What can YOU learn from the Rotterdam CCS approach?

2012-04-24 07:49 by Anja Reitz

I led the project to analyse and evaluate Rotterdam's CCS approach. The final report of that project is now completed and available. The report offers more than I had expected at the start: one can learn a lot from the Rotterdam case. Through workshops which we've held in other corners of the globe, we've found that the lessons learnt are useful for a broad variety of people and organisations. I am also very proud of how the report came together – it is very readable and well-designed.

It took some time before the Rotterdam community was able to define and take ownership of an ambitious climate action plan. However, when we decided to set off down that road in 2007, all the most appropriate people were involved in the Rotterdam Climate Initiative (RCI). Industry, politicians and authorities showed real commitment, and they have sustained that commitment. Our main lesson is that you need (sustained) commitment of a coalition of all relevant parties. 

The unique feature of the RCI plan is the pivotal role which CCS plays. The Rotterdam area is a heavily industrialised port with a high throughput of fossil fuels (mainly coal and crude oil as imports, and since last year, also LNG) as well as coal- and gas-fired power plants, refineries, and petrochemical industries. The combination of current and possible future industry, the ambition to stay the biggest European Energy Port, and the ambitious emission reduction goals set by the RCI led to the conclusion that CCS was a necessity. And that it would represent a competitive advantage to be the first port with a comprehensive CO2 infrastructure. Therefore, CCS became, and still is, the core of the approach to obtain a sustainable energy port.

CCS for Rotterdam means a cluster approach with multiple sources, a common carrier CO2 infrastructure and multiple storage locations in the North Sea. That is also an important part of the commitment towards CCS: the local possibilities and the local necessity together are very helpful.

From 2007 until now, many activities have been undertaken. A short version of that story is given in the report – moving from a common vision towards concrete plans for real capture, transport and storage projects. Now in 2012, the Rotterdam area boasts one large-scale project (the ROAD project of E.ON and GdF Suez) on the brink of taking a final investment decision (FID); and one large-scale project (the Green Hydrogen project of Air Liquide) is up and running for the European tender (NER300).

What was the general view on the activities of the Rotterdam CCS project? The project team gathered a good deal of data and opinions. Most external people had (and still have) a positive appreciation. The reasons and the highlights of their views, however, differed largely. For us, the analysts, it was a tough job to draw useful conclusions from all the interviews and workshops. Finally, we managed to find a way to present the results. It is perhaps an unusual approach, but we defined four voices to present four perspectives: four personas to materialise the opinions we'd heard and to give them an understandable and real voice. For example, one of the voices is that of a politician. The politician persona is the Governor of a major region in Europe outside the Netherlands where CCS is also on the agenda. In the report, her staff writes memorandums to her on five key events of the Rotterdam project and she acts accordingly. These stories give you an idea of the way politicians think and, of course, the opinion of a politician on the Rotterdam project. The results presented for all four voices are rather attractive – not only in terms of their content and insight, but also in their layout. Read it yourself and discover the different flavours.


Source: Global CCS Institute - blogs by Barend Van Engelenburg (24 Apr 2012)

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