Decarbonation concept: compass pointing to a target of 0% in CO2 emissions

PYCASSO project: to decarbonise the Pyrenees by 2030

Faced with the challenges of climate change, decarbonisation can no longer be limited to industrial activities. This is why, in order to meet the IPCC expectations and aim for carbon neutrality by 2050, a number of carbon capture and recovery projects have recently been launched.

Focus on the PYCASSO project developed by the AVENIA cluster, which will be presented at the GEODAYS on 14 and 15 June 2022.


Geoengineering, an ambitious way to fight GHGs

In France, the manufacturing industry accounts for 18 % and the energy industry for 10 % of total GHG emissions in 2019 in France. These two industry sectors have respectively reduced their emissions by 46 % and 41 % compared to 1990. However, the sector (and even the country) is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050. In this sense, companies must both reduce their emissions and offset them. There are two ways to achieve this:

  • On the one hand, it is about produce less GHGs through global efforts and technologies.
  • On the other hand, there is geoengineering and in particular carbon capture and geological storage (CCS) or even its recovery (CCU). The logic is therefore different: produce less carbon or capture the carbon produced. However, the aim is the same: less carbon to limit the impact of climate change.

While the first path aims at greater energy sobriety, the second is more of a purely technological option in response to GHG emissions (although sobriety also involves less polluting technologies).

The Awakener | Carbon Capture and Sequestration to reduce our CO2 emissions

The idea of capturing released CO2 is part of this logic of "large-scale correction of the effects of anthropogenic pressure on the environment". It is therefore a matter of affecting mechanisms on the Earth that have a global impact on the system. In this case, it is a question of affect the Earth-atmosphere balance to counteract the effects caused by GHGs, namely climate change and all that goes with it.

There is thus a more 'simple' path and on the other hand a more 'advanced' and technocentric path, which may even seem a little 'crazy' scientifically. This is one of the vices of the practice that poses a problem: where the capacity to constantly capture carbon could become a coherent justification for continuing to produce it, while sobriety would become futile.

On the other hand, the strength of these two techniques is their complementarity. These are two complementary ways to fight against global warming and not two worlds of thought in total competition.

The Pycasso project to decarbonise Franco-Spanish industry at the border

Global warming concept: car emits black smoke cloud in city

There are two broad categories of geoengineering in relation to the climate problem. There are :

  • Projects that deal with solar radiation. The aim is to better control them to limit their contribution to global warming.
  • Projects that target greenhouse gasesThis is because too much of it, through anthropogenic emissions, is unbalancing the Earth-atmosphere system and causing too much warming.
  • Projects that aim to increase CO2 absorption by beings that already do it, such as plankton in the oceans or forests.
  • Projects that seek to sequester CO2 underground or in rocks.

The Pycasso project is a member of the Carbon Capture, Geological Storage and Utilization or CCS-UCC family of projects. It is in line with many projects around the world to establish a robust CO2 capture technology. Basic rocks in conjunction with water are being particularly studied for their ability to precipitate CO2 into limestone when they come into contact with it. The other option for underground storage uses compression of CO2 so that it can be injected into deep geological layers.

Developed by the AVENIA cluster dedicated to the French underground industries, the Pycasso project is a border project between France and Spain. This territorial project aims to "create a transport network and a CO2 recovery and storage hub" based on "the recovery capacities of the Lacq site and the storage capacities of the gas fields". The objective is clear: to reduce CO2 emissions emissions from industries in the region, northern Spain and the entire Aquitaine region, which amount to an average of 13 million tonnes of CO2 per year. This project will be carried out by coordinating all the players involved, from local authorities to CO2 emitters, research organisations and CO2 transporters and processors.

In the preliminary design phase, the PYCASSO project will be presented in more detail at the GEODAYS 14 and 15 June 2022 to finally see the light of day by 2030. The project should contribute to the carbon neutrality targeted by France by 2050 while completing the sobriety pathway made possible by the efforts of each individual and renewable energies in particular. Decarbonising society by producing less CO2 and making the most of it - that must be the goal!