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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

67 JG imageFor the second time in a month I presented on CO2 utilisation and gave my opinions on whether it is a game changer or a distraction. The first was in the lions den at the Annual Sequestration conference in the USA, this time at an IEA Working Party meeting in Poland. The main premise of my argument is that with CO2 global atmospheric levels reaching 400pm that we need solutions that permanently store CO2 away from the atmosphere. The bulk of CO2 utilisation routes are temporary storage only. There are one or two options that can permanently store CO2 but their market take up is small 1-2Mt/y CO2. In some cases like the application of urea the use of this product releases a more potent greenhouse gas in N2O and leads to other environmental problems. But we cannot get away from the fact that in a world whose population is increasing as is the demand for food we need N based fertilisers despite their acknowledged environmental drawbacks. All acknowledge that the only real utilisation option is CO2-EOR. If we do believe we can store 90% of the CO2 in the oil field then that is good. But what happen's to the oil we produce when we burn it are we not merely creating emissions in another sector the transport one. Also in most of the oil fields in North America using CO2-EOR, if there is still a significant amount of oil left in place and oil prices remain hjosir can we be confident that by re-entering the field to draw down that oil we will not release the stored CO2.I do accept that CO-EOR is helping CCS demonstration projects get started in North America, where the CO2 is a commodity, By helping the financing of these demonstration projects we can confirm the viability of CCS in the minds of Governments and the public alike. However we cannot rest on our laurel's we need a financing mechanism or mechanisms that allows us to move the permanent CO2 storage sooner rather than later. Time is slipping by but the rise in global atmospheric CO2 emissions shows no sign of stalling.