A multidisciplinary study with the participation of Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the University of Barcelona (UB)proposes to reinvigorate the development in Spain of carbon dioxide capture and storage processes (CO2) through a strategy called in English of hubs & clusters. A hub It would be formed by a group of CO emitters2 close, while a cluster it would be made up of that group of sources plus an appropriate underground store for their emissions. The authors of the work, which has been published in the journal Applied Energy, estimate that with the adoption of this strategy, up to 69 million tons of CO could be stopped being emitted into the atmosphere2 per year, which is equivalent to 21% of Spain’s annual emissions.

“Spain faces the challenge of eliminating the more than 300 million tons of CO2that it produces each year in order to mitigate the effects of climate change. In order to achieve the decarbonisation objectives subscribed to in the Paris Agreements, it is required, among other measures, to return CO2 into the subsoil through capture and storage operations ”, explains the CSIC researcher Juan Alcalde, of Geosciences Barcelona (GEO3BCN-CSIC), lead author of the study.

This work, which analyzes the current state of development of the capture and storage of CO2 in Spain, it has identified 15 concentrations of CO emitters2 with a production of more than two tons per year, as well as the possible geological storage structures linked to each of these emission cores. “The objective of the study is twofold: on the one hand, to determine which are the best options to develop the capture and storage of CO2 in Spain; and, on the other, study its fit within the decarbonisation strategy in the short and medium term, ”says Alcalde.

The study considers that the northern part of the peninsula could be a priority region for the development of CO capture and storage processes.2, since it is where a large part of the emission nuclei identified are concentrated and where, in addition, possible geological structures have been found that offer the most ideal conditions for their permanent storage.

The strategy applied by the researchers has been to identify areas with high CO emissions2 produced by concentrations of massive emission sources (power plants, cement plants, steel mills, etc.) close to each other and that can form a hub or emissions core. Next, the most appropriate geological stores are located to which these nuclei can be connected, forming a net or cluster capture and storage, and ensuring that CO storage2 can be carried out efficiently, economically and safely.

«This strategy allows linking different industrial agents so that they can share the effort of developing a complete CO capture and storage program2, from the construction of the transport or storage network, to the processing of licenses and the negotiation of operating permits. In this way, cluster users can reduce the costs and risks associated with this type of project, compared to other individual initiatives, “he says. Enrique Gómez Rivas, from the Faculty of Earth Sciences of the University of Barcelona.

The study recalls that, although many countries have assigned carbon dioxide capture and storage technology an indispensable role in their national climate change mitigation plans, there are currently few commercial projects of this type, and most are located in countries with significant oil resources, such as the United States, Canada and Australia. In other countries, such as the United Kingdom and Norway, where the development of CO capture and storage2 It had been slowed down in the past, it is being seen that, thanks to the core and network strategy, new projects are being developed and the use of this fundamental technology is spreading for the decarbonisation of different industrial sectors that are difficult to transform.

«The strategy we propose can also serve to awaken interest in the capture and storage of CO2 in countries with few oil resources, but with significant decarbonization needs, as is the case in Spain. In this sense, the implementation of a strategy of hubs & clusters Capture and Storage can provide the incentive to help unlock this key technology for a zero-emissions future, ”concludes Mayor.

Researchers from the Barcelona Institute of Geosciences, the University of Barcelona, ​​the Institute for Environmental Diagnosis and Water Studies (IDAEA-CSIC), the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA-CSIC-UIB), the Instituto Carbon Science and Technology (INCAR-CSIC), the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain (IGME-CSIC), Repsol and the University of Salamanca and Valladolid. It has also had the collaboration of researchers from the universities of Aalborg (Sweden), Edinburgh and Strathclyde (United Kingdom).

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