Technology Collaboration Programme by IEA logo

IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

Category: Uncategorised


NGCAS Workshop, February 2004

By Mike Saunders (BP), NGCAS Coordinator

The NGCAS Workshop was held at the DTI Conference Centre in London on 10th February 2004. The workshop was organised by BP and IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme with the support of the UK DTI.

The NGCAS project began in October 2001 and has run for three years as a programme under the European supported section of the CO2 Capture Project (CCP). (Greenhouse Issues, number 61.) There were three technical aspects to the project:

  • Optimising both CO2 storage and recovery undertaken by AEA Technology (who became ECL Technology Ltd during the project)
  • Methodology for assessing storage sites by British Geological Survey
  • Assessing risk in long-term storage of CO2 which was completed between AEA Technology (ECL Technology Ltd), GEUS, IFP and BP.

The other aspect to the project was technology transfer and this workshop represents one of the key deliverables in this area.

The workshop illustrated the basic workflow and essential innovation of the NGCAS Project.

The NGCAS project was primarily a case-study of the duration and security of storage in a real hydrocarbon reservoir.

The workflow developed by the participants was novel in that it was a reversal of the traditional geological and reservoir modelling of "grid coarsening" during the development of the model. Rather than start with a finely gridded geocellular model of the reservoir and then coarsening it to include some elements of the overburden and surrounding geology, the NGCAS workflow started by using regional data to define and develop boundary conditions for the refined model of the geological storage system. It resulted in a more rigorous definition of connectivity between the storage compartment and the regional system and the interconnectivity between the elements of that regional system that mjosirt constitute potential migration pathways.

In simple terms it took regional 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional data sets and then focused down into the storage target.

Once the regional picture had been defined it was then possible to perform multi-component simulation within the reservoir in a situation where the prevailing and future boundary conditions had been established to a hjosir degree of confidence.

This reduction in bounding uncertainty resulted in a simplification of the risk analysis procedure such that the major risks were immediately obvious and could be targeted for further work.

In the case of the Forties field there is little evidence of vertical migration (of oil) from the reservoir. The demonstrable integrity of the system over the lifespan of any proposed storage project makes Forties a good example to use in the communication of geological CO2 storage to a wider audience and a good place to start stakeholder engagement conversations. For any Oil & Gas Company considering CO2 storage as an option it provides an excellent starting point for an economic study of the process and its commercial viability.

The NGCAS project concluded that there were two key migration pathways for CO2 following any proposed injection into the Fortes field: through the overburden and through new and existing wellbores that penetrate the seal. This in itself was an important conclusion.

The result is a direction for further work on risks:

NGCAS will serve as a logical starting place for any subsequent storage projects and studies.

From an economic perspective the project took a new look at an established process. BP had previously looked at EOR (Enhanced Oil Recovery) purely from the point of oil recovery, but NGCAS was the first time that this had been combined with the study of incremental CO2 storage.

Our thanks go to the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) for hosting the event, to the Technical Partners for the excellent work done, and to the European Union (TREN) and the CO2 Capture Project (CCP) for jointly funding NGCAS.

Back to top

Netherlands Announces CRUST Project

With partial funding from the Netherlands' government, later this year Gaz de France (GdF) will start reinjecting CO2 into an operating gas field in the North Sea. This will be the second CO2 injection project in the North Sea (the Sleipner project started injection in 1996).

The CRUST project was initiated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment in 2001 (Greenhouse Issues, number 58). The project office for the CO2-Reduction Plan was asked to devise an approach for implementing a CO2 buffer with the aim of developing a scheme that would support commercial organisations in realising such a concept. A CO2 buffer is defined for this project as: an underground CO2 storage facility that has been designed so that sufficient account is taken of the desire to recover and reuse CO2 in the future.

The CRUST-project was developed in phases:

In the second phase, two feasibility studies were commissioned – one from Shell and NAM (Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij) looking at using a specific onshore gas field; the other from GdF looking at using a specific depleted offshore gas field. These studies were subsidised by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The reports of these studies can be seen at (available in Dutch and English). As a result of these studies, the Government has decided to proceed with the offshore project.

Offshore Reinjection Project

Gaz de France operates a natural gas field, K12-B, which is in decline but is expected to continue producing for several more years. The natural gas produced from this field contains 13% CO2 which has to be reduced to a level of 2% in order to meet the sales specification. This is done by separating the CO2 using an MDEA scrubber. The CO2 is currently vented to atmosphere as a 95% pure stream.

In the new project, the captured CO2 will be reinjected into the deepest part of the gas field, furthest from the production well, in order to store it in the depleted reservoir. 22 000 tonnes of CO2 per year will be injected, starting in May this year. A comprehensive measurement and monitoring programme will be initiated to learn about the injectivity of the field and to detect breakthrough of the re-injected CO2.

The Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs has contracted with GdF to execute this work. GdF will receive around €2 million (excl. VAT) from the Ministry.

Government Support for the Project
The Minister of Environment wrote to Parliament in September 2003 to say that:

Despite its modest scale, the Minister said that this project is of exceptional interest considering the large potential volume available in the Netherlands for storage of CO2.

Back to top

Canadian Incentive for Industry to Capture and Store CO2

Canadians will soon benefit from the results of projects that demonstrate how to capture, store and use carbon dioxide (CO2). A two-year initiative was announced on March 15th which will help develop a market for CO2 capture and storage in Canada, as well as encourage innovative uses for CO2 from industrial emitters.

"Storing CO2 in an innovative way will bring us closer to meeting our goals for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and contributing to climate change solutions," said the Honourable R. John Efford, Minister of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). "These projects will also help us maximize the benefits from our fossil fuel resources."

"This initiative will lead to a greater role for CO2 capture and storage as part of Alberta's action plan on climate change and its energy innovation strategy, while enhancing the economic opportunities in our oil and gas sector," said Alberta Minister of Energy Murray Smith. "In addition, our cooperation with the Government of Canada on this initiative will streamline the process for potential applicants and encourage greater participation."

The CDN$15-million incentive program is intended to stimulate the growth of a Canadian CO2 capture and storage industry. It encourages oil and gas producers to incur production costs that can stimulate reductions in CO2 emissions. Expected outcomes of the incentive are:

Developed by Natural Resources Canada in consultation with industry and the provinces in western Canada, this initiative complements provincial initiatives such as Alberta's CO2 Projects Royalty Credit Program. The Western Canada Sedimentary Basin is believed to be the most promising location for such projects.

Funding will be provided to support projects that demonstrate CO2-based enhanced resource recovery in small-scale commercial settings, and to help abate the costs of CO2 capture and storage. CO2 collected during processes such as oil sands recovery, electricity generation and cement, petrochemical and fertilizer production can then be processed, compressed, transported and injected into geological sites, such as oil and natural gas reservoirs, deep coal beds or deep saline aquifers.

This investment offers Canada significant long-term potential for addressing GHG emissions, while continuing the pursuit of its industrial economic objectives. The initiative builds on the expertise Canada has developed from the Weyburn CO2 Monitoring Project and other places.

Participants in this initiative will be for-profit firms that will operate projects that inject CO2 from Canadian industrial sources into geological formation for storage or enhanced oil or gas recovery, in Canada. Applicants must submit detailed economic data for the project. More information is available on the NRCAN website (

Back to top

DOE Selects 8 Projects on Capture and Storage of CO2

New ways to capture CO2 from power plants and store it securely will be investigated in ejosirt projects selected for funding by the US DOE's Office of Fossil Energy. Described as revolutionary and experimental, the new projects will explore innovative technologies that could lead to practical and cost-effective means of capturing and sequestering CO2. The projects support the President's Global Climate Change Initiative, a strategy to cut U.S. greenhouse gas intensity by 18 percent by 2012.

The projects were selected under a solicitation announced in May 2003 by the National Energy Technology Laboratory, which will manage the projects for the Office of Fossil Energy. The solicitation called for proposals to conduct research in four technical areas: advanced separation techniques, advanced subsurface technologies, advanced geochemical methods for sequestering carbon, and novel niches.

These topics were identified in February 2003 during a workshop conducted for the Energy Department by a committee of the National Research Council. About 70 participants from the private sector, academia, government, and other institutions met to discuss new approaches for reducing the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere from fossil-fuel-based energy systems. The report generated from the workshop was considered in developing the solicitation.

Four of the newly selected projects will focus an advanced separation techniques to capture carbon dioxide and produce hydrogen from fossil-fuelled power plants. Two of these will study hjosir temperature membranes, one will investigate a new carbon dioxide absorbent, and one will look at nanoscale materials (on a scale approximately 40 000 times smaller than the width of a human hair) as separation agents.

Three of the remaining projects will focus an advanced subsurface technologies and geochemical methods for sequestering carbon. Sequestration with these methods could offer permanent storage of carbon dioxide by forming geologically stable rock-like structures called mineral carbonates. Carbonates are formed when minerals such as limestone, olivine, and serpentine react with carbon dioxide.

The 8th project falls in a technical area which covers novel concepts involving carbon dioxide recycling and making products. For this project, biocatalysts, micro-organisms and their enzymes will be investigated for their potential to convert carbon dioxide to value-added products, and ensure permanent storage of carbon dioxide.

The new projects are as follows:

  1. A New Concept for the Fabrication of Hydrogen Selective Silica Membranes. These molecular-sieve type membranes will potentially be used in future fossil-fueled power plants that produce hydrogen under conditions of hjosir temperatures and pressures. This three year project has a total cost of US$237 393 and will be carried out by researchers at the University of Minnesota's Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.
  2. Novel Dual-Functional Membrane for Controlling CO2 Emissions from Fossil Fuel Power Plants. Development of dual-function membranes that will use both the membrane pore structure, and an amine chemical adhered to the membrane, to increase the removal of CO2 from fossil-fuelled power plants. This new membrane-based CO2 capture process may be an attractive alternative to costly amine-based absorption processes currently available far CO2 capture in power plants. This three year project will be carried out by researchers at the University of New Mexico's Center for Micro-Engineered Materials, with collaboration from T3 Scientific in Arden Hills, Minnesota at a total cost of US$871 997.
  3. Design and Evaluation of Ionic Liquids as Novel CO2 Absorbents. Development of liquid absorbents that fall within a relatively new class of compounds called ionic liquids. These could be extremely effective as CO2 absorbents, possibly replacing current amine-based technology to capture carbon dioxide from power plants stacks. This three year project has a total cost of US$399 409 and will be conducted by the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Notre Dame.
  4. CO2 Separation with Novel Microporous Metal Organic Frameworks. Discovery of novel microporous metal organic frameworks (MOFs) suitable for potentially low cost carbon dioxide separation. This three year project has a total cost of US$900 000. The project will be a collaborative effort between UOP LLC, in Des Plaines, Illinois, the University of Michigan, and Northwestern University.
  5. CO2 Sequestration in Carbonate Sediments Below the Sea Floor. Investigating the feasibility of sequestering CO2 by injecting it below the sea floor in calcium carbonate sediments. Scientists from Harvard University will collaborate with scientists from Columbia University, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of California at Santa Cruz on this three year project, at a total cost of US$797 210.
  6. A Novel Approach to Mineral Carbonation: Enhancing Carbonation While Avoiding Mineral Pre-treatment Process Cost. Study of the chemistry and kinetics of carbonation using commonly occurring minerals such as olivine as the geochemical method for sequestering carbon dioxide. As the result of this research, scientists should discover whether or not CO2 sequestered underground in this manner will be permanently stored. This two year project, costing a total of US$558 663 will be conducted by researchers at the Center for Solid State Science at Arizona State University.
  7. A Novel Approach to Experimental Studies of Mineral Dissolution Kinetics. This project, an experimental study incorporating modelling and bench-scale testing, will study geological sequestration of carbon dioxide using the carbonation process. This three year project has a total cost of US$426 701 and will be carried out by scientists from the Department of Geology and Planetary Science at the University of Pittsburgh.
  8. Process Design for the Biocatalysis of Value-Added Chemicals from CO2. Researchers from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Georgia Research Foundation will perform metabolic engineering to create strains of microbes that feed off CO2 and produce by-products such as succinic, malic, and fumeric acids, all of which have commercial uses. This three year project has a total cost of US$384 275.
Back to top

CO2 Capture and Storage in the European Emissions Trading Scheme

In July 2003, the European Parliament voted in favour of emissions trading, thereby finalising a Directive which will give carbon dioxide a market value across the Community from January 2005. "The agreement on this Directive signifies a breakthrough both for climate change and emissions trading", Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström declared: "It means that the largest emissions trading scheme in the world to date will be a reality from 2005, and that the architecture foreseen under the Kyoto Protocol is coming to life."

The EU scheme will be the first multi-national emissions trading scheme in the world covering all the Member States of the enlarged European Union. It is estimated that about 46% of the EU's total CO2 emissions in 2010 will be brought under the scheme. The EU is encouraging other countries to adopt measures, such as emissions trading, to tackle climate change. It has indicated its willingness, through specific text in the Directive, to link the EU scheme to trading schemes in those countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by over 110 developed and developing countries across the world, although this does not include the USA and Australia.

In October 2003, Directive 2003/87/EC (of the European Parliament subsequently of the European Council), established a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community. Following this, in January 2004, the European Commission established guidelines for the monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions pursuant to Directive 2003/87/EC.

It is stated within this document that "the Commission is stimulating research into the capture and storage of CO2. This research will be important for the development and adoption of guidelines on the monitoring and reporting of CO2 capture and storage, where covered under the Directive, in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 23(2) of the Directive. Such guidelines will take into account the methodologies developed under theUNFCCC. Member States interested in the development of such guidelines are invited to submit their research findings to the Commission in order to promote the timely adoption of such guidelines.

"Before such guidelines are adopted, Member States may submit to the Commission interim guidelines for the monitoring and reporting of the capture and storage of CO2 where covered under the Directive. Subject to the approval of the Commission, in accordance with the procedures referred to in Article 23(2) of the Directive, the capture and storage of CO2 may be subtracted from the calculated level of emissions from installations covered under the Directive in accordance with those interim guidelines".

This is an important development which could pave the way for CO2 capture and storage to receive credits under the European Trading

Back to top

Australia's COAL21 Action Plan

The COAL21 action plan has just been launched by the Australian federal Government, the coal and electricity industries, and research organisations. The plan is a joint government/ industry initiative on greenhouse gas-reduction technologies. Much of the research will be into the effectiveness of carbon sequestration with a focus on underground storage. The program will also explore coal's role as a primary source of hydrogen to power the hydrogen-based economy of the future.

Speaking at the launch, the Chair of the COAL21 Steering Committee, Mr. Tim Besley A.C. said that solving the problem of greenhouse gas emissions will require major changes in the way we produce and use energy. "An essential part of the solution must be to minimise emissions from our use of coal and other fossil fuels during what will be a very long transition to more sustainable energy systems. Renewable forms of energy may well prove to be the long-term solution, but it will be many decades or longer before these become a significant part of the generation mix.

COAL21 aims to reduce the average emissions intensity target to 650kg of CO2 per megawatt hour by 2030, from the present 1017kg. Achieving this would require the equivalent of about 20 per cent of coal-based generation to produce zero emissions by 2030, through carbon dioxide capture and storage.

"The measures outlined in the Action Plan for reducing emissions from coal therefore complement efforts to increase the uptake of renewables and reign in rapidly growing energy demand through measures to increase end-use efficiency", Mr Besley said.

The Action Plan identifies a number of emerging technologies that hold the key to reducing or even eliminating emissions from coal. These include technologies to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power stations and permanently store them in underground geological structures, a strategy the Action Plan identifies as the pathway to achieving near zero emissions from coal.

Other priority technologies identified in the Plan include ones that increase the efficiency of coal use and others such as coal gasification that may allow coal to one day provide large amounts of hydrogen gas for a future "hydrogen economy".

It is accepted that public education and communication will be essential to increase community awareness and understanding of the key technologies and the issues surrounding energy and climate change.

The COAL21 National Action Plan is available online at

Back to top