The idea of a South African CO2 storage ‘atlas’ is reportedly gaining momentum, after a number of carbon-heavy corporates in the country were thought to have thrown their collective weight behind the initiative.

The R2-m initiative would see the development of a so-called ‘South African Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Storage Atlas’ to determine potential sites for the future storage of the environmentally-harmful emission.

The project, which is backed by Sasol, Eskom, PetroSA, Anglo American and the South African National Energy Research Institute (Saneri), will use existing geological information to identify potential sites for the possible future storage of CO2.

According to a report from Engineering News Online, the Council for Geoscience and the Petroleum Agency South Africa plan to publish the initial assessment of storage potential by April 2010.

‘Crucial’ development
Site identification is viewed as particularly crucial to prepare the way for the deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a mitigation measure. CCS has itself been identified as a priority technology for South Africa, given the carbon intensive nature of its economy.

South Africa is thought to emit around 400 million tons of CO2 per year. It is estimated that about 60% (or 249 million tons) of these emissions is to be almost immediately ‘sequestrable’, with the main challenge now being the identification of suitable storage sites.

The atlas is therefore viewed as a crucial first step, towards a larger research and development thrust designed to develop the platform for commercial CCS use.