Susan Hovorka, a senior research scientist at The University of Texas at Austin, has won the Greenman Award for her significant contributions to the development of greenhouse gas control technologies.
“I am honored to receive this award in recognition of my team’s work,” Hovorka said. “Joining the ranks of the prestigious individuals who have won this in the past illustrates the overall success of our work in greenhouse gas mitigation.”
She received the award last week at the 14th annual Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies (GHGT) conference in Melbourne, Australia.
The award was presented to Hovorka by Kelly Thambimuthu, a scientist who worked on the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The panel, along with former Vice President Al Gore, was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
“Hovorka’s work in carbon dioxide storage has advanced the field of carbon capture and storage (CCS) immeasurably,” said Thambimuthu. “Most priceless of all, she has been a mentor and inspiration to the CCS students she’s advised, and an internationally-influential leader to many technical research teams.”
Only 12 people have received the Greenman Award since its inception in 1996, including this year’s winners.
GCCC is delighted to announce the release of the latest Report of Investigations from the Bureau of Economic Geology titled, Geological CO2 Sequestration Atlas of Miocene Strata, Offshore Texas State Waters. Ramón Treviño and Tip Meckel are the editors of the Atlas, which summarizes research undertaken as part of a multiyear study (2009-2014) of Texas State Waters and the adjacent Federal Offshore Continental Shelf. The goal of the study was to assess and analyze existing data from historical hydrocarbon-industry activities in a regional transect of the Texas coast in order to verify the ability of Miocene-age rocks of the region to safely and permanently store large amounts of anthropogenic (industrial) CO2.
Perhaps the best reason for assessing near-offshore Texas waters is their location in the Gulf of Mexico basin, one of the world’s largest accumulations of porous sedimentary rocks with proven fluid-trapping capabilities. Prior hydrocarbon exploration history has set the stage for successful and low-risk carbon capture and storage (CCS) deployment at offshore locations in general, and the near-offshore waters of Texas in particular. Benefits of these offshore locations include suitable geology, abundant and high-quality geologic data sets, proximity to CO2 sources, reduced risk to shallow sources of drinking water, higher likelihood of public acceptance than for onshore locations, and favorable leasing scenarios from single landholders.
The Atlas provides a resource for exploring the geological CO2 sequestration potential of the near-offshore waters of Texas via large-scale regional and qualitative, as well as detailed quantitative, information that can help operators quickly assess CO2 sequestration potential at specific sites. This is the first comprehensive attempt to accomplish this goal in the near offshore Gulf Coast and United States.
Gulf Coast Carbon Center, along with IEAGHG, Bellona, and CCSA, hosted the only official UNFCCC Side Event on CCS at COP-23 as well as an exhibit booth at the event. In keeping with the theme of the host country, Fiji, the side event explored carbon capture and storage, and its relationship to small island developing states.
Speaking before the 150 attendees, GCCC’s Katherine Romanak explained the evolution of experience gained through the SECARB program, a DOE partnership, monitoring geological storage, which gives confidence to CCS technology. She said, “CCS works, and we know how to show that it works.” Romanak related the potential for storing gigatonnes of CO2 in offshore geologic formations and how environmental monitoring at CCS sites provides additional data on the health of local marine ecosystems. She invited countries interested in exploring their potential for offshore CO2 storage to join an initiative that began as a US DOE-led international project through the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum.
Other speakers included, Carol Turley from Plymouth Marine Laboratory, who discussed problems associated with ocean acidification, which results from the combination of carbon dioxide and seawater, and threatens marine communities throughout the globe. Such climate impacts are already having an effect in Trinidad and Tobago, where panel member David Alexander studies the potential for using CCS with ammonia and LNG production.
Mike Monea from the International CCS Knowledge Centre provided an update on the Boundary Dam project and Keith Whiriskey from Bellona outlined the need for infrastructure development to connect CO2 sources to storage sites. Oslo’s Vice-Mayor Geir Lippestad presented an innovative form of CCS using capture from a waste incineration project. Clara Heuberger of Imperial College provided a perspective on using CCS in support of renewables.
IEAGHGs, Tim Dixon, served as chair, setting the scene for the session, giving an update on how the London Convention was amended to allow for offshore CCS as a climate mitigation technology. He commented that, “the session showed why the oceans need CCS, and how it can be done in the perspective of small island states who need to move beyond their first NDCs to decarbonise their industrial sources.”
The University of Texas at Austin and Bellona Foundation hosted an exhibit booth on CCS Technology led by Hilary Olson. The IEAGHG, Carbon Capture and Storage Association, and CCS Knowledge also provided interesting information on CCS. A great location, hands-on activities, easy to digest FAQs, and insightful diagrams attracted participants from multiple continents to learn more about this carbon mitigation technology. While many people had ‘heard of’ CCS technology, they did not know the details and were interested to have someone explain the technology and how it could impact CO2 levels.
Official UNFCCC coverage of the side event provided by the International Institute for Sustainable Development can be found here. Side Event presentations are available by searching “7 November” and “enhancing ambition” at this link. The entire side event can be viewed online.