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Overview of past programme activities

  • The Third Framework Programme (1990-1994) was the first to cover activities in CO2 capture and storage. A number of cycles with CO2 capture, mainly closed or semi-closed cycles, were studied.
  • Under the Fourth Framework Programme (1994-1998), the important SACS programme was started. This is the injection of CO2 into a sub-sea aquifer of the coast of Norway.

SACS - Injection at Sleipner
  • Activities were extended under the Fifth Framework Programme (1998-2002) to include a suite of projects, in both capture and storage worth €33 million over the four-year Programme. An example of the capture side is AZEP (Advanced Zero Emission Powerplant), developing power generation cycles with integrated CO2 capture. An example of the storage side is the monitoring of the SACS project, looking at the Sleipner experiment in the North Sea, where 1 million ton of CO2 per year is being sequestrated in an aquifer. These activities are coordinated in CO2NET, a new thematic network on CO2 capture and storage, aimed at promoting an ERA on this topic and coordinating the efforts of Member States.

6th Framework Programme Activities

Cover European CO<sub>2</sub > Capture and Storage projects
The Commission has published a compilation of project synopses that covers research and demonstration projects on CO2 capture and storage, as well as supporting activities such as Co-ordination. The projects concerned are those funded in the first half of the Sixth Framework Programme under the Thematic Priority 6 'Sustainable Development, Global Change and Ecosystems'.

>> Download the European CO2 Capture and Storage projects PDF icon [564 Kb]

International Cooperation and Coordination Activities

Within the EC, there is a clear recognition that the need to deal with environmental challenges requires an international approach. Accordingly the EC is involved in a wide range of international cooperation and coordination activities that complement the RTD activities that they manage directly.

The EC takes an active role in the International Energy Agency (IEA) of the OECD. It participates in the “Committee of Energy Research and Technology - CERT” and in the “Working Party on Fossil Fuels - WPFF”, with a particular role in the “Zero Emission Technologies - ZETS” strategy.

It also sponsors and participates in the IEA “Greenhouse Gas” Implementing Agreement and in the IEA “Clean Coal Centre” Implementing Agreement.

In addition, the EU, via the EC, has Science and Technology Cooperation Agreements with many countries such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Russia, South Africa and the USA. The EC has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the US Department of Energy (DoE) and is a Member of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF), which is an initiative led by the USA.

At the EU level, within the European Initiative for Growth, a number of “quick start” projects will probably be launched to stimulate the European economy. Among the research projects considered is HYPOGEN, a full size demonstration plant for the production of hydrogen from fossil fuels with CO2 capture and storage. This initiative also underlines the link between CO2 capture and storage and the future hydrogen economy.

Within the European Union, the EC is involved in the open co-ordination of Member State activities as part of the process for the creation of the European Research Area. At the policy strategy definition level, co-operation may be done through open co-ordination in which Member States voluntarily agree to coordinate amongst themselves in an informal way. With regard to structuring EU RTD work, co-ordination is carried out at the project level through STREPs, IPs, Networking and Co-ordination actions that are the instruments of the EU Framework Programmes .

It may also be carried out at the Programme level through ERA-NET activities. Of relevance here is a project in an exploratory phase (FENCO) to undertake a specific support action for Fossil Energy Concerted Actions. The intention is to establish the feasibility for a subsequent co-ordination action that could create the basis for a unified approach within Europe for the development of near zero emissions technologies and carbon management strategies for fossil fuel power generation.

ENCAP - Project summary

ENCAP aims at technologies that meet the target of at least 90% capture rate and 50% CO2-capture-costreduction.
A group of 28 legal entities comprising 6 large European fossil fuel end users, 11 leading technology providersand 16 high ranked RTD providers has agreed to establish the ENCAP consortium.ENCAP is organised as an integrated project (IP) having an impact of the results on the medium to longerterm. The objective is to develop new pre-combustion CO2-capture technologies and processes for powergeneration based on fossil fuels – mainly hard coal, lignite and natural gas – that are conceived as affordableand clean, and which can be integrated with sustainable energy systems.The RTD activities are structured in 6 sub-projects that directly meet the stated objectives of the EC Workprogramme (WP). These sub-projects are:

  • SP1 Process and Power Systems
  • SP2 Pre-combustion Decarbonisation Technologies
  • SP3 OxyFuel Boiler Technologies
  • SP4 Chemical Looping Combustion
  • SP5 High-Temperature Oxygen Generation for Power Cycles
  • SP6 Novel Pre-combustion Capture Concepts

ENCAP will, in compliance with the stated objectives of the WP:

  • Perform research and development on pre-combustion CO2 capture (incl. pre-normative and socio-economic impacts) and validate by testing technical and economic feasibility of concepts, and also interact with research-related networks and carry out training and dissemination
  • Deliver results that have the potential for a wide commercial exploitation with the time horizon 2015-2020. ENCAP will generate knowledge and results that enable power companies to decide to launch a new design project by 2008-2010 aimed a large-scale demonstration plant. Main risks are scientific and technological.
  • Enhance the competitiveness of European industry
  • Contribute to the creation of a European Research Area for CO2 capture

CASTOR - Project Summary

CASTOR addresses “Capture and sequestration of CO2 associated with cleaner fossil fuel plants” and will specifically focus on “Post-combustion capture technologies for CO2” and “CO2 storage confidence building”. The overall goal of this IP is to develop and validate, in public/private partnerships, all of the innovative technologies needed to capture CO2 at the post-combustion stage and store CO2. The CASTOR R&D target is to enable the capture and geological storage of 10% of the CO2 emissions of Europe, which corresponds to about 30% of CO2 emitted by European power and industrial plants. To reach this goal, CASTOR will improve current techniques and develop, validate and generalise previously non existent methodologies and technologies for the capture of CO2 and its subsequent secure underground storage.

Key targets of CASTOR will be:

  • A major reduction in post-combustion capture costs, from 50-60 € down to 20-30 € per ton of CO2 (large volumes of flue gases need to be treated with low CO2 content and low pressure)
  • To advance general acceptance of the overall concept in terms of storage performance (capacity, CO2 residence time), storage security and environmental acceptability.
  • To start the development of an integrated strategy connecting capture, transport and storage options for Europe.

CASTOR activities fall into 3 technical sub-projects (SP):

  1. “Strategy for CO2 reduction” (7% of the budget)
  2. “Post-combustion capture” (67% of the budget)
  3. “CO2 storage performance and risk assessment studies” (26% of the budget)

In SP2 and SP3, large-scale field tests (capture facility, injection and monitoring facility) will be executed to validate the research results. In all sub-projects innovative methods and tools will be developed, building upon the state of the art knowledge of participating organisations which are leading in the field of CO2 capture, transport and storage.

CASTOR will make important contributions to reduce major bottlenecks that still remain in CO2 capture and geological storage by providing:

  • An improved process for capturing CO2 in large volumes of low pressure flue gases at a much lower cost than today (development of new liquids and membranes).
  • Capture validation site.
  • New examples of storage sites needed for achieving public acceptance.
  • For national and European governments there will be a clearer view on clean fossil fuels as a solution to achieve Kyoto objectives while ensuring security of energy supply for Europe.
  • The project will enable the research community and the industries to maintain and extend the leading position on CO2 capture and storage.

CO2SINK - Project summary

Geological storage of CO2 provides a means for the EU to significantly reduce its CO2 emissions over the next decades. To address and alleviate potential public concerns about the safety and environmental impact of geological storage, a better understanding of CO2 storage is needed.

The CO2SINK integrated project aims at developing this basis by injection of CO2 into a saline
aquifer underneath the city of Ketzin near Berlin. It involves intensive monitoring of the fate of the injected CO2 using a broad range of geophysical and geochemical techniques, the development and benchmarking of numerical models, and the definition of risk assessment strategies. All of this will be accompanied by a public outreach programme.

The Ketzin gas storage site of CO2SINK has a number of appealing features:

  • The existing surface infrastructure greatly reduces the need for new developments
  • The geology of the site is known and is representative of large parts of Europe which facilitates the transfer of results
  • The local political community strongly supports the project, and permitting authorities have been involved in the project definition.

The test site, being close to a metropolitan area, provides a unique opportunity to develop a European showcase for onshore CO2 storage. It will accelerate the public acceptance of geological storage of CO2 as a greenhouse gas mitigation option for the benefit of the Europe Community.

CO2GeoNet - Project Summary

This NoE "CO2GeoNet" (13 institutes) contains a critical mass of research activity in the area of underground carbon dioxide (CO2) storage. World projections of energy use show that fossil fuel dependency will continue to 2030 and beyond; but sustainability will need CO2 emissions reducing by 60% by 2050. This will be difficult. It will require various strategies. The associated rise in global CO2 emissions, without abatement, will be at an average rate of 1.8% per annum (from the current value of 25Gt p.a., to 38Gt by 2030); a rise of over 50%. This will be catastrophic for the planet's sustainability. Urgent action is needed. Europe's CO2 emissions will rise by an average of 0.6% p.a. up to 2020, from a 2000 level of 3.1Gt to 3.5Gt by 2020. The rocks under the N. Sea have a theoretical capacity for storing over 800Gt of CO2. Capturing CO2 from industrial point sources and storing it underground (a process that mimics Nature) is a very attractive route to making cuts in CO2 emissions. CO2 capture and storage allows diverse fuel inputs/outputs, enhances security of supply and is well aligned with hydrogen production from fossil fuels. Through the Joule 2, FP4 & 5 projects Europe has led the world on R&D in this area, with rapid growth this decade. National programmes are also emerging. This success has a downside, by creating fragmentation through diversification. N. America despite its rejection of Kyoto (except Canada), has recently embraced CO2 capture and geological storage and is allocating huge resources (over $4bn) over the next 10 years. Europe, as a result, risks losing its head start. We therefore must work more effectively and restructure accordingly. The main aim of CO2GeoNet will be to integrate, strengthen, and build upon the momentum of previous and existing European R&D, as well as project European excellence internationally, so as to ensure that Europe remains at the forefront of CO2 underground storage research'.

ISCC - Project Summary

The ISCC process is a new technology in support of European Union policy objectives. These include reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, a safe and cost effective energy supply, and decreased dependency on energy imports. Europe has large, economically available reserves of brown coal for which the ISCC process is designed.

The new ISCC process proposed is based on the Absorption Enhanced Reforming (AER) reaction. The AER reaction combines steam gasification of low rank, high moisture brown coal, with the high temperature removal of CO2 by using high temperature efficient sorbent materials (e.g. dolomite or limestone). The combination of the gasification and the in situ CO2 capture shifts the reaction towards H2 production in the gas stream. Experiments with different hydrocarbons and dolomite revealed that hydrogen concentrations higher than 95 vol % can be achieved using this technology. The CO2 laden sorbent material must be regenerated in an additional regeneration step before being recycled back into the gasifier. A regeneration strategy for limestone would involve a calcination step. This calcination step would produce reactivated sorbent material and a CO2 gas stream for subsequent sequestration. An attractive activity of the sorbent over many absorption/regeneration cycles is fundamental for the success of the ISCC process. Therefore, the project will focus on regeneration (including sorbent reactivation techniques) and the combined interaction of AER and regeneration processes. 

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