Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The EU joins forces with international partners on research to "clean up" fossil fuels

26.06.2003


Today in Washington the European Commission, represented by Loyola de Palacio, Vice President in charge of Energy and Transport, signed an international charter on CO2 capture and storage (CO2/carbon sequestration).

This will create the “Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum” with Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Italy, India, Japan, Mexico, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the US. The Forum aims to stimulate research into carbon sequestration technologies, to “clean up” fossil fuels by capturing CO2 at source and storing it for thousands of years deep underground. This will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Vice president De Palacio said: “We are committed to meeting the Kyoto Protocol targets, through the enhanced use of renewable energy sources, and more efficient use of energy. All these efforts are on track through brand new legislation adopted in the last few years. Carbon sequestration complements these efforts. The agreement signed today offers opportunities for deeper cuts in emissions well beyond the Kyoto 2012 horizon, as a further contribution in the crucial fight against climate change.”



Speaking from Brussels, European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin stressed that EU research leads in this field: “During the past ten years we have funded research projects worth over €30 million. We will now intensify our efforts by supporting ambitious research projects, totalling some €200 million, to address scientific, technological and other barriers to carbon sequestration. The main goal is to check if carbon sequestration in geological formations is environmentally sound and cost effective. This research could also have an important impact in the field of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, facilitating the clean production of hydrogen from fossil fuels. We look forward to working with other international partners to develop this promising technology.”

Why carbon sequestration?

The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing because of emissions from fossil fuel combustion boosting the natural greenhouse effect, leading to climate change. Power generation, transport, industry and domestic uses are contributing to this increase. The EU committed itself in the Kyoto Protocol to reducing its Green House Gases (GHG) emissions by 8% in the 2008-2012 period compared to 1990 levels.

However, in order to stabilize GHG concentrations in the atmosphere at acceptable levels, much deeper cuts in emissions (by more than 50% globally over the next 50 years) will be necessary. CO2 sequestration could help to meet this goal by capturing CO2 at source and storing it in geological formations.

Other options to limit CO2 emissions, in the energy and transport sectors, include reducing energy consumption, increasing energy efficiency, using low-carbon fuels, and increasing the use of energy sources with low to zero CO2 emissions, such as renewables. In addition, it is necessary to enhance the carbon sink capacity of the biosphere (e.g. forests).

Industrial applications

Coal use for power generation is forecast to increase significantly in the coming decades. Carbon sequestration could be incorporated in power plants that are using coal or natural gas. Capture and storage technologies are best applied in connection with large-scale energy conversion plants such as coal power plants and oil refineries. Carbon sequestration offers the possibility for new industrial applications such as the production of hydrogen, together with electricity, from fossil fuels. The CO2 produced as a by-product could be captured and stored underground.

The European market for carbon sequestration could be large enough for a strong domestic industry sector. But carbon sequestration is not yet economically competitive. It is at the moment more expensive compared to other available options to reduce CO2 emissions in the production of electricity. Nevertheless, with the need for more extensive CO2 emission cuts in the future, carbon sequestration technology could become economically attractive.

How does carbon sequestration work?

For CO2 storage to be an effective way of reducing the risk of climate change, carbon must be stored for thousands of years. Storage must have low environmental impact, acceptable cost and conform to national and international laws. The main options for storing CO2 underground are in depleted oil and gas reservoirs, deep saline reservoirs and unminable coal seams. Already today CO2 is injected underground in many Enhanced Oil Recovery projects.

Underground storage of natural gas, an analogous technique, is widely practised and does not pose safety concerns. However, as CO2 is an asphyxiant and heavier than air, the highest possible safety standards have to be implemented, so as to avoid slow leakage or sudden large-scale release resulting from seismic activity. Underground water sources must also be protected.

| European Commission
Further information:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/energy/nn/nn_rt_co1_en.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Contacting the molecular world through graphene nanoribbons

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

When Proteins Shake Hands

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

Cells communicate in a dynamic code

19.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>