CO2: capture, utilisation and storage

The most obvious way to reduce the amount of carbon emissions is to... emit less CO2. Unfortunately, cutting total carbon emissions quickly enough is proving extremely tricky. A temporary solution is the capture, storage and utilisation of CO2. Our knowledge of large-scale transport and storage of gases is contributing to the successful development of this link in the energy transition.

What is carbon capture, utilisation and storage?

CO2 is the chemical formula for the molecule carbon dioxide, which consists of one atom of carbon bonded to two oxygen atoms. Carbon dioxide is released during the complete combustion of carbon and carbon-containing compounds, like coal, lignite (brown coal) and natural gas. Too much CO2 in the atmosphere causes climate breakdown. It is possible to capture the CO2 that is released during combustion and keep it from being emitted into the atmosphere. The captured CO2 can be stored deep under the ground and even used as a source of energy. The processes and technology used to achieve all of this are referred to as ‘carbon capture, utilisation and storage’ or ‘CCUS’.

CCUS and the energy transition

CCUS is not a final destination, but rather a part of the energy transition journey. With CCUS, we can keep CO2 from escaping into the atmosphere, helping to reduce the amount of harmful emissions. One interesting development is taking the CO2 captured and using it elsewhere, like in commercial greenhouses for the production of fruit and vegetables, for example. Naturally, the ultimate aim is to have an energy mix with no carbon-based fuels at all. Until that can be achieved, CCUS can play a significant role during the energy transition.

Gasunie and CCUS

At Gasunie, when it comes to gas transport, compression and storage, we have a wealth of knowledge and know-how. With this expertise, we can make a valuable contribution to the development of a safe CCUS system in the Netherlands. It is with good reason that we were previously asked, together with Dutch energy institute EBN, to advise the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy on the transport and storage of CO2. We presented our joint report to the Dutch House of Representatives, along with a ‘roadmap’ produced by consultancy agency De Gemeynt, in the summer of 2018. These reports (in Dutch) can be viewed online.