There is no longer any doubt on the fact that CO2 capture, storage and reuse offers an interesting solution to GHG emissions. Yet, the idea still needs to overcome some obstacles to spread at a large scale across the globe..
One of the priorities is to be able to guarantee the safety of the discipline over time
Controlling environmental and health impacts is a primary challenge for the development of CCUS, which is why the research effort on this issue is considerable and sustained. Methodologies are currently being developed for capture, transportation systems, the selection of storage sites, long-term prediction of the impacts of CO2 on the reservoir and the environment in case of leaks, risk evaluation, and daily monitoring of the sites.
Accompany public debate
How will the consultation around storage projects be organized?
Experience feedback from the first projects to demonstrate CO2 capture and storage in Europe put this issue at the heart of the concerns for the actors of CCUS.
National and international surveys so far show that little is known about the technology. During the sessions organized to inform populations, many questions reappear about the duration and safety of CO2 storage, revealing serious concern over the risks of leaks.
Locally, it is essential to communicate and inform on the impacts and risks associated. An important work will have to be carried out to explain and dialogue with the various social actors and population near the storage sites that are shortlisted for each project, with processes and consultation methodologies clearly established.
Ensure CCUS is competitive
Faced with the decision to limit global temperature rise to 2°C, the issue is no longer to know whether or not to implement mitigation actions, but to know the safer and economically viable option to do that.
Currently, energy consumption is the main budget item for CCUS processes. The major progresses should be coming from R&D, which study less energy-consuming options, more efficient techniques, and processes for CO2 reuse that would be susceptible to improve the discipline’s competitiveness.
In terms of economic policies, the implementation of incentives or international policies such as a carbon tax and CO2 emission quotas will help spread CCUS, reduce related costs, and consequently make it competitive compared to power stations that are not equipped with a CO2 capturing system.
Establish a solid and lasting legal framework
A legal framework is a prerequisite before developing the field to an industrial scale
The European directive dated April 23, 2009 relating to geological storage of carbon dioxide defines the conditions for selecting a storage site, implements a license to store, and devises the obligations related to the exploitation, closure and post-closure of a storage site.
France already transposed the directive by announcing a decree on geological storage at the end of 2011. Until the other European countries implement the directive, there still needs to define rules for long-term responsibility, essential to a good management of storage sites – defining accountabilities in the case of leaks, and the role and responsibility of the State.
Maintain a pro-active involvement from states
Public powers have a critical part to play in creating a framework favorable to the development of the discipline
All the national and international experts agree on the fact that without clear definition of the function of the State or strong legal standards, the conditions necessary to the development of CCUS as a mitigation option will not be met.
The investment costs linked to CCUS, just as for alternative energies, are too high. In order to stay competitive in the area and encourage private actors to invest into the technologies, governments must organize a financial architecture that is compatible with the characteristics of the discipline (incentives, support to demonstrators and CO2 reuse…).
In France, the ADEME and ANR subsidize Research and Development projects since 2001 and 2005 respectively to help expand the technology. In 2009, the Government acknowledged CO2 Capture, Storage and Reuse as one of the 18 strategic fields of the green economy and ordered an analysis on the subject to identify operational priorities and devise specific action plans.
At the European level, the efforts to strengthen growth and stay competitive are lead by the “Programmes-cadre” for technological research and development (PCRD), and in 2010 by the NER300, first invitation to tender on industrial-scale CCUS demonstration projects.
World governance is also expected, which began in 1997 with the Kyoto protocol, and more recently with the last United Nations conference on climate in Durban (2011). Nevertheless, various obstacles must still be overcome before all countries agree on the policies to adopt for climate regulation, and this will remain the main challenge of the 21st century.