Greenhouse Gas – Bury it into Oblivion
The Committee’ s Preface
Over 80 % of Germany’s energy supply is based on fossil energy carriers, use of which releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Today, our economy has to import these crucial energy and raw-material sources. Yet, fossil raw materials as resources are finite and their availability is limited. To this must be added the fact that, according to the most recent UN climate study, today’s consumption of fossil raw materials is crucially responsible for climate-damaging CO2 emissions. Considered against this backdrop, the question must be asked as to how the capture of CO2 from power plants and industrial facilities and its storage in deep geological layers can help us achieve ambitious climateprotection targets.
It was for this reason that the Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment of the Germany Bundestag took a decision in 2006 to instruct the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Parliament (TAB) to address the subject of »CO2 Capture and Storage at Power Plants«. One aim was to survey the present state of knowledge and to identify critical knowledge gaps – e.g. as regards storage safety, costs, the availability of the technology. Another was to analyse the existing legal framework for CO2 capture and storage (CCS) in order to detect possible deficits and any need for legislative action.
The report highlights the fact that, both in the technology for capturing the CO2, and in its transportation to the storage site as well as its injection and permanent deposition in deep rock layers, there is still considerable need for research and development before the process is mature for commercial-scale deployment. Expert circles are agreed that this will take at least another 15 to 20 years. At the same time, the knowledge gaps still existing today, mainly as regards the behaviour of CO2 below ground, must be closed before any robust assessment of a possible contribution of CCS to climate protection can be made. The demonstration and pilot projects required for this currently lack a legal basis, so that development of a suitable regulatory framework must be tackled. This is all the more true of any industrial-scale implementation of the technology at a later date.
In this report by the TAB, the German Bundestag is being given an updated and comprehensive information basis for further policymaking in shaping the framework conditions for a more sustainable energy supply.
Berlin, May 6, 2008
The Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment