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Canada and Europe Have Much to Teach Each Other About Carbon Capture and Storage

 Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Source: Leader-Post
Canada and Europe have much to learn from each other in the area of carbon capture and storage (CCS), according to participants at the first France-Canada CCS workshop in Regina this week.
For example, Canada can learn how populous European countries cost-effectively manage their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while Europeans can learn how we inject carbon dioxide in geological formations for long-term storage or enhanced oil recovery (EOR).
"We know that no one country on its own can really get the technology going," said Erik Lysen, project manager for CATO, the national CCS project for the Netherlands. "We need collaboration, we need to exchange information as much as possible to learn what we’ve learned from our projects and what you’ve learned from yours."
Lysen, whose country plans to start two large-scale CCS demonstration projects by 2015, was one of 66 participants in the first-ever CCS workshop, which includes a tour of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Weyburn-Midale CO2 monitoring project.
Lysen said he’s well aware of the criticism of CCS as expensive, unproven technology that will increase our dependence on fossil fuels, considered to be the leading cause of man-made climate change.
But Lysen says CCS is simply one of a number of possible solutions to reduce our GHG emissions, which are linked to climate change.
"We have a climate issue, we have a problem," Lysen said. "We need to do one thing, first of all, to use energy far more efficiently than we’re doing right now. That’s the biggest thing we can do. Secondly, we need stimulate and support renewables as much as possible.
"But knowing that we have so much fossil fuels still remaining for the coming decades, we need CCS to fill the gap. So we need all three."
Steve Whittaker, senior project manager for the Petroleum Technology Research Centre in Regina, said both Canada and Europe can share the technology developed and the experience gained from the various CCS demonstration projects around the world.
"We’ve learned quite a bit from them, and they’ve learned a lot from us, so the collaboration has been beneficial," Whittaker said.
One thing Saskatchewan can show the Europeans is the Weyburn-Midale CO2 monitoring and storage project."It’s probably the largest ongoing monitored CO2 storage site in the world, so there’s a lot of interest,’’ Whittaker said.
Another project of interest to the Europeans is the $1.4-billion CCS demonstration project at SaskPower’s Boundary Dam power station. Mike Monea, vice-president of SaskPower’s integrated carbon capture and sequestration project, said the Europeans want to see how coal-fired generating stations can reduce their GHG emissions, while they possess technology to capture carbon.
"I see both Europe and Canada combining activities to really move this CCS technology and the understanding of how to reduce our carbon footprint," Monea said.
He said SaskPower is close to announcing the type of CCS technology to be used in the Boundary Dam project, along with an estimated capital cost of the project, which will be around $1 billion for the capture portion. "It has to make economic sense or we’re not going to go ahead with it."
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