French oil company Total last week inaugurated what it is calling Europe’s first end-to-end carbon capture, transportation, and storage demonstration facility in Lacq, southwestern France. The €60 million project uses oxycombustion carbon capture technology developed by Air Liquide.
Air Liquide’s process involves replacing the air in one of Total’s five steam boilers at the Lacq site with pure oxygen. This will produce smaller amounts of flue gas that is 90% carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide will be transported to a depleted natural gas reservoir at the Rousse geological site 27 kilometers from the Lacq plant via an existing pipeline and then injected 4,500 meters underground.
According to Total, the capture phase has two goals: to master the new boiler technology on an industrial scale and to achieve a 50% cost reduction compared to other existing capture methods. The storage phase is expected to help develop monitoring tools, techniques, and methodology with a view to establishing that long-term and large-scale geological CO2 storage is a viable option.
The company chose the Lacq site because it reportedly offered all facilities and safety measures necessary. The site is the largest producer of liquid hydrocarbons in France.
“New companies are now moving into the Lacq complex so as to generate sustainable industrial activity there, and other research projects are being studied,” Total said. “In this context, Total’s CO2 pilot project will help turn the site into a technological showcase.”
The project is expected to continue for three years after the two-year carbon injection period. Total and Air Liquide expect that the project will trap about 120,000 tons of carbon dioxide.
Sources: Total, Air Liquide