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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

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GHGT-7 Vancouver, Canada

The seventh conference in the Greenhouse Gas Technologies conference series (GHGT-7) was held in Vancouver, Canada between 5th and 9th September 2004. The conference was organised by the University of Regina and Natural Resources Canada in co-operation with the IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme which is the guardian of the conference series. GHGT-7 was the largest conference held to date, attracting over 650 delegates from 35 different countries. This is a significant increase in attendees compared to the previous event (GHGT-6) held in Kyoto, Japan in September 2004, where some 530 delegates attended (Greenhouse Issues No. 63). Although North America (USA and Canada) provided a substantial proportion of the conference delegates (nearly 50%), there were also large delegations from countries like; Japan, Norway, UK, Netherlands, France and Australia.

The conference was opened by Rick Patrick, Vice President, Planning for Saskatchewan Power Corporation. Kelly Thambimuthu, the Chairman of the IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme then gave an opening address to the conference. These were followed by two invited plenary lectures given by: Marianne Haug of the International Energy Agency and Lowell Miller, US DOE. Marianne focused her presentation on the latest IEA World Energy Investment Outlook and the prospects for CO2 capture and storage (CCS). She concluded that CCS is one of the most promising advanced technologies that could meet the global environmental threat; however financial incentives were needed to speed its implantation and create a level playing field with other technology options. Lowell Miller concentrated on the major developments that have taken place since earlier conferences (GHGT-6 & 7) and GHGT-8. Several major international initiatives have been launched in the intervening years such as the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum and the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy. In addition, within the United States the Future Gen project has been launched as a key step in developing a zero-emission technology for coal fired energy production.

The plenary lectures were followed by three technical overview papers on the morning of the first day. The technical overview papers were given by pre-eminent scientists in the field involved in the preparation of the IPCC Special Report on CO2 Capture and Storage (Greenhouse Issues No. 65). Kelly Thambimuthu opened the session covering the status of capture technology, whilst Sally Benson from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. summarised the status of geological storage and Howard Herzog (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) reviewed what progress had been made in reducing the costs of capture and storage. Key points that can be taken from these presentations are:

Following the technical lectures the conference moved into 4/5 parallel sessions of technical papers. In total some 220 technical papers were presented orally during these parallel sessions. In addition, 190 posters were presented during the poster session on the afternoon of the second day.

The papers and posters presented covered the broad scope of the conference. The topics covered included; capture and transmission of CO2, storage of CO2, comparisons of greenhouse gas mitigation options, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from industry, zero emission technologies and decarbonised energy carriers from carbon based fuels as well as National and International policy issues relating to greenhouse gas mitigation.

A large proportion of the papers presented at the conference were focused on CO2 capture and storage. There are a number of reasons for this:

The growth in interest and research funding demonstrates that CO2 capture and storage is now gaining increasing support as a greenhouse gas mitigation option alongside those already agreed under the Kyoto Protocol. In addition, there is growing international recognition that CO2 capture and storage technology, when deployed along with the other mitigation options, has the potential to achieve deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Whilst many of the papers on CCS covered technical issues, e.g. capacity assessments, there was an increased emphasis during this conference on issues such as; risk assessment (4 sessions) and legal aspects of CCS (2 sessions). The development of regulatory frameworks for CCS is considered necessary to gain broad acceptance of the technology. Of course, an integral component of any regulatory framework will be a risk assessment module. The fact that these activities are now being developed with some vigour indicates that CCS technology is moving closer to market deployment. In addition, there were a significant number of papers that reviewed national action plans to implement CCS. These plans not only covered those countries that are already researching CCS in some depth but there were also presentations on the potential to implement the technology in countries such and Argentina, India, Russia and Pakistan. During the technical sessions the results from two major international research projects, whose activities ended this year, in the field of CCS were showcased. These projects were:

The results of these projects were summarised in the dedicated technical sessions organised during the conference. The IEA GHG Weyburn Monitoring and Storage Project presentations demonstrated, among other monitoring techniques, that time-lapse seismic surveys were able to see the CO2 distribution in the oil reservoir. Also presented were the findings of the preliminary risk assessment work, which provided positive indications of the integrity of the storage reservoir at Weyburn.

The CO2 Capture Project provided an overview of the results of the numerous research projects undertaken for this consortium study. Of particular note were the findings on potential cost reductions for the CO2 capture technologies investigated. The results from the Safety, Monitoring and Verification portion of the work identified the ability of different monitoring technologies to identify possible breaches of the containment of the reservoir.

In addition, to these research projects a special session on Acid Gas injection was also organised by the Alberta Research Council and the Alberta Energy Utilities Board. Currently there are some 43 acid gas injection operations in Canada which inject both CO2 and H2S (Greenhouse Issues No. 67). Whilst the volumes injected are small these operations have demonstrated that these gases can be safely injected and stored in geological formations.

On the final day a panel session on the public perception of CO2 capture and storage was organised. The panel presented results from surveys undertaken in the USA, UK and Japan. The results showed that there was an urgent need to educate the public on the need for, and the merits of, CO2 capture and storage across the world. However, none of the studies suggested the public would be fundamentally against the introduction of CO2 capture and storage, provided it was implemented as part of a package of mitigation measures (i.e. including renewables and energy efficiency).

The proceedings for the conference will be available in the summer of 2005. Until that time the papers presented at the conference will be made available on the conference web site,

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PTRC Signs International Co-operation Agreements

By Malcolm Wilson. Director of Energy and Environment, University of Regina

At an evening event during the GHGT 7 Conference, the University of Regina and the Petroleum Technology Research Centre took advantage of having delegates from around the world available and signed a number of MOUs. An MOU, or Memorandum of Understanding, is a non-binding agreement to establish cooperation between institutions. Specific annexes to the MOU can be added to establish specific terms under which such collaborative research takes place.

The University of Regina’s International Test Centre for CO2 Capture signed an MOU with NTNU (the Norwegian University of Science and Technology), the University of Melbourne, Australia and the University of Texas at Austin. This will provide an increased opportunity and incentive for more collaboration between some of the major institutes undertaking research into post-combustion capture of CO2.

The PTRC and the University of Regina also signed an MOU with the CO2CRC with the aim of furthering collaboration in carbon capture and storage. Both groups are working on an integrated approach to capture and storage and it is hoped that this MOU will lead to a significant level of cooperation between the two groups.

The PTRC signed two MOUs to help develop transatlantic ties. The first of these was with CO2GeoNet. CO2GeoNet is a newly formed, European Commission funded consortium of 13 key European research institutions that create a network of excellence in the geological storage of greenhouse gases. The goal of this agreement, termed a Heads of Agreement, is primarily to move forward with formalising the development of a global network of excellence in the area of risk assessment in geological storage. The PTRC will bring expertise from western Canada and CO2GeoNet from Europe. The second MOU was with TNO (the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research), again with the goal of furthering risk assessment work.

On Friday, September 10, immediately following the conference, the next step in the development of the global network of excellence in risk assessment for geological storage of CO2 (COSRAIN – CO2 Storage Risk Assessment International Network) was taken to help ensure the effectiveness of the above MOUs. The September 10 workshop will be reported separately.

For more information contact Malcolm Wilson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or John Gale (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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