PYCASSO,
FAQ

The fight against climate change forces us to reduce human CO2 emissions considerably. Among those emissions, there are emissions from the industrial activity which represent around 20% of the global emissions for the French territory.

The industrial emissions have the advantage to be concentrated and channeled. At the plants’ chimney evacuations, we can find important flows of gas with significant concentrations of CO2, from 15% to 90% of CO2.

It is possible to separate CO2 from the gas (mainly nitrogen but also a little bit of oxygen and impurities). This concentrated CO2 can thus be used for food-processing uses (enrichment of the greenhouses’ air, food-processing industry), for the fabrication of chemical products or energy products (often in relation with hydrogen).

For the captured CO2 which cannot be valorized, the only solution to avoid it to be in the atmosphere is to store it in the subsurface.

CCUS is thus part of the triptyque (reduce, valorize, store) which will enable to maintain an industrial activity while fighting against global warming.

CCUS includes three big steps.

1. Capture
the separation of CO2 from the other gas generated in the big installations of industrial processes, like power plants, steel mills, cement plants, refineries etc.

2. Transport
once separated, the CO2 is compressed and transported (by pipelines, but it can also be done by boat, train or truck) toward a site to be reutilized or to be stored geologically.

3a. Utilization
the CO2 can be valorized by being directly reutilized or by the synthetizing of molecules of interest by different processes, either chemical or biological. So, we can also produce methane, methanol, urea, materials for the construction industry…

3b. Storage
the non-valorized CO2 is injected in underground rock formations at 1km deep or more.

For decades and decades, the scientists of the GIEC have clearly demonstrated that the human activity is leading to an increase of the CO2 in the atmosphere and so, to an extreme and rapid change of the climate. After long talks, the governments gathered within COP, have signed the Accord de Paris (COP 21) with strong commitments to reduce CO2 emissions.

Most of the industrials, as well as numerous collectivities, committed themselves to go toward carbon neutrality from now until 2050, or even earlier. The decarbonation of all of our activity, represents a challenge, as in changes of behaviors, as in the technologies used.

To enable a – socially and industrially acceptable – transition, we have to find “buffer” solutions. CCUS, particularly its geological storage part, is a way to cushion the shock that represents a transition to an activity completely decarbonated.

To reach the objectives of the Accord de Paris, some organizations, as International Energy Agency (IEA), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as ADEME in France, included CCUS in their global strategy.

In Europe, several CCUS projects have already been launched to fight against industrial emissions, to decarbonate the hydrogen production and to transport CO2 for its storage.
More pieces of information are available on European CCUS projects on the IEA website, on Global CCS Institute or on CCUS Network websites, which PYCASSO is part of.

A project of such magnitude requires a joint effort to overcome the numerous challenges. PYCASSO project is a collaboration between numerous stakeholders, among them 12 are part of the Steering Committee: BRGM, Communauté d’Agglomération de Pau Béarn Pyrénées, Geostock, IFPEN, Lafarge, Repsol, Schlumberger, Snam, Sofresid, Teréga and UPPA. The aim is to contribute to the energy transition by reducing CO2 emissions generated from industries in the South-West of France and in the North of Spain.

Lacq-Meillon was chosen because of its geological heritage. Big reservoirs with high storage capacities make it possible to envisage the future: they are located at 4 500m deep. Those reservoirs enabled the territory to exploit its gas for decades. Now depleted, those reservoirs are particularly secure because they have already contained big volumes of gas, initially composed of methane (CH4: 75%), hydrogen sulfide (H2S: 15%) and carbon dioxide (CO2: 10%) at a very high level of pression and that for millions of years. Those natural capacities and the current very low pression, are ideal conditions to envisage the use of this geological formation to store and reinject gas again.
Furthermore, numerous stakeholders of the territory, who explored and exploited this underground for decades, have now the technical skills to carry out the storage successfully. They will thus participate, like the whole local socio-economic fabric, in the industrial redevelopment of the SEVESO 2 platform around CO2 and H2 chemistry.

The project is planned to transport about 1 million of tons of CO2 per year by 2030, with a significant increase until 3 million of tons per year in the following years. A part of this CO2 will be reutilized and valorized while the remaining will be stored.