UKCCSRC Knowledge Exchange Conference – Parallel 2b: Emerging Solutions (ECR Meeting Fund)

Benedict Aduomahor (Heriot-Watt University) and Sunera Athauda (Cranfield University) share their takeaways from “Parallel 2b: Emerging Solutions” at the UKCCSRC Knowledge Exchange Conference 2023.

The UKCCSRC Knowledge Exchange Conference was a gathering of leading experts across the full CCUS chain – from capture, transportation, storage and financing. The event kicked off with a warm welcome from Jon Gibbins (UKCCSRC and University of Sheffield) and Mohamed Pourkashanian (Energy Institute and University of Sheffield), followed by a thought-provoking keynote address by Ruqaiyah Patel (UKRI-EPSRC), setting the stage for what promised to be an insightful conference.

The second day of the conference delved into a spectrum of topics, including discussions on ‘CO2 Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Emerging Solutions’. The opening presentation was by Marius Dewar (from the Plymouth Marine Laboratory), who shared insights on ensuring the integrity of CO2 storage through the power of big data analysis and the development of swift, site-specific marine monitoring programs. Marius’s presentation highlighted a significant challenge – the formulation of effective monitoring strategies for offshore CO2 storage, both from regulatory and operator perspectives. The solution proposed was multi-faceted: aiming to demonstrate regulatory compliance, instil confidence, offer quantifiable monitoring strategies, and address operational, regulatory, and societal expectations simultaneously.

The optimal plan advocated for an evidence-based approach, showcasing the chosen strategy’s ability to meet monitoring requirements. However, Marius also emphasised the critical need for transparent communication, especially when dealing with uncertainties, to engage stakeholders, governments and the wider public effectively.

The final presentation, ‘Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of CO2 storage: examples’ was delivered by Chris Holdsworth (from the University of Edinburgh and Carbfix), outlining the joint venture between Switzerland-based Climeworks and Iceland-based Carbfix, named ‘ORCA DAC Project’. Unlike the utilisation of geophysical trapping and monitoring by its Sleipner counterpart, ORCA DAC utilises geochemical-based trapping and monitoring, requiring underground in-situ CO2 mineralisation: the reaction of injected water-dissolved CO2 (i.e., CO32-) and basalt (i.e., Ca/Mg/Fe) to form mineralised CO2 (i.e., CaCO3/MgCO3/FeCO3), and the monitoring of injected radioactive (e.g. 14C) and unreactive (e.g. noble gas/SF6) tracers to verify CO2 sequestration. This presentation defined the crucial validation of the quantity and lifetime of CO2 storage required for financing and authenticating CO2 removal, capture, and storage projects, as a means for the alleviation of global warming and climate change.

In conclusion, the UKCCSRC Knowledge Exchange Conference proved to be a rewarding and enriching experience for all attendees. The discussions and insights shared during the event serve as valuable resources for addressing the challenges and opportunities in the field of carbon capture, utilisation and storage.