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Paul Jensen (ALS Laboratory group), Nick Hudson (CTSCo) and Katherine Romanak (BEG) stand beside one of the soil gas stations being used for real-time environmental monitoring at the Surat Basin CCS demonstration site. The project is upscaling and improving on Romanak’s initial design for using commercially available sensors for real-time data collection at CO2 geological storage sites. (e.g. Romanak et al., 2014, Energy Procedia 63 ( 2014 ) 4027 – 4030; Romanak, 2015, Chapter 38, in Gerdes, K. F., ed., Carbon dioxide capture for storage in deep geological formations–results from the CO2 Capture Project, Volume 4: CCS Technology Development and Demonstration Results (2009-2014): UK, CPL Press and BP, p. 705-732.)

From February 24- March 7, 2017,  Katherine Romanak travelled to Queensland Australia to provide expertise and conduct research in environmental monitoring for the  Carbon Transport and Storage Corporation Pty Ltd (CTSCo) Surat CCS demonstration projectThe project is designed to demonstrate the technical viability, integration and safe operation of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the Surat Basin. Currently in the feasibility study stage, the project is undergoing assessments and approvals in environmental, social and technical aspects, under the relevant government regulation.)

Romanak’s research project is funded by the Australian National Low Emissions Coal Research and Development Ltd (ANLEC R&D) on behalf of the Australian coal industry and the Australian Commonwealth government. This project will support compliance with environmental requirements for Monitoring and Verification (M&V), including early communication with CTSCo Surat Basin Project stakeholders. The research will help to define a way forward for environmental monitoring at the CTSCo Surat Basin project site and ultimately at project sites within other Australian sedimentary basins.

The hypothesis being tested is that simple soil gas ratios can be used for real-time accurate environmental signal attribution, even in hydrocarbon-rich environments. Also being tested is the degree to which isotopes can be used for signal attribution. This research will give an indication of the most useful methods for environmental compliance and near-surface (M&V) at the CTSCo Surat CCS demonstration project and beyond.
  • COP20  side event team in Lima Peru. Left to right: Mike Monea, Saskpower: Vanessa Nunez-Lopez BEG: Tim Dixon, IEAGHG: Katherine Romanak, BEG: Paulo Negrais Carneiro Seabra, Petrobras
    COP20 side event team in Lima Peru. Left to right: Mike Monea, Saskpower: Vanessa Nunez-Lopez BEG: Tim Dixon, IEAGHG: Katherine Romanak, BEG: Paulo Negrais Carneiro Seabra, Petrobras

    In Lima, Peru at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP) 20 last week, GCCC’s Vanessa Nunez-Lopez and Katherine Romanak built on CCS momentum by hosting an information booth and an official side event with IEAGHG titled “New large-scale carbon capture and storage projects operating in the Americas.”

    The event showed the viability of CCS as a mitigation tool. Projects in various modes of deployment were highlighted including a summary of USA projects (emphasizing the role of the GCCC), the start of the Boundary Dam project in Saskatchewan, Canada, and Petrobras’ strategies for using CCS to manage the CO2 co-produced with Pre-salt hydrocarbons.

    GCCC also presented information about an initiative for a global collaboration on an offshore demonstration project spearheaded by both the GCCC and the U.S. Department of Energy through the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum. IEAGHG summarized the significance of these projects in light of the anticipated climate agreement to be negotiated in Paris in 2015.

    The GCCC/IEAGHG-hosted event was well-attended and well received. One Washington DC-based attendee summarized the impact of the discussions, “I didn’t believe CCS could work but now I see that it can, because you are actually doing it.”

    Presentations given at the side event can be viewed here:

    New Large-scale Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Projects Operating in the Americas
    SaskPower CCS Conference of the Parties
    Petrobras’ Offshore CO2 Management – Pre-salt development management
    USA large scale onshore projects/Global offshore demonstration project

    GCCC’s first technical input to the UNFCCC was in 2011 when we presented research on groundwater protection and monitoring at both a UNFCCC workshop held in Abu Dhabi, UAE and at a side event at COP 17 in Durban, South Africa. Both events were designed to inform policy-makers about the latest CCS research relevant to negotiations on whether CCS should be included in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) for developing countries. GCCC technical input contributed to inclusion of CCS in the CDM which has set the stage for CCS to be recognized in other UNFCCC mechanisms including the finance mechanism of the Green Climate Fund, which recently reached a total of $10 billion in pledges.

    Katherine Romanak and Vanessa Nunez Lopez at the UNFCCC climate talks.