An EU-funded international CO2 storage project to support the development of low-carbon energy and industry in southern and eastern Europe has begun.

Consisting of 16 partners from seven European countries in the field of carbon capture and storage (CCS), the PilotSTRATEGY research partnership is headed by the French Geological Survey, BRGM.

With the International Energy Agency warning that CCS is not being deployed fast enough to meet emissions reduction targets laid out in the Paris Agreement, industrialised regions are recognising just how crucial CCS is becoming to Europe’s climate ambitions.

The strategy intends to investigate several geological CO2 storage sites identified as promising for CCS.

These five locations include deep saline aquifers in the Paris Basin in France, the Lusitanian Basin in Portugal and the Ebro Basin in Spain. CO2 storage options will also be looked at in West Macedonia in Greece and Upper Silesia in Poland.

Deep saline aquifers are porous rock formations filled with brine located several kilometres below ground and are seen as untapped storage resources with a high CO2 storage potential.

PilotSTRATEGY builds on another Horizon 2020 project led by BRGM called STRATEGY CCUS, a project that produces local carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) development plans and business models for eight regions, including the five in PilotSTRATEGY.

PilotSTRATEGY map-page-001

PilotSTRATEGY map-page-001

Project coordinator, Dr. Fernanda M.L. Veloso of BRGM, said, “PilotSTRATEGY is one of the first steps to develop further the socio-economic and environmental-based scenarios being elaborated in STRATEGY CCUS.”

“After making an inventory of the technical aspects involved in development of the CCUS chain, we identified storage capacity estimates as the most uncertain factor for long-term scenario implementation.”

“Indeed, there is an urgent need to characterise and better estimate geological storage resources in Europe. PilotSTRATEGY will address this in southern and eastern Europe.”

Costing €10m and expected to last five years, PilotSTRATEGY will provide pre-FEED (Front End Engineering Design) – a study on technical requirements and identifying main costs for a proposed project – studies to build storage pilots in the Paris, Lusitanian and Ebro Basins.

This will help build confidence in CCS and also produce the legal documentation which projects require in order to apply for permits.

Veloso continued, “One of the expected outcomes of PilotSTRATEGY is to identify storage sites where the dialogue with regional and national stakeholders and with citizens is positive.”

“This can then support the Final Investment Decisions (FID) for a CCUS pilot in their region.”

Identification of these sites will include the assessment of factors such as storage site’s integrity, capacity, hydrodynamics and monitoring options and also will undertake research into stakeholder engagement.

Stakeholder engagement will look into promoting awareness of CCS/CCUS technologies and assessing the social acceptance factors.

PilotSTRATEGY brings together European leaders in CCS/CCUS research, nine of which were also involved in STRATEGY CCUS, with leading energy companies.