Global risk management services foundation Det Norske Veritas (DNV) on Wednesday launched guidelines for the "safe and sustainable" geological storage of carbon dioxide (CO2), which it hoped would speed up the commercial deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS).
The guidelines were freely available on the foundation's website, while the 'recommended practice' (RP) documents, which DNV developed for qualification of capture technology, as well as the design and operation of CO2 pipelines, were available for a fee.
The establishment of the guidelines and the RP documents were compiled through research funded by industry, with contributions from government agencies. The work was expected to benefit both industry and assist regulators, as well as being of interest to technology suppliers.
"We have confidence that the guidelines will be much referenced by authorities," said DNV cleaner energy associate director Ståle Selmer-Olsen, as governments sought to understand how to regulate the use of this relatively new technology and practice.
CCS was relevant to South Africa, because, as Africa's largest emitter of CO2, CCS formed part of the government's ambitions to mitigate greenhouse gases, as outlined in the long-term mitigation scenarios and other documents. A centre for CCS has been established in South Africa, under the leadership of Dr. Tony Surridge, and a storage atlas was being compiled to identify possible geological storage sites in the country.
"These are most valuable documents," said Surridge of the guidelines published by the DNV.
"This certainly helps us to think about strategic steps after the publication of the South African storage atlas," agreed Eskom technology, strategy and planning manager Barry MacColl, who formed part of the South African CCS research delegation visiting Norway this week.
DNV said that deployment of CCS has been hampered by a lack of tailored regulatory frameworks and established industry practices, which was the key motivation for developing the CO2 qualstore guideline for the selection, characterisation and qualification of sites and projects for the storage of CO2.
The guideline, seen as a procedural framework, covers the full life cycle of a CO2 storage project from screening, through to site selection, to closure and transfer of responsibility back to the national state, taking into account the unique characteristics of each site.
"The aim is to accelerate the implementation of CCS by providing a common, predictable, and transparent basis for decision making between project developers, operators and regulators," said the DNV.
"The lack of tailored regulatory frameworks for CO2 geological storage threatened to delay the large-scale adoption of CCS," reiterated DNV project manager Jørg Aarnes, adding that "while CCS alone will not solve the climate change challenge, it is a necessary part of the global mitigation strategy."
"The world energy demand cannot be met in the short term without the continued use of fossil fuels. CCS is the only mature technology that may provide a significant reduction of CO2 emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels, and is, therefore, a key bridging technology to a renewable energy future," Aarnes continued.
The procedural framework was said to mirror the best practices within the oil and gas industry, and reflect existing and emerging regulations and standards and directives relevant to geological storage of CO2. It drew on pilot and research and development CCS projects around the world, and was funded jointly by: Climit; Gassco; Schlumberger; Statoil; BP, BG Group; Shell; Petrobras; RWE; International Energy Agency GHG, Dong Energy; Arup; and Vattenfall.