Focus on ‘new frontier’ of CO₂ storage in east Mediterranean

Scientists from Scotland and Cyprus have formed a research partnership that could open up a new frontier for the storage of carbon dioxide (CO₂), a greenhouse gas, as part of a budding hydrocarbons industry in the eastern Mediterranean.

eez cyprus map

The agreement between the University of Nicosia’s Centre for Green Development and Energy Policy (CGD) and Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS) will seek funding for researchers from the far reaches of the European Union to work together to identify likely geological CO₂ storage sites beneath the Mediterranean Sea to the south of Cyprus.

Using methodology developed in previous SCCS projects to assess CO₂ storage capacity in the North Sea, the scientists will study seismic data and other information to build a picture of storage sites – including depleted oil and gas reservoirs and saline aquifers – which could boost Cyprus’s capacity for tackling carbon emissions.

Despite renewable energy targets, fossil fuels are expected to be part of Europe’s energy mix for many decades. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) – a chain of technologies that captures and stores CO₂ from large point sources – could help countries manage their carbon footprint if used at commercial scale. However, CCS relies on the availability of suitable storage sites.

SCCS Director, Professor Stuart Haszedine, will announce the Memorandum of Understanding between SCCS and CGD when he speaks today at the All-Energy 2014 conference in Aberdeen.

Prof Haszeldine said:

Our research agreement with the University of Nicosia’s Centre for Green Development is an exciting development for SCCS. It brings together expertise from both research groups for the shared goal of opening up new opportunities for CO2 storage, as a fledgling hydrocarbons industry in Cyprus plans its future. It will also provide excellent training opportunities for staff and students.”

Dr Marios Valiantis, Director of the Centre for Green Development and Energy Policy at the University of Nicosia said:

Cyprus is getting ready for what we hope will be a big new offshore oil and gas industry. The government has said that it would like to progress plans for CCS too, following the European CCS Directive. This led us to the expertise of SCCS and Professor Haszeldine, and we look forward to working with SCCS to jointly develop some plans to put before the government of Cyprus. By developing Carbon Capture and Storage alongside the hydrocarbon industry, we aim to grow our economy without contributing to climate change.”

Dr Brownsort said:

Without giving too much away before All-Energy, our analysis suggests that the Feeder 10 pipeline could serve key industrial sites in Scotland’s Central Belt, reducing the investment needed to establish industrial CCS. It could transport around three million tonnes of CO₂ per year, for permanent storage in well-characterised geological storage sites beneath the North Sea. Ironically, the very industry and geology that has contributed to Scotland’s carbon footprint could well play a part in the solution offered by CCS.”

Dr Brownsort will join what the All-Energy organisers have described as a “dream team” line-up for the CCS sessions of the conference programme – which includes progress reports from Peterhead and White Rose, the two full-chain CCS projects to secure multi-million pound UK Government funding for design studies.

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