by Charles Delaere of Commerce International
Geogreen is a company specialised in consulting and engineering studies for CO2 capture, transport and storage – a market that is developing rapidly given evolving European regulations.The urgent need for action to reduce CO2 emissions, the principal culprit in global warming, has never been so widely recognised. “Large industrial facilities such as thermal power plants, refineries, cement plants and more are responsible for nearly two-thirds of anthropogenic CO2 emissions worldwide,” states Gilles Munier, Geogreen’s Executive Director. This is why CO2 capture (directly at its production source) has become a key method for the limitation of these emissions. The technology is based on CO2 capture, transport and storage (CTS) underground. The gas can then be injected either into unusable deep saline formations or exhausted hydrocarbon structures. “But CTS must not be used in competition with other potential methods for reducing greenhouse gases,” according to Gilles Munier. “It must be used to complement technologies that favour the improvement of energy efficiency, and must be consistent with policies aiming to promote renewable energies. In other words, CTS must allow us to limit the impact of fossil fuel consumption as we evolve toward a decarbonised world.” Created in 2007, Geogreen in the result of the association of the IFP (French oil institute, 40%), Geostock (40%) and the BRGM (office for geological and mining research, 20%). In two years, it has at-tracted a clientele in France (70%), Europe (15%, notably in Germany and Eastern Europe), and the Middle East (15%).
It works with businesses from various sectors, but who all have fixed sources of CO2 emissions: electricity providers, businesses in the hydrocarbon and environmental sectors, as well as multi-emission industrial sites. “In this latter case, we have to group CO2 emissions together and optimise the management of these emissions in terms of energy,” adds Geogreen’s Executive Director. For many of these industries, CTS has proven to be the most effective method for reducing greenhouse gas emissions – an objective that has been imposed by public authorities. “Industrial entities are going to have to reduce their emissions on existing sites because of new regulations, whose effects will gradually be seen between 2015 and 2020,” says Gilles Munier.“What’s more, they are also forced to act now for certain facilities to come, because European regulations require future thermal plants to be adapted for carbon capture.” Active industrial use of CTS will not officially start until 2020, and will not be widespread before 2030.“Market evolution is guided by the implementation of regulations and the evolution of the price of a tonne of CO2,” explains the Executive Director. For now, Geogreen’s activities are therefore equally divided between engineering studies on CTS, conceptual studies and advanced strategic consulting (concerning technical, regulatory and economic aspects and life cycle analyses).
“Today, this is an emerging area, and we are advising our clients in their thought process and strategic decisions on carbon management for their sites,” Gilles Munier continues. “Our goal is to allow them to have an overarching vision of the issues and constraints associated with implementing a CTS system, starting in the pre-project phase. But in the middle term, we will be working on the design and operation of storage sites.” During these conceptual studies, concretely, the underground area is recreated in 3D models down to the smallest details, and a simulation of CO2 injection is carried out in order to examine the potential short and long-term risk factors. Geogreen’s Executive Ddirector is pragmatic in his reasoning: “The choice of a good location is based both on simulating the future and learning from the past. Indeed, this technology is nothing new; it has been used by the oil industry for years to improve hydrocarbon retrieval. Next, storage sites must be designed according to the principle of multiple security barriers that allow for the insulation of the reservoir level where the CO2 is injected from other geological layers.”