Geological storage of CO2
CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas, which is naturally present in the atmosphere, but the concentration of the gas is being greatly increased through human activities. CO2 is released through the combustion of fossil fuels, by transport, power and industrial activities, but also from land-use change. In order to reduce CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies are available to selectively capture CO2 from the waste gases of power production and industrial processes, which can be subsequently transported and stored in deep geological formations (>2000 meters underground), isolating it from the atmosphere permanently.
CCS has also been identified as an important CO2 reduction option for the Netherlands. In the Dutch Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth (2013), CCS was described as an ‘unavoidable’ technology to achieve an entirely sustainable energy supply system in the long term. By request of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, a document “Nationaal Masterplan Opslag en Transport CO2” was prepared in 2010. It is expected that a new masterplan for CCS in the Netherlands will be released in 2016. The cabinet ‘Rutte III’ formed in October 2017, includes an ambitious acceleration in national climate policy, with the coalition striving to take responsibility for reaching the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. The main target is a 49% reduction in CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 2030, equating to an annual reduction of 56 Mt CO2. Noteworthy is the contribution of CO2 capture and storage (CCS) towards the overall target, with an 18 Mt reduction from the industrial sector, and a 2 Mt reduction from the waste incineration sector foreseen. More details on the national implementation strategy and policies to accelerate the uptake of CCS projects, transport infrastructure and storage sites, is expected in spring 2018.
General information on CO2 storage:
The most referenced, independent, and scientific account of CO2 storage remains the Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2005). A broad range of more recent material on CCS and CO2 storage can be found on the website of the Global CCS Institute. The Dutch government also has a webpage on CO2 storage with limited information (in Dutch).