Photo credit to Mr. Connor Vercuiel and Unsplash.io
The Paris Agreement emerging from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is due to come into effect in 2020 and will oversee greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation, and financing. One of its main goals is to maintain the average global temperature increase below 2 °C.
Of 194 signatory countries, 132 have already ratified this agreement. This weekly blog will examine the individual approaches these countries have taken in order to meet its requirements. I will report on one country case study per week, outlining the policies adopted, with a particular focus on the role of Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) research and technologies. To kick-start this weekly review, I will begin with one of the first Paris Agreement signatories, South Africa, who signed on its opening day, 22nd April 2016.
South Africa has a significant history of greenhouse gas emissions, being the 14th highest emitter of Co2 into the atmosphere of the 132 ratifying countries. In an effort to address this, a research collaboration called the South African Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage (SACCCS) was launched in 2009, its mandate being to assess the potential for commercialization of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in South Africa. SACCCS is a division of the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) and its members include the Department of Energy of Republic of South Africa, Sasol, Eskom, PetroSA, Exxaro, Alstrom, Anglo American, as well as the Norwegian Government and Agence Française de Developpement. SACCCS also receives funding from the World Bank.
SACCCS is responsible for the implementation of a five-phase roadmap for the commercialization of CCS in South Africa. The first two phases are now complete: assessment of the potential for CCS in South Africa and development of a South African Co2 storage atlas. The Co2 storage atlas identified two potential regions for CCS, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Eastern Cape. Phase three is now underway with the construction of a pilot Co2 storage project which aims to store up to 50,000 tonnes of Co2 per year.
Phase four will see the development of a demonstration plant with a projected capacity of 100,000 tonnes of Co2 per year. Phase five is due to be completed in 2025.tonnes of Co2 per year. Under phase five a commercial CCS facility will be deployed and will be capable of storing 1 million
Eskom, South Africa’s state- owned electricity utility, with the support of EcoMetrix Africa, a greenhouse gas management consultancy, are looking to develop and pilot low carbon energy technology for the electricity sector. Both are participating partners in the OCTAVIUS project, an EU-backed initiative, the aim of which is to demonstrate zero emission power plant facilities that can also capture and compress Co2. In all, OCTAVIUS has 16 partners participating in the project. The partners represent nine countries, including Stiftelsen SINTEF and Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Universitet NTNU from Norway, and EnBW Erneuerbare Und Konventionelle Erzeugung Ag from Germany.
In association with SANEDI, Eskom undertook a desktop driven Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for a pilot Carbon Capture Project at Eskom’s under construction coal-fired power station at Kusile. The final report was submitted to the World Bank in 2016 as part of Eskom’s request for the funding of the Co2 Carbon Capture Plant.
The establishment of SANEDI in 2009 under Section 7 of the National Energy Act, 2008, can be viewed upon as a positive move by the South African government. The CCS roadmap provides South Africa with a clear CCS strategy that is expected to be fully implemented by SACCCS by the end of 2025. We will monitor its completion closely over the next eight years.