Carbon capture and storage – a part of the solution

Last updated: 08.06.2009 // Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg will be hosting the High-Level Conference on Climate Change and Technology in Bergen on 27-28 May 2009. The agenda will focus on carbon capture and storage (CCS), a technology that could prove crucial if the world is to achieve necessary cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions.

Norway hopes to see global consensus on a target to limit the increase in global average temperatures to a maximum of two degrees Celsius, compared with pre-industrial levels. To achieve this target, global greenhouse gas emissions will have to be reduced by 50–85% by 2050.

As Prime Minister Stoltenberg has said, “the switch to a low-carbon society will require major research and development efforts related to renewable energies and energy efficiency.”

Nevertheless, it is realistic to expect that fossil fuels, including coal, will be used for many decades to come. This is why the Prime Minister believes that CCS technology will play an important role in reducing energy-related emissions, which are currently the largest contributors to global climate change.

Since 1996, StatoilHydro has successfully captured and stored more than 10 million tonnes of CO2 at the Sleipner petroleum field in the North Sea. Photo: Alligator film / BUG / StatoilHydro.

A key technology
CCS is a technology for capturing and storing CO2 from coal- and gas-fired power plants and from emissions-intensive industries and other consumers of fossil fuels. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has assessed that apart from measures to improve energy efficiently, this technology holds the greatest potential for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

This technology alone could reduce emissions by about 20% and it will therefore be an important tool in the efforts to prevent anthropogenic climate change.

CCS on the agenda in the run-up to Copenhagen
There is great interest in the conference, and so far ministers from 15 countries have confirmed that they will participate at the conference.

Discussions at the Bergen conference will serve as useful input to the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009 and to other international processes such as the G8 meeting in 2010.

Norway is working to ensure that incentives for CCS are included in the Copenhagen agreement, including as a project activity under the Clean Development Mechanism.

CCS on a large scale
Since 1996, the Norwegian Company StatoilHydro has successfully captured and stored more than 10 million tonnes of CO2 at the Sleipner petroleum field in the North Sea.

Currently one million tonnes of CO2 is stored annually in the Utsira geological formation about 1000 metres beneath the seabed. This is equivalent to the emissions of 300 000 cars.

The Utsira reservoir is being monitored by Norwegian and foreign researchers. The EU is contributing to the financing.

Development of CCS technology
Many CCS technologies are still in an early phase of development, and challenges remain to be resolved before CCS can be applied at full-scale at coal- and gas-fired power plants.

The next goal for Norway will be to operate a full-scale CCS facility at a planned heat and power plant at Mongstad and at a gas-fired power plant at Kårstø. The possibilities for using full-scale CCS at Mongstad are to be assessed at a test centre, which is to become operational in 2011.

The EU acknowledges the importance of CCS, and is planning to support several demonstration facilities. The UK has taken the lead as one of the most active countries. CCS technology also figures prominently in the public debate on new climate technologies in countries such as the US, Canada, Australia and Japan.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs   |   Bookmark and Share