CO2 sequestration

With CO2 capture and sequestration, carbon dioxide is separated from combustion exhaust gases and subsequently indefinitely stored without using containers, in deep underground rock layers. The technology is currently still in the developmental stage.

Excerpt from the CO2-storage potential map
Excerpt from the CO2-storage potential map of Switzerland
© SFOE

Summary

How does CO2 capture and sequestration – also known as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) function?

First of all you remove the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from a gas mixture which is for example generated by burning fossil fuels. Then it is stored: in particular in underground storage sites. Objective: Due to storing, less CO2 will remain in the atmosphere where it acts as a greenhouse gas and is considered as one of the main causes of global warming. CCS is currently still in the development stage.

According to current knowledge, mainly saline deep aquifers seem to be suitable for the storage of CO2 in Switzerland. A study by the University of Bern, under mandate from the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, has investigated the theoretical potential for the underground storage of CO2 in Switzerland.

The CARMA project investigates the relevance for Switzerland

The relevance for Switzerland is being investigated in detail in the long-term research project CARMA (Carbon Management in Power Generation). The interdisciplinary project brings together research groups from different institutes and Swiss universities under the leadership of the ETH Zürich.

Who is who

Swiss universities, the federal government as well as several international professional associations are active in the field of CO2 capture and sequestration (or carbon dioxide capture and storage CCS)

A study by the University of Bern, under mandate from the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), has investigated the theoretical potential for the underground storage of CO2 in Switzerland.

The relevance for Switzerland is being investigated in detail in the long-term CARMA research project of the Competence Center for Energy and Sustainability of the ETH Zürich, involving various institutes and research groups from Swiss universities.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is a CCS focused, definitive, independent data and information source – reports and more studies are accessible via the SFOE. Below are links to national and international organizations in the field of CO2 capture and sequestration.

The essential steps of CO2 capture and storage
The essential steps of CO2 capture and storage
© NZZ, appeared in the "Neuen Zürcher Zeitung" on 30.1.08. Courtesy of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

Data

According to current knowledge, mainly saline deep aquifers of the Molasse basin are suitable for the storage of CO2 in Switzerland.

Potential CO2 storage in Switzerland

A study by the University of Bern, under mandate from the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, has investigated the theoretical potential for the underground storage of CO2 in Switzerland. An initial assessment and probable upper limit for the storage potential is about 2.7 billion tons of CO2. The annual CO2 emissions of Switzerland within the meaning of the CO2 Act amounts to about 40 million tons, but is largely due to diffuse, not concentrated sources.

Rough estimate of the CO2 storage potential in Switzerland
Rough estimate of the CO2 storage potential in Switzerland
© SFOE

Interdisciplinary research project CARMA

The relevance of CO2 capture and sequestration for Switzerland is being examined in detail with accurate and concomitant studies as part of the long term CARMA project of the Competence Center for Energy and Sustainability of the ETH Zürich. The ETHZ, EPFL, PSI University of Bern, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland and GeoForm are involved in the Swiss research project on the potential and future application of CCS in Switzerland. Technical, environmental, economic, social and legal aspects are being illuminated in the process. 


Planning for the future