The international community considers carbon dioxide capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies as one of the essential approaches to limit global warming within 1.5 °C within the end of this century. According to the last assessments of the International Energy Agency, the application of CCUS is essential to completely cut CO2 emissions within the next 50 years, with an impact of 9% in power generation sector and 21% in the industrial one.
The development of CCUs technologies is one of the main goals of the research community in Europe, which is promoting different initiatives to boost technology development in this area. To this aim, in June 2017 an agreement (ERIC, European Research Infrastructure Consortium) between the governments of Italy, France, United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Norway has established the permanent research network called ECCSEL, the European Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Laboratory Infrastructure. ECCSEL collects 77 laboratories and research facilities distributed within twenty different owners – universities and research organizations – and merged in a single international infrastructure, with the legal office in Trondheim (Norway), which manages the accesses and promotes its improvement. Italy participates in ECCSEL with OGS (the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics), Sotacarbo and, more recently, Enea, University of Bologna and Leap (Laboratorio Energia e Ambiente Piacenza).
Now, the new three-year ECCSELERATE project – funded by the European Union within the Horizon2020 programme – has been launched last 1st January 2020. With a budget of about 3.5 million euros, the project aims to strengthen and develop the consortium and to promote access to the facilities (the so-called “transnational accesses”) within international collaborations.
Sotacarbo, as a project partner, shares with ECCSEL different facilities, such as a CO2 capture unit with liquid solvents, a photoelectrochemical CO2 reduction lab and the so-called “X-to-liquids” pilot unit, a flexible experimental plant designed to convert CO2 and electrical energy into renewable fuels (methanol, dimethyl ether, etc.). And an additional facility will be added as soon as it will be available: the Sotacarbo Fault Lab, an experimental field laboratory to develop an advanced monitoring tool for CCUS applications. APettinau