The carbon challenge


Opportunity in Africa

Major energy businesses are already alert to the potential of Africa – now one of the world’s established energy producers –and the spread of CCS.

This includes initiatives such as CCS Africa, a body supported by leading academic, industry and science groups, designed to raise understanding of CO2 mitigating technologies in the continent. It is led by the Energy Centre of the Netherlands (ECN).

The initiative includes projects that aim to share CCS-related technical, geological, economic and policy knowledge and experience from the European (and other relevant country’s) context with African institutes, and adapt it to the specific local circumstances.

For the most part, this has targeted the power sector, with CCS Africa drawing up potential market reports on coal-rich countries like Botswana and Mozambique.
It is clear though that it is early days for Africa in CCS technology and development.

“Any efforts on CCS in the target countries should be aimed at the longer term, and would necessarily involve an initial period of awareness raising and basic capacity building,” it said in a report.

The exception perhaps is South Africa, another coal-rich economy, which is keen to take a pioneering role in CCS, as it did in areas such as synthetic fuels years ago.
It established the South African Centre for CCS in 2009, a first step in the creation of a CCS industry.

The first activities of the new centre include the development of a CO2 geological storage atlas and a roadmap for CCS in South Africa, with a vision of achieving an initial demonstration project by 2020.

With work still in an embryonic stage, it means major corporate involvement is still not as evident as in certain other locations, notably the developed economies.
The Middle East is also ahead with the likes of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) of Japan opening a dedicated office in Abu Dhabi last year, specifically targeting areas such as CCS, and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) using CCS.

CCS-EOR involves technologies enabling effective recovery of oil by injecting the oil layer with CO2, which is separated and recovered from flue gas emitted from power generation plants and other sources.

While these technologies are expected to boost Abu Dhabi’s oil economy, it is an additional cost burden that may not yet be ripe for many of Africa’s emerging markets.
Abu Dhabi was named as the world headquarters for the newly formed International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in2008.


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