A first imported CO 2 cemetery is created in the North Sea

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A first imported CO 2 cemetery is born in the North Sea

The Danish authorities claim that their storage capacity will allow the storage of CO2 from other countries.

It is the first in the world to bury CO2 imported from Denmark. abroad: Denmark inaugurates on Wednesday a carbon dioxide storage site 1800 meters under the North Sea, a tool deemed essential to curb global warming.

Paradox: this CO2 graveyard is an ex-oil deposit that contributed to the emissions. Led by the German chemical giant Ineos and the German energy company Wintershall Dea, the Greensand project should make it possible to store around 2030 up to 8 million tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of 1. 5% of French emissions.

In the pilot phase, it is inaugurated this Wednesday in Esbjerg (south-west) by Crown Prince Frederik.

Still in its infancy and very expensive, carbon capture and storage (CCS) consists of capturing and then trapping CO2, the main cause of global warming.

More than 200 projects are currently operational or in development around the world.

Speciality of Greensand: unlike existing sites that sequester CO2 from nearby industrial facilities, it brings carbon in from afar.

Sent by sea to the Nini West platform, at the edge of Norwegian waters, the gas is transferred to a reservoir 1.8 km deep.

For the Danish authorities, who are aiming for carbon neutrality as early as 2045, it is an indispensable instrument in our climate toolbox.

As our subsoil contains a much greater storage potential than our own emissions, we are able to also store carbon from other countries, welcomes from AFP the Minister of Climate and Energy, Lars Aagaard.

The North Sea is a landfill-friendly region, as it is home to many gas pipelines and geological reservoirs that are empty after decades of oil and gas exploitation.

Depleted oil and gas deposits have many advantages because they are well documented and there is already infrastructure that can most likely be reused, says Morten Jeppesen, director of the Center of Offshore Technologies at the Technological University of Denmark (DTU).

Near Greensand, the French giant TotalEnergies will explore the potential for landfills more than two kilometers under the seabed with the objective of imprisoning 5 million tonnes annually by 2030.

A CCS pioneer, neighboring Norway will also welcome tons of liquefied CO2 from the Old Continent in a few years.

The main producer of hydrocarbons in Western Europe, the country would also have the largest CO2 storage potential on the continent.

The quantities stored remain low compared to emissions.

The European Union has, according to the European Environment Agency, emitted 3.7 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2020, a year yet weighed down by the pandemic.

Long seen as a technically complicated and expensive solution with marginal utility, CCS is now deemed necessary by both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency.

This is not a magic bullet, however.

The energy-intensive CO2 capture and storage process itself emits the equivalent of 21% of the gas captured, according to Australian think tank IEEFA.

And the technique is not without risks, warns the research center, citing the risk of leaks with catastrophic consequences.

CCS should not be used to maintain the current level of CO2 production, but it is necessary to limit CO2 in the atmosphere, says Jeppesen.

The cost of carbon storage needs to be further reduced for it to become a sustainable mitigation solution as the industry matures, adds the scientist.

Among conservationists, technology is not unanimous.

This does not solve the problem and prolongs the structures which are harmful, criticizes the energy manager of Greenpeace Denmark, Helene Hagel.

The method does not change our deadly habits. If Denmark is serious about reducing its emissions, it needs to look at the sectors that produce a lot of them, namely agriculture and transport, she criticizes.

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