CCS technology will be an important component of the European Union’s strategy to reduce CO2 emissions, however, the E.U. faces a series of challenges to building the necessary pipeline infrastructure to transport CO2 from source to sink (Coleman, 2009). The first task is to identify source and sink locations and match them based on capacity. CO2 transport will likely occur across national borders, and potentially across regions outside of the E.U., thus there is an imminent need for coordinated administrative and legislative frameworks. The estimated pipeline capacity required is very large—400 million tonnes per year by 2030 to meet the E.U. interim targets for emissions reductions. Although this network will likely require infrastructure as intensive as the existing infrastructure for natural gas pipelines, it is unlikely to be as physically invasive because the pipelines will carry CO2 from many source locations that will then be tied to large trunk lines that feed into large storage sites. Because the E.U. is extremely urbanized, there are numerous health and safety concerns that come along with these massive installments. In his paper, Coleman seeks to describe these transport infrastructure hurdles in detail and outline the way by which they can be resolved. — Shanna Hoversten
Coleman, D., 2009. Transport Infrastructure Rationale for Carbon Dioxide Capture & Storage in the European Union to 2050. Energy Procedia 1, 1673–1681.
D. Coleman of Shell Future Fuels & CO2 , sought to base his series of recommendations on an investigation into the pattern of emission sources and storage sites across the E.U. Generally, he found that large population centers contained the majority of large-scale single-source points of CO2 that will ultimately be captured. Europe has numerous locations that can accommodate CO2 storage, and thus it can be assumed that captured CO2 would only have to be transported 200–250 miles, on average, to its designated storage location. Coleman went on to preliminarily coordinate point sources and sinks throughout Europe.
Based on Coleman’s analysis, it is clear that matching sources and sinks will frequently straddle national borders, thus Coleman outlines the need for E.U. wide regulatory standards. A completely new permitting and safety regime is not necessary, as CO2 transportation can be regulated under many of the same mechanisms existing today for the pipeline transport of natural gas. However, there are a few distinctions between CO2 and natural gas transport that will need to be considered, including: the need to burry transport pipelines deeper underground to ensure that the pressure is great enough to keep the CO2 at its supercritical phase level, and the addition of crack arrestors to ensure that if a puncture in the line does occur, an uncontained longitudinal explosion will not occur. CO2 pipelines have historically been built in rural areas, and thus in the highly urbanized environment that predominates in the E.U., a reasonable distance between the pipelines and buildings or dwellings must be distinguished. In addition to these regulatory requirements, the next important consideration is to design the most effective and rational transport network given the location of sources and sinks; for the development of this Coleman recommends a Flagship Programme to kick-start the EU CCS industry implementation.