More than ninety percent of South Africa’s power is generated from coal and other industries resulting in the release of over 400 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. As a part of South African government’s effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions it has established the South African Centre for Carbon Capture and storage (SACCCS) to investigate the feasibility of CCS in South Africa. SACCCS was established in March 2009 as a division within South African National Energy Research Institute (SANERI) and is governed by a charter that has an initial five year plan.
The strategy of SACCCS is to develop and implement a roadmap for the commercial application of CCS in South Africa. The mission of SACCCS is to be the leading authority for all carbon capture storage related activities in South Africa. Its main objective is to prepare and promote the construction of a safe and reliable carbon capture and demonstration plant in South Africa.
The roadmap consists of five phases:
- Preliminary Potential Investigation: A preliminary investigation was undertaken by the CSIR for the Department of Minerals and Energy showed theoretically that South Africa had capturable emissions and potential storage sites. Based on this premise, further investigations were initiated.
- Geological Storage Atlas: A project to derive more authoritative storage information commenced during September, 2008. The Atlas identifies four possible CO2 geological storage basins in South Africa. Two are being explored – onshore areas of the Zululand Basin, with UK support, and the Outeniqua Basin, with European aid support. The Atlas will be taken into the Centre’s programme of work and further developed to locate a storage site suitable for the Test Injection.
- CO2 Injection Experiment: The ultimate purpose of the Experiment is to show to decision makers that carbon capture and storage can be safely undertaken in South Africa. This experiment will end by 2016.
- Demonstration Plant: A demonstration plant will test an integrated operating system under local conditions and forms an essential link between feasibility trials and a full scale commercial plant. This phase will demonstrate the capture, transport and safe injection of CO2 into South African geological formations. The magnitude of the demonstration plant is in the order of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
- Commercial Operation: A full scale commercial plant is envisaged once the result of the demonstration plant turns out to be positive. It is expected that this phase will not be a part of the South African Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage. The magnitude of the commercial scale operation is in the order of millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
Work plan of SACCCS:
The current focus areas of carbon capture and storage work in South Africa are therefore storage and regulation. After the publication of the Atlas the next logical step is the undertaking of the test injection experiment. The purpose of the test injection is a “proof of concept” to demonstrate that carbon storage can be undertaken in South Africa. The process of bringing South Africa to the test injection will also enable ancillary outputs that will be necessary for a carbon capture and storage industry in South Africa. The test injection phase will involve injecting some tens of thousands of tonnes of CO2 to measure the effect of injection of CO2. The results will determine the future of CCS in South Africa.
To read more: http://www.sacccs.org.za/