ECR Meeting Fund – IEAGHG Summer School (Winter 2022!)

Rory Leslie was supported by UKCCSRC to attend the International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas (IEAGHG) Summer School – not a typo! – in Bandung, Indonesia from 27th November to 4th December.

This year’s IEAGHG Summer School in Bandung, Indonesia was the first in-person Summer School since 2019, when it was held in Regina, Canada. Many of this year’s students applied for the Summer School way back in 2019 and were excited to finally meet each other. A big thanks is due to Samantha Neades, the programme organiser, for bringing us all together after a difficult few years. Due to Covid-related postponements, the usual scheduling of July was replaced with late November-early December, but the title of ‘Summer School’ still felt appropriate, since Indonesia is hot all year round! This Summer School was especially significant for being the first ever hosted in Asia.

In total, 45 students from over 25 different countries attended, a talented and diverse group of early career researchers and young professionals who brought a wide range of different expertise. Almost half of the cohort came from Indonesia and Timor-Leste and were fantastic at providing a local and regional context to the event.

The Summer School was led by a world-renowned team of CCS experts: Tim Dixon (IEAGHG Director), Dr Katherine Romanak (University of Texas at Austin), Professor John Kaldi (University of Adelaide) and Dr Mohammad Rachmat Sule (Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), the Summer School host institution). The team was completed by mentors from the several of the sponsoring companies.

Presenting at the IEAGHG Summer School

Throughout the week we worked on group projects looking at the future of CCS. My group was tasked with answering the question “what role will CCS play in a low-carbon hydrogen economy?”

The Summer School covered all aspects of carbon capture and storage (CCS), including geoscience, capture technology, regulation, transportation and public perception. Many of the presentations were given by the faculty of ITB, including Dr Bonar Marbun, who gave an excellent talk on well integrity concerns in Indonesia. Remote presentations allowed us to learn from a range of global experts, such as Jen Wilcox from the US Department of Energy, who discussed the role of CO2 removal in the path to net-zero. During the week, a consensus emerged that there is a strong scientific and technological case for CCS, and that economic and social factors are the final hurdles before large scale deployment.

With its walkable neighbourhoods and cool mountain climate, Bandung was a very pleasant location for the summer school. ITB is a world-class STEM-focused university with a beautiful campus and the ITB student ambassadors were excellent hosts (special thanks to Amanda, Fery and Fiyya). Bandung is a historically significant place, as it was the location of the first Asian-African Conference in 1955. The role of CCS in emerging economies and south-south cooperation will be key themes in the coming decades.

Attendees of the IEAGHG summer school 2022

Bandung was great location for the Summer School and the students and staff at ITB made us feel incredibly welcome

We were lucky to have an end-of-week dinner and awards ceremony at the Savoy Homann Hotel, which hosted the world leaders of the historic Asian-African conference. Before the dinner, we were treated to a performance of gamelan music and traditional dance from ITB’s Balinese student society. The best summer school student awards were won by Katherine Beltrán Jiménez from the Norwegian Research Centre and Debanjan Chandra from Delft University of Technology. Great job guys!

Bandung and the surrounding area also provided excellent locations for field visits. We visited the Samator CO2 plant, which purifies CO2 from local oil and gas production and supplies it to the beverage industry and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations. Another stop was the Jatibarang oil field, which uses the CO2 from the Samator CO2 plant. The Jatibarang CO2 EOR project is led by Pertamina, the Indonesia national energy company. The project is the first commercial demonstration of CO2 injection in Indonesia and is an important milestone on the way to large-scale CO­2 capture and storage in Indonesia.

Visitors at the Samator CO2 plant

The Samator CO2 plant was a great place to see CO2 purification and transport first-hand

Indonesia’s location on the geologically active ‘ring of fire’ was apparent throughout the trip. On Saturday 3rd December we visited the Kamojang geothermal field, also operated by Pertamina. The field taps into a vast geothermal resource associated with nearby volcanic activity. The Kamojang field is a great example of sustainable, low-carbon energy production. It shows the potential future of low-emissions energy in Indonesia, using the abundant geothermal resource alongside abated fossil fuels.

People walking through a steaming geothermal field

The Kamojang geothermal field is spread over a huge area of forest. We had the chance to visit many of the naturally occurring geothermal springs.

After six days of lectures, site visits and group work, we found time for some fun. Our hosts at ITB organised a final send off at the beautiful Kampung Sampireun resort. We stayed in luxury bungalows surrounding a lake in the West Java countryside. After learning some Indonesian dancing and taking part in team building games, we had our final dinner as a group, followed by karaoke and more dancing.

Two wooden boats being rowed

Boat racing on the lake was one of the activities at Kampung Sampireun

After a busy week, the 2022 IEAGHG Summer School cohort said their goodbyes. The event has been the best networking opportunity of my PhD and I have formed friendships which stretch across the world. I have also gained access to a wider network of over 550 alumni from the previous 13 Summer Schools, with this group of alumni representing a not-inconsiderable proportion of the global CCS talent pool. I am already arranging meet-ups with my fellow students, and discussing opportunities for future collaborations.

I want to take the opportunity to thank the IEAGHG organising committee for delivering a great event and UKCCSRC for their travel grant. I recommend that all PhDs, post-docs and young professionals working in CCS consider attending the IEAGHG Summer School. It was educational, a lot of fun and has given me connections that will undoubtedly have an ongoing positive impact on my career in CO2 storage.

Rory Leslie presenting

Rory Leslie is a PhD student researching geological CO2 storage at the University of Edinburgh, School of GeoSciences. Rory’s research is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Equinor ASA.

Photograph credits: ITB and IEAGHG