TCCS-11 goes Virtual

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By Tim Dixon

23 June 2021

The Norwegian-based CCS conference TCCS-11 was forced to go fully virtual this year because of COVID, as had our own GHGT-15. However a plus was that the Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg was able to give the opening welcome address. She is a very impressive person, leading in the UN on sustainable development goals advocacy and also on education for girls, and leading in the G7 on sustainable ocean economy, which even more qualifies her to introduce CCS and the world-leading activities in Norway, “Carbon capture and storage is a priority for the Norwegian government”.

A keynote was given by Sir Robert Watson of IPBES on the climate impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems and why CCS is needed, especially on fossil fuels but urging care with BECCS due to potential impacts on biodiversity. His concluding message was that society needs to include natural capital in decision making, as food-water-energy are intertwined.

Alexandra Bech Gjørv, President and CEO of SINTEF, provided a research and innovation perspective. This covered from the first CCS concept starting in 1988 in Norway, to the recent IEA’s Net Zero Roadmap report suggesting an increase of 4-5 times in research spending is required to achieve net zero.

The next plenary had the theme of scaling up from pilots. Roy Vardeim, CEO of Gassnova talked about the value of international collaboration with TCM as the example. Mirrijn van Eijk of the Port of Rotterdam talked about the Porthos project and stakeholder engagement. Sverre Overa, Project Director of Northern Lights, updated on the project. There are now eleven MoUs with CO2 sources across Europe, and operations are planned to start in Q1 2024 with two ships.

Philip Llewellyn, CCUS R&D Manager at TotalEnergies looked at the idea of CO2 capture powered by renewable electricity in the Cryocap FG project in the Netherlands. He also reflected on the successful Lacq-Rousse full-chain CCS pilot project in France, where technical challenges were more easily overcome than the public and political acceptance challenges. Although apparently a local Mayor now wishes he had supported more at the time, given the scale of the climate challenge. Philip also talked about sharing CCS knowledge through the use of open-source tools for both the public, and also for professionals such as regulators. He mentioned GEOSX as an example in particular for storage simulation, developed by LLNL, Stanford and TotalEnergies.

Mona Mølnvik, Research Director of SINTEF, asked whether the focus on CCS barriers of cost, risk and scale-up were still valid going forwards, and suggested the addition of the new challenges of providing more CCS experts (with an example of the IEAGHG Summer School in 2018 hosted in Trondheim), biodiversity, and communicating CCS. A panel discussion continued to elaborate on these points.

At the end of the first day the SINTEF and NTNU CCS Award was announced. This award recognises outstanding achievements in CCS. This year the recipient was Professor Marco Mazzotti of ETH Zurich. I was honoured to invited to be part of the selection committee. The best paper award was given to Yoshihiro Sawada and colleagues of JCCS for their paper on the achievements of the Tomakomai project. The best poster award was given to Till Strunge of IASS Potsdam for his work on costs of decarbonisation in the cement industry.

On the second day in plenary, Curt Oldenburg of LBNL gave an interesting talk on the effects of intermittency of CO2 injection on coupled well-reservoir systems. This showed the benefit of deeper reservoirs for avoiding the issue of CO2 gas phase creation at the well-head.

Sam Krevor of Imperial College gave a very interesting plenary talk on global storage resource and climate mitigation requirements. He showed that in addition to current theoretical estimates of total global storage exceeding that needed to meet IPCC scenarios, the actual growth rate of CO2 storage has been 8.6% per year and if continued would be sufficient to meet that needed for 2C targets. The needed storage targets for 1.5C are also quite possible, being rate limited not resource limited. The storage rate needs to increase to 10-15% growth per year to achieve 1.5C. He concluded with the example that on this basis, the storage resource of Norway and UK alone is sufficient for ten times the EU’s climate targets.

Marco Mazzotti gave the Award Lecture, covering how to decarbonise Switzerland’s CO2 sources, with examples of the chemical industry, organisations, and the potential for BECCS and DACCS. One of his conclusions was to encourage CO2 capture on smaller organisations who want to do something positive on climate, as this will build towards more positive view of larger-scale CCS.

Also in plenary, there was a most interesting discussion on improving the terminology used to describe CCS to wider stakeholders, by Torund Bryhn, Brad Crabtree and Anne Steenstrup-Duch. Shorter terms such as “Carbon Capture” and “Carbon Management” were examples that are being used in practice with some success, and were liked by many in the conference judging from the comments and Q&A.

Several presentations talked about the London Protocol CO2 Export Resolution as an enabler. Kristin Jordan also informed us about the EU ETS treatment for the shipping of CO2 from the Preem project in Sweden to the Northern Lights site. The EU ETS does not explicitly cover transport by shipping, only by pipelines. However EC DG CLIMA had decided that for this project such transport would be allowed for the ETS purposes of accounting for emissions captured and transported to the offshore storage. This is very good news and hopefully precedent setting.

As well as the 22 plenary talks, in the five parallel technical sessions there were 93 oral presentations and 24 poster presentations, enjoyed by the 352 registered attendees from 28 countries (a record attendance for TCCS). Another benefit of the virtual format is that all presentations are recorded and will be available afterwards until 1 September. Registration will continue to be open for those wishing to view the recordings (which I recommend). See https://www.sintef.no/projectweb/tccs-11/

Thank you to all at SINTEF and NTNU for organising a successful fully virtual conference, with a lot of interesting and inspiring content as always. I missed being in Trondheim in person, it is one of my favourite places for CCS activities. Hopefully in 2023.

Tim Dixon

23 June 2021

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