Integrated CATO2 knowledge prepares for the next step in CO2 Capture & Storage

Thursday June 26, 2014 16:37

At the 7th Dutch symposium about CO2 Capture & Storage (CCS) on Thursday June 19th 2014, the first copy of the book ‘Linking the Chain’ was presented to Bert de Vries, Deputy Director-General Energy, Telecom and Competition at the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The book, written by Rolf de Vos (Ecofys), was commissioned by the CATO2 programme and reports on almost ten years of coherent Dutch CCS research programmes, carried out by among others ECN.

Climate change is largely caused by the greenhouse gas CO2 emitted by power plants and factories. Basically, CCS is a chain of technologies that keeps this CO2 from entering the atmosphere. CCS is seen as one of the options to mitigate climate change. Based on the results of the Dutch R&D programmes, the book concludes that CCS is ready for large-scale demonstration. This next step is needed to prove whether CCS is indeed a good option, in terms of technology, economics, safety issues, politics, and public acceptance.

The book ‘Linking the Chain; Integrated CATO2 knowledge prepares for the next step in CO2 Capture & Storage’ is available as a pdf at

ECN’s work on CCS and in CATO2
ECN is developing innovative technologies to reduce the cost of CO2 capture and make it more energy efficient. ECN’s expertise ranges from conceptual process design to material development, and from process testing to reactor design. The philosophy is to start with techno economic assessments of new concepts for CO2 capture technology in a power plant or in industrial processes. These give guidelines and development targets for processes, materials and allowable investment costs.

In CATO2, ECN focused on developing high potential pre-combustion CO2 capture technologies with the perspective to substantially reduce the CO2 capture cost. ECN’s two main innovative technologies are Sorption-Enhanced Water-Gas-Shift (SEWGS) and hydrogen membrane reactors. Both transform CO2 capture into a benefit, by using the separation of CO2 to enhance the production of hydrogen rich fuel. In developing SEWGS, ECN reached the groundbreaking result of reducing the energy penalty by 50% resulting in a reduction of the capture costs by 40% compared to state of the art technologies. During the CATO2 membrane reactor work, ECN brought together many key players in the field of hydrogen membrane development in a benchmark. This benchmark compared the usefulness of different hydrogen membranes for CO2 capture in natural gas fuelled power plants and in relevant industrial processes like ammonia or hydrogen production. In addition to these technology developments,  we studied the impact of pulverized coal oxy-fuel combustion on fuel (coal biomass mixtures) burnout and ash quality, as well as slagging and fouling in boilers.

ECN has  also been involved in a range of non-technical aspects of CCS, specifically on safety, regulation and the perception of the public towards the technology. As part of the CATO2 project, ECN participated in research regarding the long-term liability of CO2 storage, and the future transfer of responsibility of storage sites from private operators to Member State governments. The communication of CCS projects towards the public has emerged as a critical factor governing success in deploying CCS projects. Together with European and international partners, ECN has developed communication toolkits to guide practitioners in developing public outreach strategies regarding CCS projects. ECN has also recently worked with multinational organisations such as the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to raise awareness of the importance and technical possibilities of CO2 capture technologies for primary industrial sectors, such as steel and cement production.

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Category: Corporate, Policy Studies, Energy efficiency