Two synergies for CCUS witnessed at NETL Storage and Capture Meetings in Pittsburgh


By Tim Dixon

16 August 2018

It can be wonderful when things coincide to a synergistic benefit. I witnessed two examples this week, one of a practical convenience, the other of game-changing significance.

The two annual review meetings of the US DOE’s R,D&D programs in CO2 capture and storage were running in parallel this year in Pittsburgh, enabling attendees to attend parts of both, which was a nice bonus on top of seeing these excellent R&D programs and projects being presented. The talk is that this will continue next year. Certainly, the plenary talks are of relevance to both audiences.

The second synergy is more significant. Whilst the explicit focus of both meetings was on the research and development of capture and storage technologies, there was much talk in the margins on the recently enhanced 45Q tax credit, also included in some of the CarbonSAFE project presentations on business cases, with attendees commenting on a new energy in the meetings as a result. Many US attendees reporting that they are getting new enquiries from companies seeking storage options for their CO2 sources. The realisation is that the RCSP and CarbonSAFE projects, in their core activity, are in effect de-risking the potential storage sites which potentially could be used by 45Q projects, thus helping such projects. And if that wasn’t good enough, the RCSP projects have provided the MRV knowledge needed for the MRV plans needed by the IRS for 45Q.

Opening the Capture Meeting plenary, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy USDOE Steven Winberg encouraged “learning by doing”. I continued this theme as IEAGHG plenary in the global CCUS update of projects and the different experiences and learnings being provided by each, as well as the importance of higher capture rates. GHGT-14 was raised often, and I pointed out that the size and quality of the US’s R,D&D programs was reflected in that the USA submitted 50% more abstracts than any other country, and with a higher proportion of those getting Oral presentations. In addition, the Capture meeting plenary contained a presentation by NETL on their modelling of the impacts of the 45Q, which concluded that it will be a significant driver for new and retrofit CCUS projects, and changing the CO2 supply pattern from natural to power and industry sectors.

At the Storage Meeting there was a strong theme on the US’s offshore projects. As well as updates from the offshore storage resource assessment projects, there were two new partnership projects publicly presented for the first time, GoMCarb and SECARB Offshore, both to develop partnerships for offshore CO2 storage in the Gulf of Mexico, drawing upon the extensive work done previously for the Gulf of Mexico and both partnerships collaborating with each other.

Updates from the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships were provided as usual, but still new results are coming out of these projects, and further appreciation of their benefits, for example in evaluating a broad suite of monitoring technologies which enabled a ‘down-selection’ to only those needed for the current and future commercial-scale storage projects.

A rich pair of meetings/conferences. Pay attention to them. 

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