in Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS), focussed risk based monitoring, the size of leak which is important to find, emerging near-surface techniques creating a paradigm shift in monitoring strategies, advances in offshore monitoring, leakage detection being potentially easier offshore than onshore, and the good progress and developments towards safely deployable monitoring in real world project situations. Further work is recommended in understanding microseismicity and monitoring applications in marine environments.

IEAGHG were also invited to organise and chair a panel to bring monitoring updates from larger international projects, specifically Goldeneye (Owain Tucker), Quest (Simon O’Brien), Aquistore (Kyle Worth), Sleipner and Snovit (Philip Ringrose), and the Illinois Industrial CCS Project (Scott McDonald).

The DOE Carbon Storage Review Meeting provided many other interesting results and presentations in the plenaries. These covered updates from the Citronelle, Illinois Basin Decatur Project, Bell Creek, Cranfield, Farnsworth Unit, Michigan Basin and Kevin Dome projects. The Illinois Basin Decatur Project and Citronelle project are now doing post-injection monitoring. In keeping with the integration and collaboration theme, updates were also provided by US national collaborative programmes. These were the new Energy Frontier Research Centers and the Subsurface Technology and Engineering Research, Development and Demonstration Crosscut Initiative (SubTER), and the existing National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP). Work is also underway to understand better the offshore potential around the USA, including infrastructure issues.

The 220 attendees were able to listen to over 60 presentations in the technical parallel sessions. Notable presentations included the use of ambient seismic noise correlation to develop microseismic processing tools and understanding of induced seismicity from smaller faults, and a methodology for assessment of ‘net carbon negative oil’.

The wealth of R, D and D on CO2 storage underway in the US is impressive and world-leading. DOE’s efforts to ensure the results are shared and to exploit synergies between the work are highly commendable, and more than satisfy the theme of this year’s meeting . This all helps to provide a substantial knowledge-base to undertake CO2 geological storage in a sound and more cost-effective way. This is definitely a gathering which is worthwhile attending.


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