ZERO and CCS: 10 years on the carbon-free trail

2012-10-03 09:05 by Anja Reitz

When ZERO was formed back in September 2002, we made a pledge to promote carbon-free energy solutions, such as renewables, CO2-free fuels for transport and, of course, carbon capture and storage (CCS). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was soon to meet in Regina, Canada, to discuss the merits of CCS in reducing global emissions. Those of us in Norway already knew its potential – the Snøhvit and Sleipner West gas fields being good examples.

So, as well as lobbying for renewable solutions and energy efficiency, ZERO’s founding members decided to make a strong case for large-scale CCS projects. We began in our own backyard, campaigning for the realisation of projects in Norway. After successive disappointments, such as delays with CCS demonstration projects at Mongstad and Kårstø, we broadened our outlook to the progress being made in other parts of the world. Initially, we focused on coal and gas power plants. Later we began to see the huge potential for its use also within the processing industry – such as steel, cement and fertiliser. 

The need to get demonstration projects off the blocks – and soon – is a given, but we have also been pushing hard to help create the right environment for industry and investors, namely, supportive political, regulatory and financial mechanisms, as well as effective public engagement.

The clock is ticking if we are to meet the huge reductions in emissions needed to keep global temperature increases to below 2 C. Against this backdrop – and on our 10th anniversary – we’ve been reflecting on the role ZERO has played on this long yet necessary road:

  • Pre-2002: Individuals who will later form ZERO are engaged in CCS work, either as technical experts or within NGOs.
  • 2002: ZERO is founded, committed to tackling climate change by promoting carbon-free energy solutions.
  • 2003: Norway’s parliament produces White Paper on CCS and decides to back the technology.
  • 2004: State body Gassnova is formed to progress CCS in Norway. ZERO and industry stakeholders in Grenland submit report to government, with focus on industry and gas power plants.
  • 2005: Norway’s government promises – in its “Soria Moria Declaration” – no new plants without CCS and a clean gas-fired power plant no later than 2009.
  • 2006: Permit granted for new power plant at Mongstad. Government and Statoil agree to build technology test centre, with full-scale CCS installed four years after start-up.
    ZERO’s case for CCS from Day 1 is not supported, but the first major grant for CCS, for Kårstø power plant, is included in national budgeting process. 
  • 2007: ZERO is part of a EU funded R&D project into CO2 storage in Skagerrak. “Skagerrak CO2”, later called “Interreg, Skanled” . ZERO focuses to North Sea for long-term storage , and analyzes the potential for a Norwegian- British pipeline infrastructur. Snøhvit LNG plant starts up with CCS.
  • 2008: ZERO broadens its role in information-sharing and advocacy for CCS internationally. Detailed report published in English, and parts of CCS website translated for international audience. The first international event held – an NGO seminar on CCS in London.
  • 2009: Norway’s government brings in legal requirement for CCS from Day 1 for Industrikraft Møre’s permit to build gas-fired power plant. ZERO employs a full-time staff member to work with CCS globally. NGO meeting and CCS seminar in Copenhagen. ZERO launches CCS portal, which quickly becomes key tool in international role.
  • 2010:  ZERO’s CCS work expands to include Germany. Office set up in Berlin to support efforts to deploy CCS technologies there. Claims over emissions of nitrosamines from CCS plants hit the headlines - ZERO plays a key role in refuting claims. ZERO becomes one of 24 partner organisations in European RISCS project on impacts of geological storage of CO2 and development of long-term storage legislation.
  • 2011: ZERO increases focus on benefits of CCS within processing industries. ENGO Network on CCS is formed to promote safe, effective and timely deployment of CCS - ZERO is a founding member. A coordinator, based in Texas, is appointed by the network.
  • 2012: ZERO seminar on industrial CCS held in Berlin amid Germany’s attempts to transpose European Directive on CCS into national law.
  • Into the future: talks over involvement in Boundary Dam CCS project in Canada look set to bear fruit, while ZERO's work to support the pioneers of CCS continues. Watch this space. . .


Source: Carbon capture and strorage newsletter - 01 October 2012

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