An account of the 2017 IEAGHG International CCS summer school by Jean-Michel Bellas

2017 IEAGHG International CCS summer school, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, 17th to 22nd July 2017.

On the final approach to Regina international airport one thing you notice is the number of trees and how green the city is, where for the second consecutive year, the 2017 IEAGHG International CCS summer school was held at the University of Regina, hosted by the International CCS knowledge centre. The start of the week involved a networking dinner, where Tim Dixon, Technical programme manager for IEAGHG, welcomed the 36 students from 14 nations which were followed by a series of opening speeches from Innovation Saskatchewan and the International CCS knowledge centre. This networking opportunity allowed the students to meet each other and the CCS experts, who delivered the technical programme throughout the week.

Day two involved a series of presentations outlining climate change, the global CCS scene, energy systems modelling, oxyfuel, pre and post combustion CO2 capture, and international and national policy. In addition, students learnt about legal, regulatory and carbon accounting and the importance of economics and financing commercial CCS operations.

Following the final presentation on day two, all the students were split into six groups, assigned two mentors and set a research question to answer. The question posed for my group was should CCS be mandatory in the developed world? My group worked together each evening after the formal lectures concluded and prepared a presentation which we delivered on the final day of the summer school. This presentation was set at a United Nations (UN) climate change conference, where each group member had a specific role including, UN secretary general, two UN technical experts and two developed nations. Firstly, we defined what a developed country was, then created a simple CCS suitability index using storage capacity, energy mix and emissions as markers to categorise countries into three indices. These included mandatory CCS is required, mandatory CCS would be required in a specific time period and mandatory CCS is not required. Following this, we debated the pros and cons of applying mandatory CCS between two developed nations, the Netherlands and Canada. Subsequently, the UN secretary general summarised our work and provided conclusions and recommendations going forward. After this, we answered questions from the expert panel.

The third day of the summer school involved a tour of Sask Power Boundary Dam and Shand CCS facilitates including a visit to the Aquistore project.  This visit provided me and my colleagues with an opportunity see the scale of the world’s first commercial CCS plant and ask questions to the technical staff operating these facilities.  I found the scale of the Shand Facility, which is a 100 tonne per day CO2 capture R&D demonstration plant, amazing! Compared to the pilot scale facilities I work at in the UK, these facilities are incredible.

The final three days of the summer school involved a range of technical presentations focusing on CO2 storage, utilisation and transportation. In addition, lectures were given on stakeholder engagement, health and safety, monitoring, and environmental impacts of CCS with a closing Q&A session to the CCS expert panel. The final day involved group presentations, followed by a technical writing lecture and a final dinner and awards evening.

The IEAGHG International CCS summer school has provided me with an excellent opportunity to learn about the full CCS chain from an international perspective. This experience has enabled me to meet new friends and colleagues from around the world with a range of educational backgrounds who are committed to mitigating climate change. The attendees of the summer school are all working diligently within their own nations to advance the deployment and application of CCS. Upon reflection during my return flight back to the UK, I leave the summer school with great enthusiasm for CCS, which has been inspired by the motivation and commitment of the students and the wisdom and knowledge of the mentors who I have worked with throughout the week.