R&D Program 

Strategy for CO2 reduction (10% of the budget)

This activity aims to define the overall strategies required to effect a 10% reduction of EU CO2 emissions and to regularly monitor the effectiveness of the strategies (from capture to storage) from a techno-economical point of view. Research work is also focused on obtaining data on CO2 sources and potential geological storage capacities from Eastern Europe (extension of GESTCO European project). At the same time solutions will be identified for legal and public acceptance of the concept of CO2 sequestration as a viable option for CO2 mitigation, by developing and applying a template for exploring the public perceptions toward carbon storage. The overall impact of the project on EU countries, including Candidate Countries, is therefore taken into account.


Post-combustion capture (65% of the budget)

The objectives of work on post-combustion capture are :

  • Development of absorption liquids, with a thermal energy consumption of 2.0 GJ/tonne CO2  at 90% recovery rates
  • Resulting costs per tonne CO2 avoided not higher than 20 to 30 €/tonne CO2, depending on the type of fuel
  • Pilot plant tests showing the reliability and efficiency of the post-combustion capture process.

For post-combustion capture, absorption technology is a leading option but its implementation in a power station will decrease the efficiency of generation by 15-25% and increase the power cost up to 50%. Some breakthrough in absorption technology is needed and CASTOR will address the following key issues: energy consumption, reaction rates, contactor improvements, liquids capacities, chemical stability and corrosion, desorption process improvements. The following table describes our CASTOR intends to decrease the costs of capture.



Costs of capture table


The pilot plant for process integration and validation will be installed in a modern coal-fired plant: Esbjerg Power Station operated by Elsam in Denmark. This test facility with a capacity of 1 t CO2/hour will operated during more than 2 years with real flue gas, allowing hands-on experience with absorption technology.


CO2 geological storage (25% of the budget)

The objective is to develop and apply a methodology for the selection and the secure management of storage sites by improving assessment methods, defining acceptance criteria, and developing a strategy for safety-focussed, cost-effective site monitoring. The "Best Practice Manuel" will be improved by adding four European cases.


Casablanca oilfield (Spain, operated by Repsol)



Casablanca oilfield


The Casablanca oil field is situated offshore northeastern Spain. This carbonate oil field at a depth of approximately 2500 m below the sea floor has reached its production tail, and production will soon cease. Repsol considers to use this field for storage of approximately 500 000 tonnes CO2 per year, which is to be captured at the Tarragona refinery at 43 km distance from the field.


Atzbach-Schwanenstadt gas field (Austria, operated by Rohoel)



Atzbach-Schwanenstadt gas field


The Atzbach-Schwanenstadt gas field is situated in central northern Austria, between Salzburg and Linz. This onshore sandstone gas field at approximately 1600 m below the surface is almost empty. Rohoel AG considers its transformation into a CO2 storage site and possibly test the suitability of CO2 injection for Enhanced Gas Recovery. Potential CO2 sources are a paper mill (emitting about 200 000 tonnes CO2 per year) and a fertiliser plant (emitting about 100 000 tonnes CO2 per year). Transport of CO2 may be by trucks. Injection into the field may start towards the end of the project period, given positive results of the study and financing by industrial partners.


Snohvit Aquifer (Norway, operated by Statoil)



Snohvit Aquifer


The Snøhvit field is located offshore in the northern Norwegian Sea. Statoil has got official approval to inject CO2 separated from produced gas from the Snøhvit field into an aquifer below the reservoir (depth: 2500 m). Injection of 0.75 Mt/year is planned to start in late 2006 and will last for more than 20 years.


K12b gas field (The Netherlands, operated by Gaz de France)


K12b gas field

The K12B gas field is situated offshore the Netherlands. Gaz de France has carried out a feasibility study for Enhanced Gas Recovery. Small scale CO2 injection of about 30 000 tonnes/year shall start in mid 2004 and large scale injection of approximately 400 000 tonnes/year is intended to start in 2006 with a duration of up to 20 years. The reservoir is at 3500 – 4000 m in Rotliegend clastics. A seismic baseline survey exists.

The Castor Pilot Plant

On 15 March 2006, the CO2-capture industrial pilot unit of the Castor project, coordinated by IFP and financed by the European Commission (FP6), was inaugurated at the Esbjerg power plant (Denmark), operated by Elsam. It is the largest installation in the world that captures CO2 in the flue gases of a coal-fired power station.
The implementation of the Castor pilot is a big step towards demonstrating the feasibility of the new CO2 capture/storage technologies. The process, which enables one tonne of CO2 to be captured per hour, is being tested on a large enough scale to ensure reliable industrial extrapolation.

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