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David Nevicato

David
Nevicato

CCUS Research Program Manager at Total.

Circular economy expert
David Nevicato

Total integrates circularity by exploring the potential of carbon capture and storage

 

The world will emit 50 gigatons of CO2 per year in 2040 if business continues as usual, which would represent an increase in temperature of up to 6°C. To limit global warming to 2°C, CO2 emissions in 2035 would need to be at the level of 1990 emissions, 35 gigatons of CO2 per year, according the 2°C trajectory by the International Energy Agency (IEA) scenarios

 

David Nevicato, CCUS Research Program Manager at Total, outlines the International Energy Agency (IEA) scenarios incorporates this emissions reduction through three pathways to reduce the carbon intensity of the fossil fuel mix, to switch to renewable energy and increase energy efficiency. Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) appears as a promising solution to contribute to the optimization of the energy mix as it not only reduces “locked-in” emissions resulting from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes, but also offers an opportunity for negative emissions through integration of renewable energy from biomass (Bio CCS). CO2 can be captured either from natural gas production (native CO2), or from power or industrial plant emissions (anthropogenic CO2). Direct air capture could be another CO2 source although it is now at a very early development stage and not enough efficient.

 

At Total, David Nevicato says: “We are exploring a range of technologies and new energies to ensure that we can meet demand and mitigate climate impacts, and we have long been committed to developing CCUS technology. It is a way for us to explore the full potential of the CO2 utilisation”. In August 2017, Total integrates Mongstad Technology Center (Norway) with Gassnova, Norwegian state company, Shell and Statoil, one of the world’s largest sites to develop carbon capture technologies targeting industrial combustion smoke, with a capacity of 100 kT of CO2 per year. Total has also partnered with Statoil and Shell in October 2017 to design the first offshore commercial carbon storage site. Its target over the next 25 years is to store 35Mt of the CO2 coming from a waste plant, a cement factory and a fertilizer plant.

 

Another field of research and innovation for use of CO2 that Total has been exploring is production of fuels or polymers by microalgae. Through photosynthesis, which uses sunlight as an energy source and CO2 as a carbon source, microalgae can directly convert CO2 into lipids. Those lipids can then be converted into useful molecules, with a small carbon footprint. The advantages of microalgae is also that they’re grown in ponds or photobioreactors and not on arable land, and marine species grow in seawater, so they do not consume freshwater resources. There is however still a long way to go before the potential of these resources can be fully tapped, the main challenge being to successfully produce molecules at an industrial scale and at a competitive cost. Based on its experience, Total has decided to dedicate 10% of its global R&D to CCUS to fully embrace the potential of these technologies.

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