Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Assessing European capacity for geological storage of carbon dioxide

Final Report Summary - EU GEOCAPACITY (Assessing European Capacity for Geological Storage of Carbon Dioxide)

The main objective of this project was to assess the European capacity for geological storage of CO2 in deep saline aquifers, oil and gas structures and coal beds. Other priorities were further development of methods for capacity assessment, economic modelling and site selection as well as international cooperation, especially with China. The results of EU GEOCAPACITY included 26 countries and comprised most European sedimentary basins suitable for geological storage of CO2.

The project was structured in the following work packages (WPs):

1) Inventory of emissions and infrastructure, Geographical information system (GIS), with the purpose of establishing an inventory of CO2 point sources with emissions greater than 100 000 tones per year in all of the territories involved in the project as well as infrastructure such as pipelines and urban centres, the development of a GIS system including guidelines and specification of format for data input from partners. The GIS system has been developed using emission data and information regarding plant characteristics, pipelines and other infrastructure. The system allows users to simultaneously view one or more layers of data including the location of the CO2 sources and potential CO2 sinks. Users are also able to perform extensive onscreen analysis on all the available data. Another purpose of this work package was to map the emission and storage sites to help source-sink matching. This led to the development of regional maps of CO2 emissions, infrastructure and storage capacity for northwest, northeast, central, southwest and southeast Europe.

2) Storage capacity, with the purpose of assessing the CO2 storage potential, in all of the involved European countries, with a particular emphasis on the countries not previously covered. Emphasis was on aquifer capacity although hydrocarbon fields and coal beds were also examined. The participating countries were divided into three geographical groups facilitating regional cooperation. A fourth group included the countries that were previously part of the GESTCO project. The resulting EU GEOCAPACITY GIS database included a total storage capacity of 360 Gt with 326 Gt in deep saline aquifers, 32 Gt in depleted hydrocarbon fields and 2 Gt in unmineable coal beds. However, since not all storage capacity in the database could necessarily be equally exploitable, more cautious and conservative storage estimates for each country were provided. Those conservative estimates led to a total storage capacity of 117 Gt CO2 with 96 in deep saline aquifers, 20 Gt in depleted hydrocarbon fields and 1 Gt in unmineable coal beds. Compared to a total of 1,9 Gt of yearly CO2 emissions from large point sources emitting more than 0.1 Mt/year the conservative storage capacity estimate corresponds to 62 years of storage.

3) Economic uses of CO2. This includes the assessment of CO2 storage capacity in hydrocarbon fields and the potential for Enhanced oil and gas recovery (EOR / EGR), as well as in unmineable coal beds and the potential for Enhanced coal bed methane production (ECBM). A model was developed to estimate the CO2 storage capacity in oil reservoirs incorporating the production of oil associated with EOR. This model is a rapid estimator of the oil recovery and the CO2 storage capacity and should be considered as an effort to estimate the co-optimisation of CO2 storage and EOR. Simulations carried out by the CoalSeq ECBM simulator suggested rather more conservative recovery ratios for enhanced coal-bed methane recovery with the use of CO2 storage (CO2-ECBMR) than previously assumed.

4) Standards and site selection criteria. This comprised two important issues. One was defining the technical criteria for selection of suitable and safe sites for long term storage of CO2 for a wide range of geological conditions. Some basic criteria were: sufficient depth of reservoir to ensure that CO2 reach its supercritical dense phase but not so deep that permeability and porosity is too low, integrity of seal to prevent CO2 migration, sufficient CO2 storage capacity and effective petrophysic reservoir properties to ensure economic CO2 injectivity. The second issue was to improve methodologies for assessment of geological storage capacity, thus providing a set of standards for this and future projects.

5) Economic evaluations. The main issue here was the improvement of the Decision support system (DSS) software, making it capable of more complex assessments while also making it more user-friendly. As a starting point the economic tool developed in the GESTCO project was used. This new economic tool was used to estimate the economic feasibility of capturing, transporting and storing CO2 in the CO2 capture and storage (CCS) systems modelled.

6) International cooperation, with the purpose of initiating technology transfer in China by training Chinese experts in storage methodology and building a Chinese part of the GIS database, as well as to promote and develop CO2 capture and storage in countries of the Carbon sequestration leadership forum (CSLF), such as Russia and India.

7) Project management and reporting, with the purpose of overall project management, including project planning, organisation of meetings and management of budget, as well as reporting including final report, reporting to the European Union (EU) and maintaining a project website.

The results of the EU GEOCAPACITY project were aimed at policy makers for setting emission prices, power companies facing emission level regulations and potential storage operators and providers of goods and services, looking for new markets for advanced products. The main achievements ?f this project were the establishment of a CCS inventory of Europe based on GIS platform, the development of an advanced DSS system, the initiative towards the development of a CO2 storage atlas of Europe, the contribution to standards and guidelines for assessment of geological storage capacity, site selection criteria and methodology for ranking. Another achievement was the pioneering CCS work in many European countries and China.