CO2 storage atlas a milestone for South Africa

Johannesburg – The newly launched South African Carbon Geological Storage Atlas is an important milestone in capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) in the country, says Energy Minister Dipuo Peters.

“This Atlas is an important step in the process of developing carbon capture and storage in South Africa. The launch of the Atlas marks a major milestone for the country towards fulfilling and implementing its Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) roadmap,” the minister on Friday.

The Atlas (which is a result of cooperation between governments, state owned entities and the private sector) represents the country’s first step in identifying CO2 storage sites in the country. Carbon capture involves the separation of CO2 by industry and injecting it into geological formation thereby decreasing the country’s emissions and replacing it with non fossil-fuel based power generation.

The minister said that South Africa needs to move away from its coal based economy of which about 66 percent of coal contributes to the primary energy supply.

“South Africa’s energy economy is inevitably likely to rely on coal in the next few decades,” she said adding that government aims to increase renewable energy use.

The purpose of the Atlas (which has been funded by PetroSA, Anglo Coal, Eskom, the South African National Energy Research Institute (SANERI) and Sasol) is to locate potential geological storage sites for CO2.

The findings of the Atlas are that South Africa has about 15 Giga tones of storage capacity at theoretical level of which most of the storage is off shore. About 98 percent of the storage potential is located in the Mezoic basins along the coast of the country.

The storage potential lies in saline formations in the Outeniqua, Orange and Durban basins.

The findings also show that less than 2 percent of the storage capacity occurs onshore while some storage is available in unmineable coal seams. It also found that high logistics costs associated with offshore storage locations, the depth, lack of detailed information and distance to major CO2 point sources will have to be evaluated.

A technical report of the Atlas is expected to be released soon. A test injection site is to be identified to determine the suitability of local geology by 2016.

The country hopes to have a demonstration plant by 2020.

Source – BuaNews