After the COP21 Paris Agreement, we wonder how to translate a maximum rise of global average temperatures to 2 °C let alone limiting the increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. The energy sector (even major oil and gas companies) is gearing up to the challenge. A must-have mitigation technology is CCS, which prevents the release of large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. The technology captures CO2 produced by industrial plants, compresses it for transportation and then injects it deep into a rock formation at carefully selected and safe sites for quasi-permanent storage.
Big science is needed to accelerate CCS research and innovation. Big science needs big projects and big projects can only be funded in joint, international public-private partnerships beyond national boundaries. Nine European countries and the European Commission have pooled € 41 million – a sum to be invested in research and innovation on CCS via a Joint Call of the European Research Area Network Cofund Action around Accelerating CCS Technologies (ERANET ACT). Led by the Research Council of Norway, research and innovation program owners from Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Switzerland (the Swiss Federal Office of Energy), Turkey and the United Kingdom have pooled financial resources, and – with a top-up of € 12.3 million from the European Commission – arrived at a call budget of € 41 million.
The Swiss CCS community – original equipment manufacturers of zero or low emission technologies together with Switzerland’s academic researchers – are encouraged to cooperate with their European counterparts to address thematic areas (Table 2 on page 7 of the call text) related to Chain Integration, Capture, Transport, Storage and Utilization.
Important dates: The ACT call is a two-stage process. Stage 1 asks for pre-proposals and the call for pre-proposals is open until 7 September 2016 (submit here). Late September 2016, applicants will be invited to enter Stage 2; full project proposals will have to be submitted by 16 January 2017.
Gunter Siddiqi, Energy Research Specialist SFOE
Image: Courtesy Vegar Stokset of the Technology Centre Mongstad, Norway