IEAGHG 13th CCS Summer School

The CCS Summer School, in its 13th year this year, is a sought-after event where postgraduate and postdoctoral CC(U)S students from around the world meet and spend a week together with world renowned CCS experts. During this busy and exciting week, they get to learn about the entire CC(U)S chain, as well as work together in multidisciplinary groups to tackle CCS-related issues. This year, six students sponsored by the UKCCSRC were selected to attend the summer school. These were Adeola Awoyomi (University of Cranfield), Abdul’Aziz A. Aliyu (University of Sheffield), Humera Ansari (Imperial College London), MennatAllah Labib (University of Edinburgh), Tomos Phillips (Heriot Watt University) and Yongliang (Harry) Yan (Cranfield University). This was their take on the summer school this year.

Sunday the 7th of July 2019

This year’s summer school kicked off with light dinner and networking on Sunday night. It was a nice relaxed start to an exciting week with a few introductory words from Mike Monea (International CCS Knowledge Centre and the man who was in charge of creating and building the world’s first CCS plant at Boundary Dam) and Tim Dixon (IEAGHG).

Monday the 8th of July 2019

The 13th IEAGHG CCS summer school began with an introduction to the IEAGHG and the various sponsors of the event. Beth Hardy from the CCS Knowledge Centre gave an overview of climate change, and various reports (IPCC AR5) and initiatives (Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement). This presentation emphasised the need for CCS and essentially, why we are discussing this important topic. Tim Dixon from the IEAGHG built upon this further by giving an overview of the main sources of emissions, mitigation measures and the portfolio of technologies available to us, finally delving into CCS to explain the “Global CCS Scene”. He highlighted some of the main CCS projects happening worldwide with an important caveat: CCS is not “on track” with a 2°C pathway.

The next session focused entirely on the storage aspect of CCS. We had the first talk from John Kaldi (University of Adelaide) on introductory geology, trapping mechanisms, and estimating storage capacity. This was followed by learning about migration pathways of CO2 from Erik Nickel (PTRC) and two important and successful storage projects happening in Saskatchewan, Canada: The Weyburn project and Aquistore. Mike Monea (CCS Knowledge Centre) wrapped up this session by examining Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) using CO2, a key method utilised in the province.

CO2 capture was up next. Doug Daverne (SaskPower) talked about Oxyfuel technology; Mike Monea (CCS Knowledge Centre) discussed post-combustion capture in the context of Boundary Dam while Tiffany Wu (MHI) spoke about the Petra Nova project. Lastly, Brent Jacobs (CCS Knowledge Centre) talked about pre-combustion capture technology.

The last section in the lecture series for the day was about policy on the national scale, explained by Beth Hardy (CCS Knowledge Centre), deploying CCS in developing countries such as Indonesia (Rachmut Sule, ITB) and the perspective of NGOs and Unions (given by Tim Dixon at IEAGHG and Cory Channon at Boilermakers). The main takeaway point here was to engage with these groups and create a dialogue to address their concerns. To wrap up the day, we were introduced to our group members and our project topic that we would be working on for the rest of the week, after which the group work commenced.



Tuesday the 9th of July 2019

The second day kicked off with three sessions related to CO2 storage. First of all Amgad Salama (University of Regina) told us about how CO2 sequestration in deep geological formations can be modelled, followed by Katherine Romanak (University of Texas at Austin), who discussed both onshore and offshore shallow monitoring; it was very interesting to find out how complicated shallow monitoring is, and how geologists can differentiate between anthropogenic and natural emissions. Thirdly, Chris Hawkes (University of Saskatchewan) informed us about the various aspects of deep monitoring onshore.

After the break, the topic of different CO2 utilisation pathways was covered, and why CO2 has the potential to be a favourable industrial chemical by David Wassell (SaskPower). After that, Raphael Idim (University of Regina) told us all about hydrogen and the different ways that it can be produced (there are 5 established technologies for the production of hydrogen, 4 of which require CCS for them to be net-zero technologies!). Then Corwyn Bruce (International CCS Knowledge Centre) told us all about Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS). Fun fact: as compared to other renewables, BECCS does not just avoid CO2 emissions; it actually has the advantage of removing CO2 from the atmosphere! You can learn why BECCS is a net-negative emission technology here and all about its potential in the UK here.

After lunch, Jennifer Wilcox (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) reviewed the various aspects of Direct Air Capture (DAC) via videolink. Did you know that the Amazon Rainforest takes up a total of 5.5 million square kilometres and takes up 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2 annually? DAC can do the same on just 11,200 square kilometres! You can find out more about this exciting technology from Jennifer Wilcox’s Ted talk here. This was followed by Mike Monea (International CCS Knowledge Centre) telling us about the use of CCS in industry and how CCS is the only solution for decarbonising industries such as cement and steel. Then Brent Jacobs (International CCS Knowledge Centre) analysed the costs, economics, and financing of CCS.

The final set of sessions for the day started with Tim Dixon (IEAGHG) telling us all about international legal and regulatory carbon accounting, both the protocols and conventions that are already in place, and the ones that CCS needs in the future. This was followed by Doug Ospeth (SaskPower) covering different energy systems and the role CCS has to play in them.

The day drew to a close with Norm Sacuta (PTRC) and Jodi Woollam (International CCS Knowledge Centre) teaching us about public acceptance and engagement on CC(U)S, the importance of communication, and the different communication tools. This was followed by a workshop where we were divided into groups and were asked to choose a country and write up a communication plan that can address all the audiences and stakeholders of our chosen countries. It was interesting to see all the different ideas, and the different communication routes that were chosen for counties such as Mexico, China, Norway, France, etc. After another long, educational, and very interesting day, we were off to carry on with our group work for the night.

Wednesday the 10th of July

After two-days of intensive lectures covering different aspects of CCS technologies, we embarked on a tour to the first power station in the world with the CCS technology – Boundary Dam Power Station. The excitement was felt throughout the group, knowing that we were about to visit the first commercial-scale CCS project with a coal-fired power station. This was a fantastic opportunity for the early career researchers in CCS to gain some practical experience, which would be sure to benefit our research and career.


SaskPower Boundary Dam facility, the first large-scale coal-fired power plant with CCS capabilities in the world.


Upon arrival at the Boundary Dam Power Station, the staff and engineers greeted the group in the conference room. First, the engineers briefly introduced the Boundary Dam Power Station, and next a Q&A session was held to allow for visitors to ask questions relating to the Boundary Dam CCS project. The staff and engineers carefully and patiently answered all questions related to the commercial-scale CCS project. After that, a brief safety induction was given to all visitors.

Following this comprehensive introduction to the site, all visitors were divided into four groups, which were led by different members of staff who would lead tours around the power generation unit, control room, FGD unit, carbon capture and compression unit respectively. The staff and engineers explained their daily jobs and how the equipment operates. An impressive part of the tour included being shown the FGD and carbon capture unit. It reduces 100% of SO2 and 90% of CO2 emissions, with the captured SO2 later converted to sulphuric acid and sold. The captured CO2 is compressed and transported to the Weyburn Oil Field for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and the rest of captured CO2 is injected underground (>3 km) at Aquistore. The by-products offset the costs of CO2 capture and storage.


A group of early career researchers being shown the SaskPower CCS facility. 


After completing the tour of the power plant and carbon capture facilities, we went to the Aquistore storage site, 3.4km away. The engineers from the PTRC’s Aquistore Project presented described the site and the novel technologies applied at this site to monitor CO2 storage and potential leakage. The impressive infrastructure (large pipe and compressive monitor system) reinforced the safety of deep geologic CO2 storage. After visiting the storage site, we also visited another coal-fired power station- Shand Power Station, which had a Carbon Capture Test Facility (CCTF) to investigate the amine-based absorbents. Newly developed amine based absorbents could be tested under real conditions to evaluate their performance, and whether they could be applied on a commercial scale carbon capture project.  Finally, we finished our tour of the first commercial scale coal-fired power plant with CCS and came away with a wealth of hands-on experience.


CO2 injection site at Aquistore, where CO2 is injected into a saline reservoir 3.4km into the subsurface for safe, long-term storage. Once injected, CO2 is continuously monitored using cutting-edge monitoring technologies.


Thursday 11th July

After an exciting tour to the Boundary Dam power station, Shand CCS pilot plant facility and Aquistore facility on Wednesday (10th July), Thursday came and excitement still filled the air. We had our usual breakfast between 8am and 9am in the morning, and the lectures started as normal. We started up with a Health and Safety lecture from Doug McDavid (Sask Power); he detailed the safety management plan and all of the intricacies that needed to be overcome while constructing the capture facility at Boundary Dam. Over 5 million person hours without a lost time injury was recorded. Afterwards, we had Simon O’Brien from Shell (Quest Subsurface Team) lecture on CCS Storage Risk – Assessment and Mitigation. Simon re-iterated risk mitigation involves a cyclic process (bowtieanalysis is used to identify hazards and mitigation measures) and should be as low as reasonably practical. We had a range of lectures from transportation (pipeline and ships) to environmental impact of the capture and storage of CO2.


Students at the Research and Innovation Centre Auditorium listening to lectures


Once the lectures were over, a panel was set-up to discuss the barriers to CCS deployment. Possible barriers ranging from policy, transport, regulatory to capture and project development were discussed. Beth Hardy spoke on policy issues, Tim Dixon elaborated on regulatory issues, John Kladi discussed challenges with respect to storage and transport and Mike Monea enlightened us on capture and project development barriers. This section was very interactive and the students were given the opportunity to ask and contribute on any likely barriers to the deployment of CCS.

A general Q&A also session took place with all the mentors and presenters on the stage. This was done in case we had any questions left unanswered during the course of the week. Wide varieties of questions were brought up, and the mentors/presenters were glad to respond. A careers in CCS section also took place, where the mentors were split into groups (depending on their specialty), and we rotated each group every 5mins to give adequate time for others. The careers group included: the oil and gas industry, communications, academia, policy and regulations, transport, etc. This gave us the opportunity to ask questions on what career path to consider and why. The last activity for the day was presented by John Kaldi and Tim Dixion. Tim Dixon gave appreciation to the sponsors of the IEAGHG Summer School, the mentors, the organisers and most importantly the students for their cooperation in making the event a reality. John Kaldi gave a presentation on the expectation for the group presentation and mentioned how we would be judged.


Panel session on barriers to CCS deployment

(from the left, John Kaldi, Tim Dixon, Beth Hardy and Mike Monea)


Mentors and Presenters on stage for the Q & A session


Friday the 12th of July

Friday was reserved primarily for the group presentations on topics across the broad spectrum of clean energy themes that included:

  1. What role does CCS have in the ‘unburnable carbon’ issue?
  2. Does CO2 EOR have a place in the CCS value chain?
  3. Is CCS a viable option for developing countries?
  4. Should CCS be mandatory in developed countries?
  5. Could Canada set up a series of regionally integrated CCS clusters and hubs?
  6. Will CCS be required as part of a sustainable, low-carbon hydrogen economy?

The quality, ingenuity and uniqueness of the presentations at the 2019 IEAGHG Summer School prompted the organisers to proclaim that this year of students was the best than all previous years of the Summer School. A monitoring game followed thereafter, conducted by Katherine Romanak, where students were given tasks on different scenarios of CO2 storage, where each group had the opportunity to decide upon which CO2 monitoring technologies to “buy” (with some curve balls thrown in!). This was a puzzle-like game designed to test the ability of students to solve real life problems and challenges with regards to CO2 monitoring. Ph.D. poster presentations took place thereafter, where students seized the moment to explain their research in a more detail while appreciating the work of their colleagues.

Final dinner and awards night at the Wascana Country Club was organised jointly by the IEAGHG and the International CCS Knowledge Centre where students, experts from the industry and academia socialised and networked over an impressive three-course meal. Two UKCCSRC ECRs were bestowed with the ‘Most Outstanding Student’ award in the person of MennatAllah Labib from the University of Edinburgh and Abdul’Aziz A. Aliyu from the University of Sheffield. The award of the best poster went to Victor Stenberg (Chalmers University of Technology) whith Martijn van de Sande ( as the runner up. The group that won best presentation were the group tackling the unburnable carbon issue and the role CCS can play in this issue. They also wrote a song about it!! They were Luke Jones (BEIS), Jens Peters (Germany), Enisa Zanacic (University of Regina), Ashild Grotan (NMBU), Victor Stenberg (Chalmers University of Technology), and Ahmed Abdelmouiz (Algeria) with Mentor Katherine Romanak (University of Austin at Texas) as their mentor.


UKCCSRC ECRs receiving their ‘Most Outstanding Student’ awards

(from the left, Tim Dixon, Mike Monea, MennatAllah Labib, Abdul’Aziz A. Aliyu, and Norm Sacuta)


Across the week, we as early career researchers were lucky enough to be chosen to attend this prestigious CCS summer school. As the summer school ended, this provided opportunity for reflection and appreciation. To conclude, we provide some key learnings that we would like to leave the readers of this blog with:

  1. CCS is a necessity. This is no longer a technological choice, but rather a safe, practical and proven method of reducing current and future anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
  2. All aspects of the CCS value chain must be understood to allow widespread large-scale deployment.
  3. As ambassadors for CCS, we as early career researchers must ensure we communicate our research in a way that is easily digestible for the public. We must be clear with what the benefits of CCS are, leading to a brighter future for all.
  4. The work that the UKCCSRC, IEAGHG, CCS Knowledge Centre, SaskPower, Shell, Total and many others are currently doing in the field of CCS gives hope and promise to addressing the conditions set out in the Paris Agreement 2015. Despite this, CCS is not currently at the stage it needs to be to make a global impact on temperature. A lot more work needs to be done!
  5. This summer school has given us the opportunity to zoom out and contextualise our individual research, which will undoubtedly benefit us as we have been kindly provided with a comprehensive review of the current state of CCS and the associated barriers.


UKCCSRC ECRs at the closing dinner

(from the left, Yan (Harry) Yongliang, Tomos Phillips, Adeola Awoyomi, MennatAllah Labib, Humera Ansari and Abdul’Aziz A. Aliyu,)

K. Johnson