We’ve mentioned that the Global CCS Institute hosted a number of side-events in Cancun; a short description of each follows.
Friday 3 December 2010 - Carbon-negative biomass-CCS event
Bio-Energy with CCS (BECCS) involves applying CCS technology to biomass CO2. BECCS, in short, opens up the possibility to produce energy while withdrawing more CO2 from the atmosphere than the energy-production process emits.
The Institute released a report on BECCS while in Cancun, giving an overview of a number of CCS bio-mass projects around the world. Check out the BECCS report here.
Many countries, such as Brazil, are interested in understanding what is needed to realise such carbon negative solutions, so it was no surprise to see a number of Brazilian delegates at the event.
Among the speakers were Tone Knudsen from Bellona Foundation, Joris Koornneef from Ecofys, Tim Dixon from the IEAGHG, and Bob Pegler from the Global CCS Institute’s European office.
Bellona’s Tore Knudsen discussed the foundation’s work to promote the combination of CO2 capture and storage with the sustainable production of biomass, like algae, for some time now. Bellona is involved in the Sahara Forest Project, which combines a salt water greenhouse, concentrated solar energy and the cultivation of biomass. The project will also ensure that vegetables can be grown in dry areas while also producing fresh water and biomass for green energy. Knudsen said the project is both a climate solution and a preventative measure against desertification, water scarcity and food shortages.
Joris Koornef of Ecofys argued that there is huge potential for bio-CCS. A recent report from Ecofys found that the technology provides enormous opportunities, but also faces major economic challenges, especially in the absence of a price on carbon.
Tim Dixon of the IEAGHG said deployment of current emissions reduction technologies may not be enough for climate stabilisation. Future emission scenarios as per the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) may require negative emissions, hence making CCS biomass a hot technology. But policy makers need to be educated on biomass CCS, he said. Check out Dixon's presentation here.
Saturday 4 December 2010 - Resolving concerns about CCS in the UNFCCC
This event revolved around the launch of a report done by the World Resources Institute (WRI), with funding from the Global CCS institute. Lead speaker was Sarah Forbes, Senior Researcher at WRI. Other speakers included Tim Dixon; Ellina Levina of the International Energy Agency (IEA), and Paul Zakkour of consultancy Carbon Counts.
WRI’s paper reviewed nine specific topics around CCS technology aspects and policy implications that have been raised within the international negotiations context in the past. It also provides answers around a number of issues including:
- geological storage;
- measurement, reporting and verification;
- environmental impacts;
- project activity boundaries;
- international law;
- long-term liability; safety; and
- insurance coverage.
For instance, questions around the lack of established procedures for addressing short- and long-term liability for CCS have often been raised within UNFCCC negotiations. In response, WRI outlines a range of policy options and approaches that are now being implemented in a number of CCS-active jurisdictions, clarifying any confusion.
“Our key recommendation is to establish best practice criteria with input from a panel of geographically diverse, independent experts with knowledge in the engineering, geological, legal, social, environmental and financial aspects of CCS,” said Forbes.
Monday 6 December 2010 – Industrial uses of CCS event
This panel discussion highlighted the importance of CCS in industry and promoted the ‘Technology Roadmap for Carbon Capture and Storage for Industry,’ produced by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Moderated by the Institute, the event featured as speakers Marina Ploutakhina of UNIDO, Robert Niven of Carbon Sense Solutions, and Paal Frisvold of Bellona.
The UNIDO report introduces CCS as a key CO2 abatement technology in the industry, as CO2 emissions are generally inherent to industrial processes and some industries emit high-purity CO2 in the atmosphere. As a result, CO2 capture could be cost effective. The report focuses on CCS for five industries:
- high-purity CO2 sources (including gas processing and chemical industries);
- iron and steel;
- refineries; and
- biomass-based industrial sources of CO2.
Click here for the full synthesis report. The actual roadmap will be completed in 2011.
Also, you can review Ploutakhina’s presentation here.
Tuesday 7 December 2010 - Global significance of CCS event
This final Iinstitute-hosted side event was the most popular. At standing room only, the event featured high profile speakers from government and industry and drew numerous questions from an attentive audience.
Pegler from the Institute moderated the event. Speakers included: Hon. Robert Renner - Minister of Environment, Alberta, Canada; Jim Mather MSP - Minister for Energy, Scotland; Dave Hawkins - Natural Resource Defense Council; Dr Graeme Sweeney - Shell/ZEP; John Novak - EPRI; Paal Frisvold – Bellona; and Joan MacNaughton - Alstom Power.
Renner, Mather and MacNaughton took the most questions.
MacNaughton’s key message was to get on with creating a market for CCS. Check out Joan MacNaughton's presentation here.
Renner and Mather – representatives from two of the most active CCS regions in the world – spoke of issues at home.
Mather discussed the announcement of the Global CCS Institute’s engagement of Scotland to produce a CCS regulatory test toolkit. It is a tool that governments – whether in Australia or Europe – can use to test the strength of their regulatory systems relating to CCS.
The toolkit is now being designed by the Scottish CCS Centre in Edinburgh, with support by the Scottish Government and the Scottish European Green Energy Centre. It builds on a ‘dry-run’ regulatory simulation of a hypothetical CCS project run in Scotland in August 2010, which brought together regulatory agencies, project developers, public interest groups and others including the Institute. The toolkit is due for release in February 2011.
Scotland is leading efforts across the world to make sure that CCS is properly and safely regulated, Mather said.
Renner also touted Alberta’s efforts in CCS as ‘world leading.’ The province is investing $2 billion on four CCS projects. It is also leading the way in setting up a legal and regulatory framework to enable the safeand effective deployment of CCS projects.
Renner said Alberta has a record to be proud of, and an important story to tell.