Durban – Climate Change Interview with Prof. Fedora Quattrocchi on CCS –CO2 Capture and Storage

1. HOW FAR ARE THE APPLICATIONS OF CCS (CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE) TECHNOLOGY IN ITALY AND ALL OVER THE WORLD OR RATHER  INJECTING CARBON DIOXIDE OF THE  SYSTEMS INSIDE DEEP GEOLOGICAL DEPOSITS? The recent established “Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute” (  has recently (end 2010) catalogued and analysed potential CCS projects worldwide. A total of 80 large-scale integrated projects in 17 countries are ongoing: Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and US). In Italy the most important CCS integrated project is the ENEL Porto Tolle one (EEPR-ZEPT acronym) using an offshore saline aquifer; anyway also the ENI GHG Project, integrate CO2 storage in a depleted natural gas field with the ENEL

Brindisi Capture pilot-plant. 2. AS FAR AS THE RESEARCH IS CONCERNED ARE THERE ANY BRIGHT NEWS FOR ITS FURTHER DEVELOPMENT? The CCS projects, both demo and commercial, are developing very fast, following the IEA 2009 Road Map, as well as the IPCC, CSLF or DOE-NETL strategy as well as the EU-ZEP operative statements and paths, but some research challenging problems are still persistent: the inland CO2 storage is not yet fully accepted, mostly as a consequence of few people, scientific skills too, dedicated to the spread communication of the risks associated to CO2 storage. Risk assessment must be implemented at all scales for these ongoing piooners projects.Recently, the IEA Monitoring of Blue Map Scenario in Paris (November, 16-17, 2011) highlighted the first de-coupling between CCS scenarios and real CCS paths on field (Quattrocchi, 2011, oral presentation at IEA, storage, and therefore CCS, is not a problem of “potential capacity” underground to store CO2: this is wide and huge as a whole. The biggest problem – apart the CCS cost which is common to other low-carbon technologies- is that the actual gross evaluation of both the European capacity (i.e., CO2Geocapacity EU Project) and global storage capacity potential (i.e.,, CO2CRC Project, 2008) did not taken in consideration enough the “objects” which are intrinsically connected with the main risks associated to CO2 storage as a whole. These objects are affectcing drastically the storage capacity of countries, mostly if geodynamically active and densely populated (see and they are: the diffuse degassing structures, namely the CO2 analogues, mainly the faulted ones and the seismogenic

sources, mainly in geodynamically active faults. Induced seismicity it is becoming a peculiar interesting field of research and risk assessment topic. INGV started to perform the cataloguing these “objects” and topics since 2003, later jointly with RSE (up to a final INGV paper summarising the state of art at INGV (Buttinelli et al., 2011) as benchmark paper worldwide now. Moreover the capacity potential evaluation formulas used till now, by previous worldwide approaches,  are mostly applicable to silicatic-rocks saline aquifers, despite, really, a lot of countries worldwide, are characterised by carbonatic fractured reservoir, with higher secondary injectivity and consequent storage capacity (dual porosity case histories).Apart the above-mentioned problem, another obstacle to a full CCS commercial implementation is the lack of a full coupling between experimental geochemical and geophysical monitoring of true and ongoing CO2 geological storage projects, using a sound set of monitoring wells  and the correspondent numerical modelling, after a sound data collection over a numerous-wells field. This kind of fields are too few worldwide and very often the mono-well fields are located in offshore condition, namely with a unique monitoring well available to validate the numerical modelling output (often de-copupled by the geomechanical part as a whole): it is not already sure that the capacity potential estimation grossly evaluated worldwide is really corresponding to the geological truth.3.

RECENTLY SEVERAL RUMOURS INCREASED AGAINST THIS TECHNOLOGY BOTH FOR COSTS AND FOR POSSIBLE RISKS OF RISING GASES AND NOT LAST BECAUSE IT COULD DIVERT ENERGIES FROM MORE LASTING ACTIONS IN THE DIRECTION OF THE ENERGY DECARBONIZATION. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT IT? Apart the problems highlighted in the previous answer, I could stress that it is very important to open the data-set by operators (mainly oil companies) already injecting CO2 underground to allow the research providers, worldwide, to validate their long-term numerical simulations with these first years of multidisciplinary and multiparametric monitoring. The CO2 leakage episodes, very rare if not absent as a whole, should be “open data set and open monitoring fields” bacheca to allow the research providers a fast check out, together with the NGOs, to verify the fact that the CO2 leakages are really inside the background pre-injection values. The biggest obstacle to this is the permamence of “closed research-lobbies”, mostly in Europe, which do not allow this kind of “open” Monitoring & Verification (M&V) which could add public aceeptance of CCS as a whole. More information: Prof. Fedora Quattrocchi. News from: INGV – Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia

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