An Introduction to the Use of Underground and CCS
EDI gathers and shares knowledge about the technical, economic and political aspects related to the use of geological formations and, in particular, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). The focus is on economic feasibility, public acceptance, legislative aspects, safety, and environmental issues.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is increasingly recognized around the world as a potential means for climate change mitigation. It has already been included in various long-term carbon abatement strategies of many countries and international organizations.
CCS is not a single technology, but refers to a range of technologies that aim to capture CO2 emissions from fossil fuels either before or after fuel combustion in power stations, and store the captured CO2 in underground geological formations, such as empty oil and gas fields¹. Once CO2 is injected into the deep underground (typically more than 800m), it is trapped in very small pores and spaces in the rock structure and stays there for several centuries². However, the safety of underground CO2 storage and the possibility of its ‘leakage and escape’ to the atmosphere is a hot topic which generates much public debate and demands further research. Besides the storage option, captured CO2 can also be used as a feedstock in chemical industry, or as a fertilizer for green-house agriculture and other applications (e.g. algae).
Over 90% of the CO2 produced by fossil fuels in large installations can technically be captured by applying CCS technology³. When considering the power generation sector, CCS is a technology that can significantly reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Worldwide, coal is still the predominant fuel for electricity generation. It accounts for around 40% of global CO2 emissions4, and, according to various publications, the use of coal may even increase in the coming decades. Although currently CCS is often linked to coal-based power production, it can also be applied to power plants that operate on natural gas instead of coal, or any industry emitting CO2.
Despite growing international interest in CCS, no commercial fully-integrated power plant with CCS has yet been built4. Currently, there is still a critical need for CCS demonstration projects for developing and improving capture technologies in various applications and proving the safe and secure long-term storage of CCS.
Besides providing general information about CCS, on this website we will also provide more fundamental research papers and keep you updated on current developments in this field.
¹Global CCS Institute (2011). The global status of CCS: 2010.
²CO2 Capture Project (2010). Brochure on CO2 capture and storage.
³UNIDO (2010). Carbon capture and storage in Industrial applications: Technology synthesis report.
4Coninck, H, de., Stephends, J.C., & Metz, B. (2009). Global learning on carbon capture and storage. A call for strong international cooperation on CCS demonstration.